Atta’a – The Assistance Center for the Rights of East Jerusalem Residents
Most Arab-Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are entitled to full rights regarding health and welfare services. Even though such rights and benefits are guaranteed by law, many East Jerusalem residents them do not receive these rights. In many cases, this is due to cultural and political barriers that make it hard for people to navigate through bureaucracy. Also, since the status of East Jerusalemites is different from most Israeli citizens (e.g. most of them are regarded as Permanent Residents and not as full citizens), it is often harder to apply the laws to their specific cases.
“Atta’a” The Assistance Center for the Rights of East Jerusalem Residents was founded with the goal of helping Palestinian-Arab residents of East Jerusalem to navigate through the legal and health systems as well as other national agencies. It offers:
- Ongoing one-on-one work with residents: Information about and assistance with forms, assistance in correspondence and official documents when dealing with institutions such as the National Insurance Institute (NII), Interior Ministry, healthcare organizations and the Jerusalem Municipality.
- Mass awareness raising: Lectures for more than 1,500 high school students in East Jerusalem per year to raise awareness of their rights, as well as workshops and lectures for the general public.
- Networking and partnerships: Ongoing contact and consultation with as well as referrals to 70 organizations and centers in the broader community. This includes participating in four major forums that work to advance mental health, accessibility, child development and reunification of families. Furthermore, our work includes meetings with a wide range of forums and institutions in order to raise awareness and to answer to the needs of residents. The Atta’a staff also has connections with social workers in hospitals, HMOs and more, which enables residents to obtain rights and services more easily.
Atta’a handles hundreds of individual requests each year, conducts workshops and lectures for thousands of high school students and adults and offers services to the entire Arab population of Jerusalem.
In its over 10 years of operation, Atta’a has come to be viewed as an independent entity, and has gained the trust of residents where other service providers have not. At the same time, Atta’a maintains working relationships with a wide variety of organizations and agencies, which enables it to work effectively. Assisted by a pool of 30 volunteers, most of them from the Palestinian-Arab community of East Jerusalem, who assist with individual requests as well as workshops and lectures, Atta’a is able to help thousands of residents.
You can read more details about Atta’a activities at the East Jerusalem Atta’a Facebook page.