The “Our Heritage – The Charter for Democracy” NGO was set up several years ago by the group of Israelis, both new immigrants from the former USSR and “old-timers”, concerned with the current state of Israeli politics and public life, and more specifically with the situation of the Russian-speaking community in Israel. The cause for establishing this organisation was insufficient adjustment of the Russian-speakers to Israeli life. They did not become the integral part of the Israeli society as a whole and of the civil society in particular. Such a condition prevailes also today. The Russian-speaking community in Israel has grown and consolidated but did not secure an active and adequate role in the political and public life of the country. For all this a distinguishing feature of this community is predomination of right-wing attitudes towards almost all topics of political and social life in Israel. It was exhibited both through the voting patterns in the Knesset elections of the last decade and through responses to the campaigns of social protest of the recent years.
“Our Heritage – The Charter for Democracy“ Association works in the borderline between the new immigrants community and the wider Israeli public and strives to promote the full-scale involvement of Russian-speakers into Israeli civil life. We are stimulated by the feeling of responsibility and assignment for both the Russian-speaking community and the State of Israel. We believe that it is impossible to separate between them. The split that exists today originates from racialism and xenophobia. The situation of the Russian-speaking community reflects in fact the condition of the Israeli society as a whole.
We stand for the values of democracy, human dignity, tolerance and multiculturalism. We strive for strong civil society in Israel possessing all necessary means and resources including human resources, which embraces all Israeli residents and acts for the sake of the country.
Such a society can exist and develop under special conditions only:
- Rule of law in all fields of public and political life. In case of conflict between two or more of power branches the predominance of the judiciary institutions should be indisputable. The judiciary institutions must fully recognize and respect all the groups and sectors of the society.
- Complete equality of all residents without any differences of religion, race or gender. Such equality should become apparent in the fields of law, of human and civil rights.
- Strong, effective and recognized mechanism for struggle against social and cultural prejudices and phenomena like racialism and discrimination.
- Full freedom for civil society accompanied with understanding that the whole sphere of social activity should serve common goals and benefit of the society and the state and not private or sectoral interests.
We believe that it is impossible to separate between the Russian-speaking community and the Israeli society as a whole. What is good for Russian-speakers is good to all the country and vise-versa. But at the same time it is necessary to recognize the uniqueness of the Russian-speaking community as a part of the embracing Israeli society – for the sake of accepting others and multiculturalism.