The Hotline for Migrant Workers ((HMW), established in 1998, is a non-partisan, not for profit organization, dedicated to (a) promoting the rights of undocumented migrant workers and refugees and (b) eliminating trafficking in persons in Israel. We aim to build a more just, equitable and democratic society where the human rights of all people are paramount civic and political values.
We see as vital the proper treatment of non-Jews amongst us, eliminating exploitation of women and violence against them, as well as the broad enforcement of laws, policies and procedures that promote equality and justice, as part of the humanistic and universal values that Judaism teaches and on which the State was founded.
History, Work Methods and Accomplishments
The HMW was founded by a group of citizens disturbed by the exploitation and abuse of migrant workers in Israel. With initial assistance from the NGO Kav La’Oved, the HMW was able to fill a critical deficiency in existing services by assisting foreigners under arrest and slated for deportation. Through trips to detention centers, we came into contact with other groups in need of assistance including survivors of trafficking for prostitution and labor, unaccompanied foreign minors and refugees. In addition to direct service, our work has expanded to include legal advocacy, public policy activities, public education and training of government officials. The Hotline organization and staff have received much acclaim in recognition of their positive contributions to Israeli society and the target populations. These include honors and awards from the local Tel Aviv newspaper "Ha'ir (2004)" and Israel's leading financial daily "The Marker (2005)." The Hotline was also honored by the Sderot Conference for Society (2007) and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (2001).
We use a three-pronged approach to achieve our goals:
- Crisis Intervention: Providing information and solutions to those detained and exploited. Volunteers have assisted over 44,000 migrant workers, refugees and trafficking survivors through our telephone hotline and visits to detention centers.
- Legal Action: Filing suits and petitions promoting public accountability and enforcement of the rule of law. Through use of a variety of legal tools including petitions to the High Court of Justice, we work to ensure that existing laws protecting basic human rights are implemented. For example, with our partners we achieved judicial review for detained migrants slated for deportation and promoted the abolishment of government policy binding workers to their employers. We also achieved state-financed legal aid for trafficked persons and unaccompanied minors. In a precedent-setting ruling, survivors of trafficking are not required to prove damages to receive redress in civil cases.
- Public Policy: Educating and informing through work with the Israeli public, academia, the media and policymakers. We have initiated more than 1,400 media items and conducted over 600 lectures. Our activism was instrumental in the granting of legal status to children of migrant workers and refugees from Darfur and in achieving better policy for trafficked persons and unaccompanied minors. The HMW is a recognized authority and serves as an advisory body for national and international bodies, government ministries, academia and civic organizations. Some 175 volunteers dedicate their time to the Hotline for Migrant Workers.
In 2013 we will run the following programs:
* To read short descriptions of these programs, please click on their titles
Board of Directors
- Dr. Miri Osind
Holds a BA in Economics and Political Science from the Hebrew University and a PhD in Jewish Philosophy from Tel Aviv University. Her education includes studies in the MA Business Administration track at the Hebrew University and advance studies at the School of Management at Bar Ilan University. Served in the past and present as a director and on the audit committee of management of funds. Covered a wide range of positions in the civilian sector and in the military, including for conferences and events on behalf of the EU-Israel forum, development appeals in South America by Keren Hayesod, External Relations Department management and senior defense critic. Speaks Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Yiddish. Volunteers for the Hotline for Migrant Workers.
- Prof. Naomi Chazan
Holds a BA and MA from Columbia University and a PhD from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Prof. Chazan has held a series of public and academic positions, including head of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University, president of the Israeli branch of the International Association of Political Science and founder of the Israel Women's Network. She has written many books and articles on politics and political science on Africa, Arab-Israeli relations, Israeli politics and the status of women. She served as a member of Knesset for Meretz in the 13th-15th Knesset and was appointed Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. She was a member of the Education Committee, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Committee for Foreign Affairs and Security and more. Chazan is professor emeritus of Political Science and African Studies at Hebrew University and head of the School of Government and Society at the Academic College Tel Aviv. She also served as the president of the New Israel Fund.
- Dr. Michael Alexander
In the nineties, during his job as a planner for Tel Aviv municipality, Alexander began to explore the phenomenon of migrant workers in the city, and in 1999 was part of the founding team of Mesila (Foreign Community Assistance Center in Tel Aviv) on behalf of the municipality. At the same time, he was an environmental activist and founded the Tel Aviv Foundation for the Bike (now called Israel for Bicycles). He later earned a doctorate at the University of Amsterdam on migration policy and has taught about globalization and immigration countries at the Hebrew University, Haifa University and Beit Berl. In 2006 he began working with the International Committee of the Red Cross, and also volunteered for Kav La’Oved. Volunteers for the Hotline for Migrant Workers.
- Ellen Hyman Kuchli, Chairwoman of the Board
Holds an MA in Urban Planning from the Technion. Worked in the Prime Minister’s Office in a project on urban neighborhood renewal, as well as at the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. She is currently working independently and active in several organizations working for peace, social justice and human rights. Volunteers at the Hotline for Migrant Workers.
- Professor Gideon Kunda
Associate Professor at the Department of Labor Studies at Tel Aviv University. His specialization is the anthropology of organizations and work. He is a public management member of Sadaka Reut, an Arab-Jewish youth group in Jaffa, and founder and academic director of the community education center, a learning and training center for migrant workers and asylum seekers in Neve Shaanan, Tel Aviv.
- Anat Hoffman
Has served since April 2002 as head of the Religious Action Center of Israel’s Movement for Progressive Judaism. Before that she served for 14 years as a member of the Jerusalem City Council, and is one of the only women in Israel who have served three consecutive terms on the city council. During these years Ms. Hoffman has built up her reputation as an effective and courageous fighter for justice and distributive equality within the opposition. Ms. Hoffman has chosen to devote her adult life to the Jewish principle of Tikkun Olam. In addition to her jobs, she was active in important social organizations, such as the Association for Civil Rights, the Israel Women's Network and Women in Black. Since 1988 she has been the Chairperson of the Women of the Wall organization, who are fighting for the right of women to pray at the Western Wall. Anat Hoffman has a degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
- Nelly Kfir
PhD degree candidate at Tel Aviv University in Sociology and Anthropology, researching the rights of migrant workers from a comparative perspective. Holds an MSc from the University of Amsterdam. Over the years, she has volunteered for various positions within The Hotline for Migrant Workers.
- Adv. Noa Diamond
Holds a BA in philosophy, economics and political science from the Hebrew University, and is a graduate of law from the Hebrew University. In the past worked as a Hebrew teacher at the Jerusalem Institute for Education and the Hebrew University. Works as a lawyer today at the Center for the Defense of the Individual, handling the cases of East Jerusalem residents and family migration matters and other issues related to status.
- Neta Rosenthal
In the past, Neta volunteered for the Hotline for Migrant Workers and interned with MK Nitzan Horowitz on the subject of migrant workers. Today, she works as resource and information coordinator at Mesila, Tel Aviv’s Aid Center for Migrants, and at the Department for Agricultural Workers at Kav La’Oved. Neta holds an LLM and a BA in political science and communications.
- Adv. Reut Michaeli, Executive Director
- Ms. Maike Harel, Associate Director for Resource Development
- Ms. Sigal Rozen, Public Policy Coordinator
- Adv. Osnat Cohen Lifshitz, Legal Advisor-Trafficking in Women and Migrant Workers
- Adv. Asaf Weitzen, Legal Advisor-Asylum Seekers
- Ms. Emi Saar, Crisis Intervention Center Coordinator
- Ms. Poria Gal, Media and Events Coordinator
- Ms. Saroj Elam, Adiministrative Coordinator
- Ms. Jorge Ivan Enao Malo, Volunteers Coordinator
Over 75 volunteers contribute to the Hotline for Migrant Workers as follows:
- 1 : Fundraises and advocates at the EU- and international level.
- 20: Assist detained migrant workers and refugees through our crisis intervention center.
- 5 : Assist survivors of trafficking in persons.
- 13: Conduct lecturs and tours.
- 35: Assist with translation, special events and in-kind services.
- 2 : Assist with legal research and writing.