Encouraging public involvement through campaigns and activism.
Empowering and strengthening social organizations. Working together enables organizations that lack a policy arm to contribute to significant but focused social improvements in education, health, employment, housing and welfare.
Strengthening social infrastructure and the socio-economic network. To reduce gaps and ensure every citizen lives in dignity, with economic growth and social cohesion.
Why 121 – Engine for Social Change?
Many people care about this issue, and a great number of civic society organizations are doing terrific work to bring attention to the widening social gaps. However, most do not engage in direct advocacy, and lack the capacity to translate their knowledge into actual policy change. There is a strong need for an organization that connects the various activists and groups working on socioeconomic issues, and present their consensus to policy makers. 121 is the first organization in Israel whose core competency is policy advocacy on social and economic issues.
We believe that solid professional expertise and experience form the bedrock of effective advocacy. Israel today lacks professional advocates for the public who are focused on social issues such as health, employment and education. We fill this void, working professionally with grassroots partners to formulate concrete proposals, promote them through direct advocacy with legislators and regulators, and apply pressure so that actual change occurs.
Our organization’s name, 121, refers to the influence Israeli citizens can have on the government through our work as the “121st“ member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.
The Need for Social Change in Israel
Israel is widely recognized as an advanced, developed economy, yet far less acknowledged are the widening social and economic disparities that weaken our society. 19% of Israelis live in poverty, the highest rate in the OECD, and most of the rest suffer from economic difficulties. The average wage in many areas of the country cannot support the cost of living, and the social safety net is steadily eroding. If Israeli citizens are to fulfil our potential and advance economically, we must promote policy change to improve public services, offer opportunities for all citizens, and build a stronger, more robust society.
Which Public Services?
Employment, health, education, housing and welfare are the social infrastructure of the country. They are designed to realize the basic social rights of each and every one of us, and are the basis of our standard of living, economic activity and national resilience. The private sector is based on a strong and resilient society and relies on social infrastructure and state security, among other things. Public systems have a major role to play in private sector development and operation, as the private market cannot provide them at the optimal level. Social infrastructure is the foundation of a society that seeks to promote solidarity and mutual aid among its members. They are the practical meaning of social citizenship and must be fully and equitably accessible to every citizen of a country regardless of gender, personal status, age, race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, outlook, property, family, or any other identity.
How will we succeed?
We Have The Right People
The organization is staffed by highly experienced professionals, who know how to develop policy and advocate for it with decision makers, government and Knesset, and how to run successful media campaigns.
We Represent a Very Broad Range of Israeli Society
We encompass the periphery and the center, religious Zionism, secular society, Arab citizens and the ultra-orthodox. Our leadership comes from both the political Right and Left, but we are all committed to working together for stronger public services and a more equitable society.
We are Focused and Driven
Few civil society organizations work on policy change in public services, and those that do are not equipped to translate policy into action. We focus exclusively on policy change through advocacy. We are committed for the long haul, because we know that these changes take time.
How Do We
The measure of our success is effective policy change that promotes social advancement, as defined at the outset of each program (detailed below). Over time, we expect our cumulative policy changes to significantly expand the social safety net in a responsible way, increase opportunities and reduce gaps, thereby making Israel a stronger and more prosperous country.