Itach - Women Lawyers for Social Justice is a non-profit organization that aims to create social change by using the law to address the needs and rights of women from the social, economic and geographic periphery of Israel. Founded in the summer of 2001 by a group of leading feminist legal professionals in Israel, Itach aspires to increase access to the law, legal knowledge and tools among the population of disenfranchised women, specifically in the fields of employment rights, welfare benefits, public housing and violence against women. We believe that as lawyers, we have taken on the professional responsibility to create access to justice for every citizen. Itach's three branches are located in Tel Aviv, Beersheva and Haifa, and each branch focuses on different needs in its region.
Itach's mission is to create social change among the population of poor and low-income women by creatively addressing the issues of legal rights, empowerment and social justice. We aim to protect the most basic rights of women from the lowest socio-economic levels in Israeli society and to influence the legal and social discourse to take into account their unique experiences and needs. We strive to increase access to legal information, to empower women to understand and realize their rights and to use their strength to become change agents for issues that concern them. We aspire to raise awareness in the legal profession and among the general public about the real-life struggles of poor and low-income women and to influence decision and policy-making to take into account this population's unique needs and situation.
Itach's legal aid hotline, active in Tel Aviv and Beersheva, receives calls from women who are in need of legal aid and provides them free-of-charge access to legal information, consultation and assistance, services they would not otherwise be able to obtain. The volunteers who staff the hotline approach each call sensitively, listening and supporting the woman who calls, helping her to define her legal problem, explaining her rights and privileges and referring appropriate cases to a staff attorney. Our focus and experience working with the population of poor and low-income women insures that the women who call are treated with respect and understanding and that solutions to their specific needs are found. In Tel Aviv and in Beersheva, assistance is provided in the following fields: Income support (Bituach Leumi), public housing and employment. We are currently establishing a service in our Haifa branch that will deal with issues regarding violence against women.
Itach learns about broad issues affecting disenfranchised women from the women themselves, and intervenes on a policy level to make changes that protect the rights of this population. We affect change through petitions to the Supreme Court, involvement in Knesset committees and continuous dialogue with government institutions. Daily, we aspire to influence the legal and public discourse, infusing our arguments in court and discussions with decision-makers with the real-life experiences of impoverished women.
Even though laws exist to protect basic rights of all citizens, women from the economic and social periphery often lack the knowledge and/or confidence to use these laws to protect themselves. Itach aims to democratize marginalized women's access to justice, opening up the doors to the often intimidating world of the law. Through courses on law, feminism and social change, we expose women to information about the law, their rights under the current policies and legal tools that they can use; and we empower women to become change agents in their lives and the lives of their families, friends and communities.
Project "SHENHAV" rehabilitation of women who deteriorated to
drugs and prostitution
The project was established in order to provide help for
women who deteriorated to drugs and prostitution. During the project
activities the women get support, consultation & are been
accompanied through all they're problems. Another goal of the
project is to recognize the different 'un-named' problems &
rehabilitation models that concern this issue, from the purpose of
ending prostitution & promoting human & women's rights. Out of this
perception, the project is expanding its activities, and is foxing
this year on the issue of child custody & dismissal of parental
rights, as a natural development of the project activities in the
Today, the project is accompanying women who are going through the
process of dismissing they're parental rights – informing them about
they're rights & referring them to professional legal counseling.
The law students who are active in the project are foxing in
researching this new issue and finding out the problems that exist,
but aren't dealt with in today's society.
The Key for Rights Project” - Divorce Druze Woman
Hikam Arayda, a Druze woman, had a dream. Her trauma during her
divorce led her - like many women alike - to dream of a better
world. For her, for her daughters and for her friends. With unique
charisma, indefeasible motivation and tremendous devotion and
effort, Hikam fulfilled her dream and lay another stepping stone for
many women’s freedom.
In the Druze community, which follows a strict religious regime,
women seldom enjoy equity and rights. Though, indeed, influenced by
world change, Druze women have felt an improvement in human rights
conditions, discrimination is still present in many daily aspects,
amongst which marriage and divorce are vital. Armed only with her
personal experience, Hikam wanted to change just that.
Today, Hikam’s vision and dream, has
upgraded to project, under the sponsorship of Itach-Maki. Samiha
Abu-Shahin and Gogo Amasha, another two Druze women who share
Hikam’s dream, have joined her as well.
The project has gather many divorced
Druze women and worked to promote their rights. On the one hand, the
project works in order to fulfill and ensure execution of the
women’s rights, and on the other, it ventures to establish new
rights, where those are lacking. Accordingly, the project, notably
its coaches, have become a safe haven for women in need.
However, the dream has yet been fully
accomplished, and the project is still struggling for various social
changes, amongst which are ever-increasing awareness, enhancing
rights’ accessibility, changing the Druze religious court’s stance
toward women and in such appointing, for the very first time, a
Druze woman judge to its congregation, and many more rights.
Single women from Isfiya
This is the youngest project is the clinic. This project seeks to
enrich women in general and single women in particular, providing
them a supportive surroundings and integral knowledge of their
various rights. There are over 300 single women in Isfiya overage
30, from Muslim, Druze and Christian religions.
On 3.3.09 we had a great opening of a
single women club at the Isfiya community center. Since then, we are
running multiply enrichment programs and have many more to come.
Itach's efforts are supported by a growing community of women lawyers in the Beersheva, Haifa and Tel Aviv regions. Itach Community is comprised of women lawyers in private practice, those working in human rights and social change organizations and those in the academic field, who bring to Itach a broad range of professional expertise. The Community contributes its knowledge and creativity by participating in discussions about legal arguments and through involvement in Itach's empowerment projects. Members of Itach Community provide legal consultation and representation on a pro-bono basis to women turning to Itach for assistance in specific fields.
Board of Directors
All Itach board members are women and legal professionals:
Adv. Nasreen Alimi- Kabaha - Coordinator of The Working Group for Equality in Personal Status Issues, which aims to promote the rights of Arab women regarding personal status issues.
Adv. Rachel Benziman - Executive Director of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
Dr. Daphna Hacker - Lecturer at the Tel Aviv Unversity's Law Faculty and the Women and Gender Studies Program, specializing in the fields of gender and the law, family and qualitative research methods.
Anat Saragusti, Executive Director, Agenda - The Israeli
Center for Strategic Communications. She earned a Masters' Degree
from the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law in the Law, Society and
Politics Program. For many years, Anat was a well-known journalist
at the television station Channel 2.
Adv. Miriam Schler - Director of the Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis
Prof. Neta Ziv - Director of the Clinical Legal Education Program at Tel Aviv University's Law Faculty and lecturer in the law school.
Adv. Noor Alatawna – Staff attorney at Adallah, The Legal Center
for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and one of the few Bedouin women
lawyers in Israel.
Attorney Ruthy Lazar is a lecturer at the law schools at the College of Management in Rishon Letzion and at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the following fields: gender and the law, criminal law and violence against women. Ruthy is in the final stages of completing her doctorate in law at the Osgood Hall law school in Toronto and she is currently a post-doctorate fellow at the University of Haifa.
Rawan Abu Tye has a B.A degree of psychology and LL.B. degree
of law from Hiafa University. Active in several orginizations of
women's rights and human rights like "women against violence" and
Dr. Henriette Dahan Kalev is the founder and chair of the
gender studies .program at the Ben Gurion University in the Negev
She is a former chair of B’Tselem and now a board member at the
Israel Press Council.
Sawsan Zaher, Attorney
Director of Social and Economic Rights Unit
Ronit Piso Social and feminist activist, today I am the
director of "The Public Health Coalition"' NGO that promotes
Environmental Health. During 2004-2009 I was the director of The
International Humanitarian Law Program at The Association for Civil
Rights in Israel (ACRI). I have MA in Political Science and Gender
Anat Shani Rabba
Adv. Carmel Pomerantz holds a LL.B in Law and Philosophy from
the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has been working since 2008
as an associate in law at Michael Sfard Law Office, which practices
human rights law and specializes in international humanitarian law,
administrative law, criminal law and animal rights law. Carmel was
involved in the 2011 social justice campaign, through legal
consultancy and representation of activists in courts
Dr. Regev-Messalem is the Academic Instructor of the
Micro-business and Economic Justice Clinic at Tel Aviv University,
and the chief editor of the legal Journal "Maasei Mishpat.
Dr. Regev-Messalem obtained her JSD degree at Stanford University in
2011, and she researches and teaches in the fields of Welfare Law,
Gender, Social Rights, and Law and Society.
Dr. Regev-Messalem was one of the founding employees of Itach-Maaki:
Women Lawyers for Social Justice and was the Legal Director between
Sarab Abu-Rabia-Queder (Ph.D)
Keren Shemesh-Perlmuter, Adv - Director
Lesley Benedikt - Resource Development Coordinator
Becky Cohen-Keshet , Adv.- Staff Attorney, Beersheva Branch
Anat Thon Ashkenazy, Adv.- Staff
Attorney, Tel Aviv Branch
Enas younis, Adv. - Staff
Attorney, Tel Aviv Branch
Revital Kishinevsky -, Adv.- Staff Attorney, Haifa Branch
Samar Qudha Tannous -, Adv.- Staff Attorney, Haifa Branch
Zahava Zuckerman-Agmon - Coordinator, Tel Aviv Branch
Freida Degani – Coordinator, Beersheva Branch
Ansaf Sharab, Adv. – Staff Attorney, Beersheva Branch
Nur Falah - psychologist, group
facilitator, Haifa Branch
Our supporters include the following:
If you are interested in becoming Itach’s
partner in creating social change for poor and low-income women in
Israel, increasing their access to justice and improving their lives
and the lives of their families, you may send your support in one of
the following ways:
U.S., tax-exempt donations may
be made through The New Israel Fund, as a donor-advised donation to
Itach – Women Lawyers for Social Justice
Israel, tax-exempt donations may be
made in the form of a check made out to Itach – Women Lawyers for
Fund Itach – Women
Lawyers for Social Justice
1101 14th Street
NW Ahuzat Bayit 3
Floor Beit Yahalom
Washington DC 20005-5639 Tel Aviv
Tel: 202-842-0900/ 1-888-988-3863 Tel: 03-5160103
Fax: 202-842-0991 Fax: 03-5163940