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Wexner Israel Programs

Strengthening Israel's Public Leadership

Profiles

Please meet the Alumni of Classes 21, 22, 23 and 24

The Alumni of Class 24


Udi Adiri
Head of the Energy Unit, Budget Department, Ministry of Finance

Udi Adiri is the head of the energy unit in the Ministry of Finance’s budget department. He joined the budget department in 2005, initially working on the land transportation team and dealing with the challenges of public transportation in Israel. In 2008, he was appointed head of the transportation unit and in 2010 became the head of the energy unit. During these years, he has had the privilege of leading some of the most influential reforms in the Israeli economy, such as reforms in the sea ports, public transportation, and Israeli railroads and roads. Most recently, he was involved with the Shishinsky Committee for gas and oil fiscal policy, as well as the institutionalization of the Israeli gas market and private electricity sector. Udi holds a Bachelor of Science in economics and history, as well as a Master’s degree in economics, from Tel Aviv University. He served in the Israel Defense Forces armored corps as a soldier, platoon commander, and company deputy. He lives in Moshav Yarkona with his wife Meital and their two children, Yoav and Omer.

Lt. Col. (Res.) Yotam Dagan
Director, Momentum Post-Army ProgramDirector of Admissions and Mentoring, SEAL Leadership Program

Yotam Dagan is the co-founder and managing director of the Momentum post-military service program and the co-founder and director of admissions of the SEAL leadership program. He is a former Navy Seal commander, a certified clinical psychologist, and a hostage negotiator. For many years, Yotam has been involved with leading soldiers on the battle field, building their mental and professional fighting capacity, developing their leadership skills, and caring for their wellbeing. Upon completion of his military tenure, Yotam initiated and started non-profit programs helping IDF soldiers to reintegrate into Israeli civil society. He co-founded the SEAL leadership program to assist Israel’s most senior special forces veterans to help them take the lead in Israel’s public sector and become involved in social entrepreneurship. Yotam holds a BA in psychology and general studies and a MA in clinical psychology from the University of Haifa. He is married to Iris and is the father of four boys. He and his family reside in northern Israel.

Roy Folkman
Head of Strategy Unit, Policy Advisor to the Mayor, Municipality of Jerusalem
Head of Strategy Unit, Policy Advisor to the Mayor, Municipality of Jerusalem

Roy is a policy advisor to the Mayor of Jerusalem and a PhD candidate in the field of decision-making at the School of Public Policy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In his advisory role, he heads the strategic planning department of the Jerusalem Municipality. He has also held several leadership positions in the political and educational arenas, including being a member of the National Planning Committee of the Office of the Interior, CEO of the Hebrew University Student Union, and teaching assistant and guest lecturer at the Hebrew University. Roy is the co-founder of New Spirit, the largest student organization in Jerusalem, which deals with internships, culture, community building, and affordable housing. He serves on the board of directors of several organizations including the Yad Ben Zvi Center for Jerusalem Studies and Research, the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, and the Government-Municipal Company for Housing. Upon completion of his military tenure as an infantry field medic with the “Nachal Brigade,” Roy enrolled in the Hebrew University where he earned his BA in Economics and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and his MA with honors at the School of Public Policy.

Dr. Sameer Kassem
Medical Director, Maccabi Health Services, Head, Endocrinology Laboratory, Hadassah Medical Organization

Dr. Sameer Kassem serves as the medical director of Maccabi Health Services in East Jerusalem. Being responsible for the quality of clinical care in his region, Sameer is active in promoting the health of the population and raising public awareness of important health issues. Sameer has led various activities including organizing meetings for patients with chronic diseases as well as education sessions in preventive medicine, chronic care and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. In addition to his work with Maccabi, Sameer is a senior endocrinologist and the director of the endocrinology laboratory at Hadassah Hospital. He leverages his joint position at Hadassah and Maccabi to strengthen the cooperation between community physicians and hospitals. Sameer is actively engaged in training the next generation of physicians through his academic activity within the Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical School. He is also involved in recruiting young physicians to various training programs prior to their service in East Jerusalem. He holds both MD and PhD degrees from the Hebrew University, is a lecturer in the Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical School, and is board certified in internal medicine and endocrinology. Sameer is married to Atheer and they have three children.

Adv. Tziona Koenig Yair
National Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunities Commission Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor

Attorney Tziona Koenig-Yair is the first National Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, appointed by the government in January 2008. The EEOC is the government body responsible for enforcing equal opportunity in the labor market on many grounds. Tziona established the commission and has led the organization since its establishment, mainstreaming equality, fostering public awareness, issuing guidance and legal opinions, and litigating discrimination cases. Previously, she worked at the Israel Women’s Network, Israel's foremost advocacy group for women. There, she was the head of the legal department and then executive director. Tziona started her legal career as a prosecutor in the district attorney's office in Tel Aviv and also headed a legal clinic in Ramat Gan College. She currently teaches a course on discrimination in the workforce at Tel Aviv University, and is also a board member in the National Security Institute. Throughout her career, Tziona has published editorials in leading Israeli newspapers on various aspects of equality in the Israeli workforce and is a frequent lecturer and panelist on issues regarding human rights and employment. In 2011, she was selected by “The Marker” newspaper as one of the 100 most influential people in Israel, due to her work in promoting and implementing equality in the labor market in Israel. Tziona holds a LLB degree from the Faculty of Law at Hebrew University. She is married to Eyal and they have three children: Nitzan, Sagi and Noga.

Netaly Ophir-Flint
Vice President, The Reut Institute

Netaly Ophir-Flint is vice president of the Reut Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit organization designed to provide strategic support to Israeli leaders and decision-makers in order to catalyze change in Israel and the Jewish world. Her position includes strategic and organizational development, financial management, and responsibility for the organization’s daily operations. In addition, Netaly heads a taskforce on the changing paradigm in relations between Israel and the wider Jewish world. Before joining Reut, Netaly worked as a lecturer in the department of international relations at the Hebrew University and in a variety of positions at the Shalem Center Research Institute. Netaly currently serves on the board of directors of PresenTense Israel. She holds a joint master’s degree in International Relations and Conflict Management and Resolution, as well as a BA Degree in History and International Relations from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During her military service, Netaly served as a tank instructor for Israeli and foreign officers in the IDF armored corps. She is married to Nir and they have a daughter, Lior.

Adv. Yifat Ovadia
Founder and CEO of Olim Beyahad

Attorney Yifat Ovadia is the founder and CEO of Olim Beyahad. She founded this nonprofit organization in 2006 with the goal of fully integrating the Ethiopian Israeli community into Israeli society. Olim Beyahad supports Ethiopian university graduates in finding appropriate jobs, building professional, financial, and personal strength, and becoming role models and leaders. Through OB's mentoring program, which includes volunteer mentors from the highest echelons of Israeli society, OB has recruited thousands of companies and managers to take responsibility to eliminate prejudice, increase equal opportunities and to become a human network of Israelis (Ethiopian and non-Ethiopians) that leads to social change. Before establishing OB, Yifat served as a managing partner and head of the litigation civil law department in a law firm, while also representing pro bono cases and defending human rights. Prior to that, Yifat helped create a new initiative in Israel by co-founding and managing a pro bono human rights department in a commercial law firm. Until recently, she served as a board member in ACRI (Association of Civil Rights in Israel). Yifat earned her BA degree in law from Tel Aviv University. She is married to Ehud and they have three children: Omer, Shahar and Gal.

Avner Vilan
Technical Project Manager, Prime Minister's Office

Avner Vilan has served as a technical project manager in the Prime Minister's Office since 2005, where he has held several research and development managerial positions in diverse technological fields. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in mathematics and physics from the Hebrew University's prestigious Talpiot program. During his military service, Avner served in an elite IDF technological unit and commanded a class of Talpiot cadets. Avner was born and raised in Kibbutz Negba and now lives with his wife Liat in Raanana. His hobbies include photography, traveling, reading, mountain biking and scuba diving.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Yaari
Squadron Commander, Israeli Air Force

Jonathan grew up in Jerusalem and joined the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in 1992 after gaining a Bachelor's degree in economics from the Hebrew University. Throughout his wide-ranging service as a fighter pilot and commander, Jonathan combined leadership positions and operational combat flying in IAF's most strategic jet squadrons. In 2000, upon completion of his mandatory service, Jonathan obtained an MBA from Insead, Fontainebleau and worked for McKinsey and Company as a strategic consultant in the UK, Israel and Italy. He returned to the IAF to resume his military career including commanding two of Israel's elite fighter squadrons. He is married to Ariella and they have three children: Yael, Tamar and Guy.

The Alumni of Class 23

Lt. Col. Reuven Arbel
Director of Technological Research and Analysis, Israel Defense Forces

Lt. Col. Reuven “Rubi” Arbel has served in the Israel Defense Forces since 1989 in several positions, combining operational flying in one of the Israeli Air Force’s jet squadrons with professional positions in the research and development field. Currently, Rubi is a Branch Director in one of the Israel Defense Forces’ technology units, leading complex multidisciplinary projects. He joined this field in 2004 after graduating magna cum laude with both B.Sc. and M.Sc degrees in Industrial Engineering from Tel Aviv University. During his studies, he focused on information systems and his final thesis was on the subject of data mining.

Rubi's personal hobbies include hiking, biking, skiing, Jewish history, painting and cooking. He is married to Avishag and they live in Tel Aviv with their three children: Naomi, Dafna and Yoav.


Sharon Avraham-Weiss
Tel Aviv Regional Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor

Attorney Sharon Avraham-Weiss serves as the Tel Aviv and Central Israel Region Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)since 2009. She is responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing a non-discriminatory policy for employers and employees in the private and public sectors. Sharon has prepared and appeared in court cases that broaden and clarify the protection against discrimination to which workers are entitled. Prior to entering government service, Sharon headed the Clinic for Corporate Social Responsibility at the College of Law & Business. Before that she was a staff attorney responsible for social and economic rights at The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). She was also among the founders and a board member of “Itach-Maaki – Women lawyers for social justice.” Sharon holds an LLM magna cum laude from Tel Aviv University, and LLB and B.Sc degrees from the Hebrew University.

She is married to Yoav and they have two daughters: Alma and Ella Anna.

Commander Dalit Caspi-Schachner
Head of the Strategic Military Branch, General Headquarters, Israel Defense Forces

Dalit Caspi-Schachner is a Commander (Lt. Col.) in the Israel Navy. She joined the Navy in 1997 after graduating cum laude with B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Technion under the IDF’s program for outstanding students. Throughout her service, Dalit combined various disciplines in her assignments, including electrical engineering, operations research and operational theory. She has both performed independent research and lead various research teams in the Israeli defense industries. Currently, Dalit serves as the Head of the Strategic Military Branch in the Strategic Planning Division of the IDF General Staff. She focuses on the connection between strategic considerations and military force build-up decision-making. Dalit was recognized for her writing both by the Chief of General Staff (Award for best essay) and the "Military and Defense writing" competition committee for the year 2010.

Dalit is married to Eyal and they live in Givatayim with their two children: Amit and Yoav.

Jacob Goldberg
Senior Head of Section, Legal Department, Israel Antitrust Authority

Jacob “Kobi” Goldberg is a section chief at the Israel Antitrust Authority's legal department. His responsibilities entail promoting competition and handling antitrust legal cases in a variety of sectors, including energy, transportation, infrastructure and environment. Jacob has led a number of pro-competitive legislative and public initiatives, particularly in the energy sector. He is a board member of the Israeli class action support fund. Prior to his affiliation with the Antitrust Authority, Jacob worked in the judicial system for over 6 years and from 2000-2003 was the chief legal aid to Justice Dr. Ayala Procaccia of Israel's Supreme Court. He was admitted to the Israeli bar in 1998, holds an LL.B. degree from the Hebrew University magna cum laude, an LLM degree from the Hebrew University and a European Master in Law and Economics (EMLE) degree from Universidad Complutense, Madrid.


Uri Gopher
Director of Policy Change, Arab Society-Police Relations Initiative. The Abraham Fund Initiatives

Uri Gopher has been working since 1998 to promote Arab-Jewish relations in Israel, focusing on the formation and implementation of public policy that promotes civic equality, inclusion and governmental accountability. Since 2009, Uri has directed the Arab Society-Police Relations Initiative at The Abraham Fund, conducted in cooperation with Israel Police, which seeks to promote community-based policing and reform in policing as they relate to the Arab citizens of Israel. Prior to this, he led a variety of advocacy efforts in the same organization. Before joining The Abraham Fund Initiatives, Uri served as co-director for "Orr Watch" at Sikkuy, the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, which monitored the implementation of the recommendations of the Orr Commission of Inquiry, established to investigate the events of October 2000. Uri is also an experienced group facilitator, trained at The School for Peace at Neve Shalom–Wahat Al-Salam and at Tel Aviv University. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Psychology from Haifa University and a Master's degree in Social Psychology from Tel Aviv University.

Fluent in Hebrew, English and Arabic, Uri is also an accomplished musician and, together with his spouse Yanir, is the father of daughter, Hagar and son, Omri.

Lt. Col. Nir Peleg
Director of Research & Systems Development, Israel Defense Forces

Lt. Col. Nir Peleg is a Department Manager and Director in one of the Israel Defense Forces’ elite technology units. He joined this unit 18 years ago after receiving his B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from Ben-Gurion University under the IDF’s program for outstanding students. While serving, Nir also received his M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from Tel Aviv University and in 2008 was promoted to the highest military R&D rank. In 2006, Nir received the highest Israel Defense Prize Award. Among his community activities, most recently Nir served as the Regional Leader of the "Atidim" Program, an IDF initiative providing university education to talented youth from Israel's disaffected communities.

Nir is married to Tal and they live in Hod-Hasharon, Israel with their three children: Nitzan, Shaked and Tomer.

Yariv Regev
Senior Legal Assistant to the State Attorney of Israel, Ministry of Justice

Adv. Yariv Regev serves as the senior legal assistant to the State Attorney of Israel, advising and assisting the State Attorney. Among other matters, he is in charge of coordinating, supervising and advancing key national projects of the Office of the State Attorney. During the past five years, Mr. Regev has also been involved in Israel's most sensitive and high-profile political corruption and severe crime cases. Previously, he worked in the Office of the District Attorney of Jerusalem, specializing in litigation in criminal, administrative and civil proceedings. He received both his LLB magna cum laude and his LLM degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Yariv is married to Michal and they have two daughters: Roni and Daniella.


Tami Shor
Senior Deputy Director for Regulation, Israel Water Authority

Tami Shor is the Senior Deputy to the Director of the Israeli Water Authority. She is in charge of the Regulation Division. Tami has worked for the Water Authority and the Water Commissioner Office for the past seven years in a variety of roles, among them head of the Operations Department, serving as the leader of the national water crisis team in 2008-2009. Tami received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the Technion IIT in Civil Engineering and Management of Water Resources and started her professional course as a regional water engineer in Mekorot, the Israeli National Water Company. She also worked in the private sector as a product manager in Verint Systems, a provider of communications intelligence services.

Tami is married to Erez and they have two boys and a girl.


Nimrod Tzukert
Deputy Head of Department, Ministry of Defense

Nimrod Tzukert is a senior executive within the Ministry of Defense, specializing in issues of intelligence and anti-terrorism. Raised in Jerusalem, he received his B.A. in Computer Sciences as a participant in the "Maof" program of the Tel Aviv Academic College.

His hobbies include riding horses, scuba diving, math problem solving, and playing the piano. He lives in Kiryat Ono with his wife Nona. 

The Alumni of Class 22

Noa Asher
Head of International Support and Finance Department, Foreign Trade Administration,
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor.


Noa Asher has been Israel's Economic Consul to the Midwest since 2006. As such, she was responsible for initiating and maintaining trade relationships between Israel and the region. Previously, Noa served as the Chief of Staff for the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor. She joined the ministry in 2002, serving as a Foreign Trade Officer within the Asia Pacific Division of the Foreign Trade Administration. Prior to entering government service, Noa was a legal advisor to an Israeli group of start-up technology companies. She holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University and an LLB degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Unviversity as a Wexner Fellow.

Before beginning her education, Noa served as a Lieutenant in the Israel Defense Forces. Together with her husband Assaf, Noa has a daughter Yahli, and a son Ori.


Moria Charka
Director of the Civil Department, Jerusalem District Attorney's Office, Ministry of Justice

Moria Charka is part of the Civil Department in the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office, representing the State of Israel in a variety of civil law suits, including tort, contracts, land property disputes and civil rights petitions. Since 2009, Moria has been the Director of the Civil Department, shaping the state's civil litigation policy. She holds a B.A. in Medical Sciences, an LL.B. and an LL.M. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Unviversity as a Wexner Fellow. Moria is one of the core members of Shira Hadasha, an orthodox, feminist congregation in Jerusalem.

Moria is married to Yaron and they are the proud parents of four girls, two of them currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces.


Amit David
Director of the Knowledge Management Branch, Israeli Air Force

Amit David is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Throughout his service, Amit has combined operational combat flying in one of the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) strategic jet squadrons with professional positions in the headquarters. Amit currently serves in the IDF Planning Directorate, Strategic Planning Division. Amit served in the IAF's communication, networks and information department where he directed the knowledge management branch, considered one of the most advanced knowledge management organizations in Israel. He has also led complex multidisciplinary projects, most recently within the Operational Requirements Department.

Amit received his B.Sc. in Electronics and Computer Engineering (cum laude) from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and has also begun a Master’s Degree in Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning. He also holds a Master Degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Wexner Fellow.

He is a long-distance runner. During the past several years, he has run several marathons. Amit is married to Adi and they have three children: Noa, Itamar, and Maya.


Tamar Elram
Medical Assistant to the Director General, Ministry of Health

Dr. Tamar Elram is a certified obstetrician and gynecologist who trained at Hebrew University and at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem. She is an intern in Healthcare Management with the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Health, and the management of Hadassah Medical Center as well as working as an Obstetrician and Gynecologist through Meuchedet Public Health Fund.

She worked in Hadassah’s delivery room and volunteered as a physician in the Hadassah Centre for Sexual Assault Victims. Tamar has served as an emissary for Zionist seminars in Australia and New Zealand through the Jewish Agency and worked in the Jewish community in Nairobi, Kenya through “Project Areivim" which aims to strengthen Jewish communities around the world. For the last few years, Tamar has worked with women’s empowerment treks in Israel called Desert Queen. Tamar also participated in a voluntary medical delegation to the displaced persons camps in Haiti following the earthquake in January 2010 through F.I.R.S.T IsraAID. She also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Unviversity as a Wexner Fellow.


Ori Gordin
Commander of Brigade 55, Israel Defense Forces

Ori was born in California and raised in Kibbutz Yotvata, which is located at the southern tip of Israel. In 1988, he was recruited to the IDF and developed as a leader through a line of commanding duties as a platoon and squadron leader, planning and leading special operations and military campaigns. He now holds a position of leading the paratroopers reserve brigade, brigade 55. Ori studied electrical engineering at Tel Aviv University in conjunction with his military service, graduating with a B.Sc. in 2002. He also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Wexner Fellow.

He lives in Moshav Sitriya, a small village in the center of Israel, with his wife Miri, his daughter Ella, and his sons Yuval and Alon.


Niv Price
Director of Research and Development, Intelligence Corps, Israel Defense Forces

Lt. Col. Niv Price is the Deputy Department Director in one of the Israel Defense Forces’ elite technology units. He joined this unit 15 years ago after receiving his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Tel Aviv University under the IDF’s program for outstanding students. While working, Niv also received his M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Tel Aviv University and in 2009 was promoted to the highest military R&D rank. He also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Wexner Fellow. Among his community activities, most recently Niv served as the Tiberias Regional Leader of the "Atidim" Program, an IDF initiative providing university education to talented youth from Israel's disaffected communities.

Niv is married to Keren and they live in Ra'anana, Israel with their two daughters Lia and Alma.


Tomer Rosner
Senior Legal Adviser, The Knesset

Tomer Rosner is the leading legal adviser to two of the most prominent statutory Knesset committees and their members: the State Control Committee and the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee. He has extensive experience in both the private sector, where he served for several years as a litigator and a corporate lawyer, and in the public sector, where he served for six years as the legal advisor and a directorate member of the administrative branch of the Knesset. Tomer is a member of the Israeli bar and received his LL.B. degree (magna cum laude) and LL.M. degree (magna cum laude) from Tel Aviv University. He also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Wexner Fellow he earned in 2011. He received the Lucius N. Littauer Fellow award for his distinction in academics at the Kennedy School, his contribution to the Kennedy School and the greater Harvard community, and his potential for continuing leadership excellence. Tomer is an alumnus of the US State Department International Visitor’s Leadership Program of 2008.

Among his community activities, Tomer tutors high school students from low socio-economic backgrounds. His hobbies include horseback riding and kayaking.


Pazit Shalmon-Baratz
Deputy Legal Adviser, Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality

Pazit Shalmon-Baratz is the deputy legal advisor at the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality. She has been working for the Tel Aviv Municipality since 2002, concentrating on various legal facets of municipal construction and planning affecting the city's community. She has acted as a member of several inter-ministerial reform committees. Prior to that, Pazit worked for 10 years as a corporate commercial lawyer in the private sector. She received her LL.B and LL.M degrees from Tel Aviv University. She also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Unviversity as a Wexner Fellow.

Among her community activities, she graduated from the Kolot Fellows Program, a progressive Jewish Studies Institute. She was also an Israeli Scouts delegate at a Young Judea camp. Currently, she is a volunteer trustee on behalf of Israeli artists and students.


Yishay Sorek
Director of International Relations, Ministry for Development of the Negev and the Galilee

Yishay Sorek has worked at the Ministry of Regional Cooperation since 2005 under two Vice Prime Ministers, including Shimon Peres. He is currently in charge of economic development in the Negev and Galilee and leads strategic planning in the Ministry. He leads regional cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and with Jordan in various fields. He also leads development and integration programs for the Arab population of Israel. Prior to his work at the Ministry, Yisay has served as the Executive Director of the Israel-Jordan Chamber of Commerce (chaired by the late Benjamin D. Gaon) and worked at Avigdor Feldman's law firm in Tel Aviv, specializing in human rights.

Yishay received an LL.B. Bachelor of Law from the Hebrew University (magna cum laude) and an MA from the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas (summa cum laude). He also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Wexner Fellow. He is a member of various forums for cooperation and understanding between Jews and Arabs. 

The Alumni of Class 21


Yousef Abu Jaffar
Director of Finance, Rahat Municipality  
Yousef Abu Jaffar is the Director of Finance at the Rahat Municipality. He has been working for the Rahat Municipality since 1999. From 2005 to 2007, Mr. Abu Jaffar was also the Projects Director for the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation (AJEEC) at the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development. He is involved in numerous community and voluntary activities such as establishing, directing and participating in a community theater. He has served as Executive Director of Bahr, the Association for Education, Health and Welfare Promotion. He has also planned and organized volunteer camps for public projects in Rahat to assist the local population. Mr. Abu Jaffar holds a B.A. in Public Policy and Administration from Sapir Academic College and is currently a student there in the Public Policy and Administration program, working towards his M.A. He also holds a Master Degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School  of Government  at Harvard University as a Wexner Fellow. 

 His mother tongue is Arabic and he also speaks Hebrew, English and Italian. He is married to Samira and they have four children: one girl and three boys.


Natasha Epstein
Budget Director's Advisor, Budget Department, Ministry of Finance
 
Natasha Epstein is the Budget Director's Advisor. Prior to that, sheserved as the Deputy Manager of Internal Affairs and Local Government in the Budget Department of the Ministry of Finance. Ms. Epstein was born in the former Soviet Union and made aliyah to Israel eighteen years ago. During her army service, she served in an elite technology unit and was released with the rank of Lieutenant. After the army, Ms. Epstein led a quality assurance engineering team. She then received a B.A. in Economics through the Amirim Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students. During her course of study, she served as an assistant economist for the research department at the Bank of Israel. After graduation, Ms. Epstein joined the Ministry of Finance, where she has worked until the present as the Deputy Manager of Internal Affairs and Local Government. Ms. Epstein's many activities include serving in the following capacities: councilmember and board member for the Jerusalem Development Authority; director of Mekorot, the National Water Company; councilmember for the Plants Production and Marketing Board; and member of the Public Committee for Local Tax Reform. She was a fellow at the Kolot Leadership Program. She also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Unviversity as a Wexner Fellow.

 Due to Ms. Epstein's wide interest in other cultures, she had traveled throughout most of Europe, South and Central America, and Southeast Asia. She is fluent in Russian, Hebrew, English and Spanish and also speaks French and Arabic. 


Andrea Haas
Director of Compensation Programs in Eastern Europe, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany 
 
Andrea Haas is the Director of Compensation Programs in Eastern Europe for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany. Prior to that, Ms. Haas was the Senior Regional Program Manager for the Western Russian-FSU Department at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Ms. Haas made aliyah from Slovakia in August of 2001. While living in Slovakia, she was intensively involved in working with Holocaust (Shoah) survivors.  She worked for the "Survivors of the Shoah", Steven Spielberg's Visual History Foundation, both in Slovakia and in Hungary, and also worked with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Ms. Haas has received the Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship, an award in international Jewish communal service, which included professional placements in the USA, Russia and Israel. She holds a Master's Degree in Slovak Language, Literature and General History from the Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. She also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Unviversity as a Wexner Fellow.

 Ms. Haas is fluent in English, Hebrew, French, Russian, Slovak, Czech and Hungarian, and has a basic knowledge of German. She is a mother of Elia (6.5 years old girl) and Ariel (3.5 years old boy).
 
Eyal Hulata
Technical Project Manager, Prime Minister's Office

Eyal Hulata joined the Prime Minister's Office following his academic training, and has served there ever since in a variety of technological and project-management positions. Mr. Hulata was a cadet in the accelerated studies Talpiot program, during which he received his B.Sc. in Physics and Math from the Hebrew University. Mr. Hulata received his M.Sc. in Physics (summa cum laude) from Tel-Aviv University. He has published several academic papers and articles. In 2007, Mr. Hulata was awarded The Applied Materials Israel Award for distinctive research (Tel-Aviv University). He also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Wexner Fellow.

His personal hobbies include hiking, puzzle and quiz solving, and playing the trumpet (classic, jazz) and harmonica. Mr.Hulata is married to Adi and they are the parents of two boys: Amitay and Tomer.


Barak Loozon
Director for Young Adult Engagement for Israel, Israel Center of the Jewish Community Federation San Francisco and a Community Shaliach 
 
Barak Loozon is the Director for Young Adult Engagement for Israel at the Israel Center of the Jewish Community Federation San Francisco and a Community Shaliach. He is a native born Israeli and raised in Bat-Yam.  Barak has held numerous leadership roles in Israel and in the American Jewish community. He worked for the Institute for Democratic Education in Israel and led the implementation of the "Bat-Yam Model for Personalized Education" - an educational reform in the city of Bat-Yam. Due to its success the model became part of the National Education reform.

Previously Barak worked as the National Education Director & Deputy Director-General of the Israeli Scouts, where he was in charge of Developing and conducting educational programs for thousands of scouts throughout Israel. He was an emissary for the Jewish Agency for Israel to the U.S. and served as the Education Director for the Tzabar program - aimed to foster and sustain a strong Israeli and Jewish identity among your Israelis living in the U.S.. Barak is a member of the Task Force on Jewish Peoplehood Education as well as Gvanim Fellow - a Leadership Training Program to Promote Jewish Pluralism in Israel.

 He holds a B.A. from Bar Ilan University in Criminology and Political Science and two M.A. degrees in Education Policy and Administration from Tel Aviv University as well as a M.A. in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a Wexner Israel Fellow.

 Barak served as a combat soldier in the Nahal Brigade of the IDF during his compulsory service. In his reserve duty he is now serving as the head of staff training for "C.V.K." - an IDF summer program for young American Jews and Israelis in Israel.
 Barak and his wife Keren are the proud parents of Yuval, Tomer, Amir and Hillel. As a family, the are members of "Beit Tfila Israeli" in Tel Aviv and recently became members of Kibbutz Einat in Israel.


Yitzhack Sabato
Senior Advisor to the Director General of The National Insurance Institute of Israel (NII or Bituach Leumi)
 
Yitzhack (Itzik) Sabato is the Senior Adviser to the Director-General of Bituach Leumi, the National Insurance Institute. He is in charge of policy, planning and strategy and leads the risk management activity within the organization. From 1998 to 2003, Mr. Sabato received LL.B., LL.M. and M.B.A. degrees, all three cum laude. During the course of his studies, Mr. Sabato served as a professional consultant to a Member of Parliament in Israel's Knesset and did his internship in the Attorney General's office. He also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Wexner Fellow. He is a Senior Goldman Fellow in the School of Government and Policy at Tel Aviv University for 2008-09, responsible for counseling junior fellows and preparing policy papers. In addition, he taught tax and welfare policy in Bar Ilan university for several years and published articles on that matters in Israel and abroad. Mr. Sabato is also involved in volunteer work; he moderated a community group in the framework of Beit Morasha, which combines study of religious Jewish sources with modern social issues.

Through the Pa'amonim organization, he is a counselor for legal and economic matters to families in economic distress. Mr. Sabato is married to Shira and they have 2 young children (a boy and a girl).  


Eliad Weinshall
Senior Deputy to the State Attorney, Criminal Division, Ministry of Justice   

Eliad Weinshall is Senior Deputy to the State Attorney in the Criminal Division of the Ministry of Justice. He has worked for the Ministry of Justice for the past ten years in a variety of roles, among them Chief Assistant to the Deputy Attorney General in the Legislation and Legal Counsel Department, Chief Assistant to the Attorney General at the Attorney General’s Office, and as a member of several inter-ministerial reform committees. Mr. Weinshall received his LL.B. degree from Tel Aviv University and his LL.M. degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He also holds a Master Degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Wexner Fellow.

During his military service, he served in the IDF's Anti-Aircraft Unit and is currently the IDF's Chief Solicitor-Legal Advisor in times of emergency as part of his reserve duty. Mr. Weinshall is married to Keren and they are the parents of two boys.   


Yanai Yedvab
Office of Science, Israeli Atomic Energy Commission
 
Yanai Yedvab works for the office of science in the Israeli atomic energy commission. Previously he was head of the physics department in the Nuclear Research Center - Negev. 

Mr. Yedvab received his B.Sc. in Physics from Tel-Aviv University with honors and is currently a Physics Ph.D. student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He also holds a Master Degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government  at Harvard University as a Wexner Fellow.  

Mr. Yedvab is married to Hadas and they have a daughter, Tamar.