The Arab Center for Law and Policy - Dirasat, established in 2006, is a non-profit, non-governmental and non-partisan organization. Founded by a group of young Arab policy leaders, academics and social activists, Dirasat (‘Studies’ in Arabic) works on behalf of the Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel - currently some 20% of the country’s population. Dirasat strives to achieve substantive equality for this indigenous linguistic, cultural and national group.
Today, Arab-Palestinian citizens in Israel consistently rank at the bottom of all major national socio-economic indicators and discrimination is a regular occurrence in resource allocations in nearly every field (particularly land, education, housing, employment and social services). Furthermore, Arab-Palestinian citizens continue to be excluded from centers of power, underrepresented in public institutions and nearly invisible in the public sphere. Dirasat, inspired by civil rights initiatives around the globe, aims to develop practical and innovative solutions to these seemingly insurmountable challenges while mobilizing Arab-Palestinians in their quest for basic human rights, justice and recognition.
Dirasat, a “think-and-do-tank,” emphasizes applied research as a basis for the development of innovative policy recommendations and identification of proactive strategies to realize implementation of crucial reforms. To enhance these efforts, Dirasat convenes forums of professionals and activists who formulate new ideas and produce counter knowledge. Outcomes of such forums aim to impact national decision-making along with the leadership and the general public within the Arab-Palestinian community. We promote adoption of reforms through advocacy campaigns and capacity-building in order to realize the implementation of vital and targeted policy reforms.
Dirasat promotes aspirations for substantive and equal citizenship by working with Arab-Palestinian professionals, entrepreneurs, academics and leaders. By facilitating meetings which bring together diverse individuals and organizations, Dirasat encourages expression of a wide range of opinions, promotes creative thinking and aspires to consensus building across party and group lines. Indeed, it is the translation of these ideas into concrete initiatives that characterizes Dirasat’s work. Simultaneously, Dirasat enhances the capacity of the Arab minority leadership to make informed decisions on strategic directions and specific goals necessary for substantive citizenship.
Dirasat works on both the internal (within the Arab minority) and the external (national) levels, engaging in the following activities:
• Strategic planning
• Applied research
• Publication of position and policy papers containing concrete legal and policy reforms
• Dissemination of up-to-date and relevant information to bolster advocacy efforts
• Capacity-building and skills training for professionals, leaders and practitioners
• Initiation of seminars, round-table discussions and conferences
Current projects, chosen collaboratively, focus on advancing minority rights, promoting educational policies, improving Arab local government, information dissemination on the Arab minority, strengthening Arab students of higher education and women advancement.
Leading academics, educators, decision-makers, professionals, members of Parliament, students and social activists have participated in a wide variety of Dirasat-sponsored public events. In the relatively short time since its founding, Dirasat has established itself as a recognized and valued resource within the Arab-Palestinian community and nationally