Adva is the Hebrew word for ripple. It was founded in 1991 by activists from three social movements: the movement for equality for Mizrahi Jews, the feminist movement, and the movement for equal rights for Arab citizens. The director of the center is Barbara Svirski and its chairman is Yossi Dahan.
The heart of the work of Adva Center is advocacy for policy changes that favor disadvantaged groups in Israel. This is done by offering consultations for advocacy organizations, Cabinet members and legslators; by organizing coalitions for social change; by testifying at public forums and giving media interviews; and by an extensive popular education program that brings progressive social ideas to a wide variety of audiences, from cleaning workers to senior executives. In addition, Adva Center operates a hotline for health rights, targeted at low-income persons, in conjunction with Israel Physicians for Human Rights.
The head of the work of Adva Center is policy analysis. Much of this work is done in the framework of the National Budget Analysis Program, under which the draft budget is analyzed annually in real time for its implications for disadvantaged social groups in particular and Israeli society in general; an annual workshop is conducted for legislators right at the Knesset; and budget workshops are organized for civil society organizations throughout Israel. Another dimension of this work is reflected in the policy analysis published in various issues of The Israel Equality Monitor and annual updates on educational achievements, wages and tax policy.
This part of the Adva program provides the underpining not only for the advocacy and popular education work of the Adva Center, but also for the advocacy work of a wide variety of other social justice organizations in Israel.
In recognition of the work of the Adva Center, Dr. Shlomo Swirski, academic director, was awarded the Naftaly Prize in Economics and Social Science for 2005 by the municipality of Tel-Aviv-Jaffa. In 2006, the Adva Center was the recipient of the Emile Grinsweig award for human rights work, bestowed by the Israel Associations for Human Rights.