SIIS Presenters in Israel
SHARON ABRAHAM-WEISS is the executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). Previously, as a staff attorney at ACRI, she represented ACRI in such landmark cases as the Family Unification petition, the Guaranteed Minimal Income (Dignified Existence) petition, and the Lands Distribution petition. She also served as the Tel Aviv Regional, Equal Employment of Opportunities Commissioner (EEOC) at the Ministry of Economy. Ms. Abraham-Weiss is a founding member of Itach-Maaki: Women Lawyers for Social Justice and co-founder of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Breira Center, which coordinates law students volunteering in the community. Ms. Abraham-Weiss holds LL.B. and B.Sc. degrees from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and an LL.M from Tel Aviv University. She also holds an M.A. in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Wexner Fellow.
IBRAHIM ABU SHINDI is co-founder and director of the Arab-Jewish Community Center located in the heart of the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa. The Center is founded on the values of co-existence and intergroup dialogue, serving over 3,500 Christians, Muslims and Jews, providing welfare services for children and families in need, offering cultural programs and working to empower and educate underprivileged groups in the city. Mr. Abu Shindi is also co-director of the Forum for Citizens Accord Between Arabs and Jews in Israel, which brings Jewish and Arab citizens together in social action groups to rectify existing social injustices and inequalities, as well as to promote mutual understanding and trust between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Mr. Abu Shindi previously served as director of the Social Renewal Project and the Advanced Youth Department in Ajami-Jaffa. He is the recipient of the Victor J. Goldberg International Education Prize for Peace in the Middle East. He holds a B.A. in social work and an M.A. in social management from Tel Aviv University.
GANNIT ANKORI is Professor of Art History and Chair in Israeli Art in the department of Fine Arts at Brandeis. Before coming to Brandeis, she served as the Henya Sharef Professor of Humanities and chair of the Art History department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and as a visiting associate professor at Harvard University. She has taught, lectured and published extensively on Israeli and Palestinian art, on the visual representation of gender-related issues, the construction of identity, exile, trauma, and hybridity. Her book, Palestinian Art, was published by Reaktion Books, London, in 2006 and is distributed in the US by the University of Chicago Press. She won a Polonsky Prize for Originality and Creativity in the Humanistic Disciplines for this publication. Her forthcoming English language book, Frida Kahlo, will be published as part of the prestigious Critical Lives series by Reaktion Books in London. Her previous work on Kahlo includes two books (2002, 2003), a major catalog essay for the Kahlo retrospective at the Tate Modern, London (2005) and curation of a Kahlo exhibition at the Jewish Museum of New York (2003-4).
AHARON BARAK, a former President of the Supreme Court of Israel, is currently a Professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya. He served as Deputy President of the Supreme Court, Attorney General of the State of Israel, and Justice of the Supreme Court. Prof. Barak was Dean and Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Law School and a Visiting Professor at the Law Schools of Harvard, Yale and Michigan University. He holds an LL.B., M.A. and Ph.D. in Law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from many prestigious universities including Yale University.
HANA BENDCOWSKY is the Programs Director at the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations. She has been involved in interfaith activities in Israel and overseas for 14 years. Ms. Bendcowsky is a professional tour guide, educator and lecturer, focusing on the Christian Communities in the Holy Land, in particular for Israeli Jewish audiences. She holds a B.A. in History and General Studies and an M.A. in Early Church Studies (Department of Comparative Religions) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and did postgraduate studies in History at Delhi University in India.
TAL BECKER serves as principal deputy legal advisor at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this role, he is on the front-lines of a broad range of Israel's most pressing legal, policy and diplomatic challenges. He recently completed an appointment as senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and continues to serve as a fellow at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. In the past he served as senior policy advisor to Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs and was a leading negotiator during the Annapolis peace process negotiations. Representing Israel in a wide variety of bilateral and multilateral negotiations, he has also served as director of the International Law Department at the Foreign Ministry, counsel to the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN in New York, and international law expert in the Military Advocate General's Corps of the Israel Defense Forces. When he was elected vice chairman of the UN General Assembly's Legal Committee, he became the first Israeli to serve in a UN post of this stature in more than forty years. Dr. Becker is author of the book Terrorism and the State:, which won the Guggenheim Prize for best international law book, and he is currently co-authoring a university textbook on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Dr. Becker holds a doctorate degree from Columbia University and is a recipient of numerous scholarly awards.
AMIR DAJANI is the Deputy Managing Director of Bayti Real Estate Investment Company and coordinator of donor participation for Rawabi, the first planned Palestinian city now in development. Mr. Dajani previously worked in the private enterprise office of USAID's West Bank and Gaza Mission in Tel Aviv, where he was responsible for the design, implementation and monitoring of multi-million dollar institution and capacity building programs. Mr. Dajani has designed and launched a number of business development initiatives in different economic sectors, including the Palestinian tourism sector, where he developed a business plan and conducted a feasibility study for a successful tourism investment project in Jericho.
DALIA DORNER, a former Supreme Court Justice, is President of the Israel Press Council, a voluntary public organization which safeguards freedom of the press and ethical standards for the Israeli media. During her tenure as Supreme Court Justice, she developed a reputation as a strong advocate of human and civil rights, due to her judicial rulings including the recognition of same-sex mates, the granting of the right of women to serve as pilots in the IDF, the determination that Israel can not legally detain prisoners as hostages for future prison exchanges, etc. In addition, she was one of the judges in the trial of the Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk and served as Chair of the Israel Central Elections Committee for the Knesset and Local Authorities. Justice Dorner also served as a judge in the Beersheva District Court and the Jerusalem District Court. She holds the rank of Colonel (res.) in the Israel Defense Forces, where she served as Chief Defense Attorney, President of the Central Command District Military Court and as a Judge in the Military Court of Appeal. She has an M.Jur. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
ANAN GHAITH is the director of Jerusalem Tourism Cluster (JTC), a local NGO which aims to link together different economic sectors relating to tourism in East Jerusalem. He runs the Palestinian Business Portal in Jerusalem, a portal which allows businesses in East Jerusalem to exchange information and network online. Mr. Ghaith has also published the book Walks in Jerusalem, which presents 10 walks in East Jerusalem, depicting Jerusalem from a Palestinian perspective. A Palestinian residing in Jerusalem, Mr. Ghaith holds a B.A. in international tourism management and marketing from Middlesex University in Dubai, an M.A. in E.U. Studies from Al-Quds University, and a professional diploma in event management and innovative marketing from EMDI, Dubai Knowledge Village.
AKIVA ELDAR is a chief political columnist for Almonitor.co, a web site that brings together prominent analysts and commentators from the Arab world, Israel, Iran and Turkey. Until recently, Mr. Eldar was a senior columnist and editorial writer for the Israeli national daily newspaper Ha’aretz. He served for over three decades in various positions at Ha’aretz, ranging from municipal correspondent covering Jerusalem, to bureau chief and Washington correspondent. In 2006 The Financial Times selected Mr. Eldar among the most prominent and influential commentators in the world. He has appeared frequently on news programs such as Nightline, Charlie Rose Show, CNN News, and current affair programs on Israeli television. His most recent book, Lords of the Land, was on the best sellers list in Israel and was also published in English. In 2007 he received the annual Search for Common Ground award for Middle East Journalist. Mr. Eldar graduated from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he studied economics, political science and psychology.
NABILA ESPANIOLY is the founder and head of the Al-Tufula Pedagogic Center for Women and Early Childhood Education in Nazareth and the former Chair of Mossawa, an advocacy center for Arab citizens' rights. As a feminist peace and political advocate, she is active in many women's and peace groups including the Coalition of Women and Peace, Women in Black, the Coalition, and a working group on the status of Palestinian women citizens of Israel. Ms. Espanioly previously worked as a social worker and developed educational programs for early childhood at the Arab Children's Center in Acre, where she also lectured on psychology. She has published several articles in Arabic on women's issues, 13 books on early childhood education, and several research reports. She was a guest lecturer on Women in the Arab World at Haifa University. Ms. Espanioly has been awarded the Aachen Peace Prize and has been nominated for the 1000 women Nobel Peace Prize. Born in Nazareth, Ms. Espanioly has a B.A. in Social Work from Haifa University, and a M.A. in Psychology from Bamberg University, Germany. She has also participated in several training courses in management, fundraising, lobbying and social change.
ETGAR KERET is a popular Israeli writer known for his short stories, graphic novels, and scriptwriting for film and television. He has published several books of short stories and novellas, two comic books, two feature screenplays and numerous teleplays. His books, which were all bestsellers in Israel, have been translated into many languages and some are included in the literature curriculum for Israeli high schools. Works of his which have been translated into English include: The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be G-d and Other Stories, The Nimrod Flipout, Missing Kissinger, The Girl on the Fridge, Four Stories, Dad Runs Away With the Circus, Jetlag (comics), Pizzeria Kamikaze (comics). Mr. Keret has also directed several films, including Jellyfish (Meduzot), a film based on a story by his wife which won the Golden Camera Award at the 2007 Cannes Festival. He is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Literature in Israel and the Chevalier (Knight) Medallion of France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
RAFIK HAJ is the co-director of the Mandel Leadership program in the Arab village of Kafr-Qara. He is a researcher of local authorities in the Dirasat think tank, and an organizational consultant to several Arab and Jewish local authorities in Israel. He is a regular op-ed writer on social and economic issues in the Arabic newspapers in Israel. Dr. Haj established and managed a hi-tech firm, which develops management and organizational computer-based programs. He also worked for the College of Sakhnin for Teacher Education. He holds an M.A. in public administration from Harvard University and a PhD in public policy and administration from Ben-Gurion University. In his dissertation he researched the economic, political, and social factors which influence collective action in the Arab society.
RAMIZ JARAISY has been the Mayor of Nazareth since 1994. Mayor Jaraisy is also a member of the Secretariat of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, and Deputy Chairman of the Committee of Heads of Arab Local Councils. He previously served as Deputy Mayor of Nazareth and Chairman of Nazareth's Local Planning Council. Mayor Jaraisy was one of the founders of the Arab Students' Association in Israel, and served for many years as its chairman. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Technion.
EINAT KAPACH is a graduate of the Ma'aleh film school. She is the director of one of the school's flagship films "Jephtah's Daughter" about the experiences of an Ethiopian family crossing the Sudan desert. Einat is an independent director, scriptwriter and lecturer who has represented Ma'aleh at Jewish communities and conferences all over the world, lately in Australia, New Zealand and Italy. Her feature length documentary about her Yemenite heritage, "My Two Legacies", was produced by Israel's New Cinema Foundation and aired on Channel 2. Einat is at present working on the script of her feature length fictional film.
AVITAL LEIBOVICH is the Director of AJC Jerusalem. She is a Lt. Col. (res.) in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Her distinguished IDF career spans over 20 years in a wide range of senior media and public relations positions within the IDF where she served as the face of the IDF to the international community during critical events such as the 'Cast Lead' and ' Pillar of Defense' operations, Gilad Shalit's return and many others. Immediately before coming to AJC, Lt. Col. Leibovich served as Head of the Interactive Media Branch of the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, a branch which she was uniquely positioned to create as a response to the rapidly growing influence of social networks and Internet platforms in the media world. Previously, Lt. Col. Leibovich had additionally held the position of Head of the Foreign Press Branch, where she established strong connections between the IDF and the International Media, working with audiences worldwide and appearing in thousands of media interviews. Lt. Col. Leibovich received a BA in English literature and political science from Bar Ilan University and an MA in international relations from University of Haifa, as well as a diploma in spokesmanship, communications, and public relations from the Department of Foreign Affairs at Bar Ilan University.
ERAN LERMAN is deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at Israel’s National Security Council. He previously served as director of the American Jewish Committee’s Israel/Middle East Office. Col. (res.) Dr. Lerman also served as the assistant for analyses to the deputy director for intelligence production at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Directorate of Military Intelligence. He was a member of Israel’s arms control delegation to the Arab-Israeli peace talks from 1992 until 1995 and frequently conducts public briefings on strategic issues. A former lecturer at the Department of Political Science at Haifa University, he holds a B.A. in history from Tel Aviv University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of London, as well as an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
DOV LIPMAN is a member of Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, representing Yesh Atid (“There is a future”) party. He rose to national attention for his work in combating extremism and speaking on behalf of moderate Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) who seek greater involvement in sharing the national responsibilities and joining the workforce. He worked as Special Assistant to the Deputy Mayor of his hometown Beit Shemesh, and volunteered as a campaign manager in the 2008 Mayoral elections. His frequent columns in the Jerusalem Post and Time of Israel laying out his vision for a more unified and Jewish values based Israel has created a large following. An experienced educator, Rabbi Lipman has held numerous administrative and educational positions in the United States, where he was born and grew up, and in Israel. He is a sought after lecturer on the topics of religion and state in Israel and inspiring today's youth. He is graduate of Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, Maryland, has Rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg, and is also a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, with an M.S. in Education.
NAZIER MAGALLY, a writer and journalist, is a former editor-in-chief of Al-Ittihad, Israel's only Arabic-language daily. He is currently a member of the editorial staff of Eretz Aheret, a columnist on Israeli affairs for Asharq Alawsat, a London-based newspaper, and the host of several news magazines on Israel Television's Second Channel. He teaches at Bir Zeit University and in the past taught at Ben Gurion University. The author of six books, he is a commentator on Israeli affairs on various television channels in the Arab world. He is an activist promoting better relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel and in the region. With Father Emile Shofani, he led a delegation of Arab and Jewish notables to Auschwitz. He serves as general secretary of N.A.S., an Arab movement which values the contribution Israeli Arabs can play in solving the Israel-Arab conflict. Born in Nazareth, Mr. Magally studied journalism in Tel Aviv.
HAMUTAL MERIDOR, is a multi-disciplinary entrepreneur with an academic and professional background in computer science, cognitive science and tech & web companies. Currently consults tech startups around the world, a part of Israel Brain Technologies, a member of Singularity University Israel, and a key member of "Cracking the Glass Ceiling", a non-profit promoting girls from underprivileged families to science & technology. Ms. Meridor formerly founded Daps'em, an online reputation startup. Prior to that she was part of YaData, a data mining startup that was acquired by Microsoft, where she was in charge of behavioral targeting products and founded the Audience Insights team. Ms. Meridor holds a BSc in Computer Science & Cognitive Science from the Hebrew University, and an MSc in Computational Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics, where she received numerous awards for academic excellence.
YEHUDAH MIRSKY is associate professor of the practice of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis. He studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshiva College and received rabbinic ordination in Jerusalem. He graduated from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the law review, and completed his Ph.D. in Religion at Harvard. He worked in Washington as an aide to then-Senators Bob Kerrey and Al Gore, and at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and served in the Clinton Administration as special advisor in the US State Department's human rights bureau. He has written widely on politics, theology and culture for a number of publications, including The New Republic and The Economist. He is also a Contributing Editor of the Jerusalem Report and is on the editorial board of Eretz Acheret. After the attacks of September 11 he served as a volunteer chaplain for the Red Cross. He is currently a contributing writer at Jewish Ideas Daily.com and a member of the board of Yerushalmim, the movement for a pluralist and livable Jerusalem. His biography of Rabbi Abraham Issac Kook is forthcoming from Yale University Press.
URI MISGAV is a writer and commentator for HaAretz newspaper. He previously served as a political writer and commentator for Yedioth Ahronot, the most widely circulated daily in Israel. He has been a journalist for various media outlets, including the news program on Israel's TV Channel 10, and is active in promoting freedom of the press in Israel. He lectures on journalism at Sapir College and teaches Israeli history and geography at Kehilla (democratic) Elementary School. Mr. Misgav holds a degree in political science and history from Tel Aviv University.
UZI RABI is Director of the Dayan Center of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University. He previously served as Vice-Director of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Regional and International Studies and as a senior researcher at the Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University. His academic interests include states and societies on both sides of the Persian Gulf, state-building in the Middle East and oil, politics and the regional geopolitical context. Prof. Rabi’s forthcoming books include Yemen: The Anatomy of a Failed State and Iran, Israel and the Arabs: The Changing Face of the 21st Century in the Middle East. He holds a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Middle Eastern and African History from Tel Aviv University.
DANIEL REISNER is the head of the Public International Law, Defense and Homeland Security Division at Herzog, Fox and Neeman, Israel's largest law firm. Col. (res.) Adv. Reisner is the former head of the International Law Department in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Military Advocate General's Corps, as well as a lecturer at three Israeli universities. He served as a senior member of Israel's peace negotiations with both Jordan and the Palestinians, working in the triple role of negotiator, legal advisor and drafter. Following his retirement from the IDF, Col. (res.) Adv. Reisner opened a law firm specializing in international consulting, where he advised senior members of the government on issues relating to the Middle East peace process and security. His areas of expertise include the Arab-Israel conflict, legal aspects of terrorism, law of armed conflict, international criminal law, the law of trans-boundary water resources, general public international law and international negotiations.
YITZHAK REITER is a professor of Middle East, Israel and Islamic Studies. He chairs the Department of Land-of-Israel Studies at Ashkelon Academic College and is a senior researcher at both the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and the Harry S. Truman Institute for Peace Research of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Professor Reiter was a visiting scholar to Oxford University – St. Antony's College (2001), The Middle East Institute – Washington D.C. (2003), Sydney University (2003-4). In addition, he was a Schusterman Fellow teaching at the University of Minnesota during the academic year 2008-9 (Political Science and Jewish Studies). Between 1978-1987 he served as deputy advisor on Arab Affairs for three Israeli Prime Ministers (Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres). In 2006 he advised the Israel Council for National Security regarding the policy of integrating the Arab minority. Professor Reiter is an expert on conflict resolution in holy places, the Arab minority in Israel, Middle East and Israel politics and Islamic law. He is active in Jewish-Arab dialogue and track two discussions between Israelis and Palestinians. He is the author of several books including From Jerusalem to Mecca and Back – The Islamic Consolidation of Jerusalem; Islamic Endowment in Jerusalem under British Mandate and Islamic Institutions in Jerusalem: Palestinian Muslim Administration under Jordanian and Israeli Rule.
ELIE REKHESS specializes in the study of Israeli politics and society, the Arab minority in Israel, Jewish-Arab relations, Palestinian politics, and the Islamic resurgence in the West Bank and Gaza. He is a senior research fellow in the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University, and the head of its Program on Jewish-Arab Cooperation in Israel (sponsored by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung). As of January 2009 he is the Visiting Crown Chair in Middle East Studies at Northwestern University and co-chair of its Middle East Forum. In April 2010 he organized their conference “The Middle East in the 1950s – Historical Perspectives.” He recently authored, edited, and co-edited: Muslim Minorities in non-Muslim Countries: The Islamic Movement in Israel as a Test Case (2011), The Arab Society in Israel: A Compendium (2009), Arab Youth in Israel: Caught between Prospects and Risk, with A. Rudnitsky eds. (2008), The Arab Minority in Israel and the 17th Knesset Elections (2007), and Together but Apart: Mixed Cities in Israel (2007).
EREL SEGAL is a writer and commentator for various Israeli media outlets. He has a weekly column for “Maariv”, one of the most influential daily newspapers in Israel. He hosts one of the long lasting TV news programs in Israel and has a daily radio talk show. Mr. Segal is a known persona in Israel and is highly recognized for his conservative right wing views, which are at times in contrast with the main stream, as well as for his respect of others whose opinions are very much in contradiction to his.
DANIELLE SHANI is the director of the emerging Mandel Center for Leadership in the North. Before that she directed several programs for social-educational leadership in Israel's periphery within the Mandel Foundation. Dr. Shani has worked at the Israel Democracy Institute, where she developed the Israeli Democracy Index. She also worked as a journalist and was head of the news desk at the Yediot Achronot daily newspaper, and a political reporter, news editor and broadcaster on Galei Tzahal radio (IDF Radio). Dr. Shani holds a BA in philosophy and political science and an MA in political philosophy from Tel Aviv University and an MA and PhD in political science from Princeton University. For her doctoral dissertation she researched the ways in which citizens develop an interest in politics. For this research she was the co-winner of the 2009 Best Dissertation Award in Political Psychology from the American Political Science Association. Danielle was also a Fulbright Scholar, a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Scholars, and the winner of the Knesset award for exceptional academic achievements.
ANITA SHAPIRA is the head of the Weizmann Institute for the Study of Zionism and the Ruben Merenfeld Chair for the Study of Zionism at Tel Aviv University. A professor of Jewish history, her research focuses on the history of the Jewish community in Palestine (the Yishuv) and Israel and the history of Zionism. She was founding director of the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies. In addition, she has served as dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Tel Aviv University, president of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, chair of the board of Am Oved publishing, and vice-chairperson of the Israeli Historical Society. Prof. Shapira is currently a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute and is a recipient of the Israel Prize. She is the author and editor of numerous books including Berl: The Biography of a Socialist Zionist, Berl Katznelson; Land and Power: The Zionist Resort to Force, 1881-1948; Yigal Allon, Native Son: A Biography; Zionism and Religion; and Essential Papers in Zionism. She holds a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in history and Jewish history from Tel Aviv University.
KHALIL SHIKAKI is the director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. He is a senior fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandies University. Dr. Shikaki has taught at several universities, including Bir Zeit University, al-Najah National University, the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) and the University of South Florida. He was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute and has authored several books on Palestinian politics, his latest one titled Palestinian and Israeli Public Opinion. He has conducted more than 150 polls among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Dr. Shikaki holds a B.A. in political science from the American University in Beirut and a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.
AHMAD TIBI is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). Dr. Tibi served for several years as a political advisor to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. He resigned from this post in 1999, upon deciding to run for the Knesset. He was elected to the Knesset in 1999 as a member of the Balad party, but later broke away to form his own party - Ta'al – during the Knesset session. Dr. Tibi, was born in Tayibe, Israel. He is a physician and graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
ALEXANDER YAKOBSON is an associate professor of ancient history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His areas of research include democracy, popular politics, public opinion and elections in the Classical World, and democracy, national identity, nation-state and the rights of national minorities in Israel and in Western democracies. He previously served as a lecturer at Haifa University. He co-authored with Prof. Amnon Rubinstein the book Israel and the Family of Nations – Jewish Nation-State and Human Rights. Prof. Yakobson served as a political advisor to the minister of education and culture, the minister of energy and infrastructure and the minister of communication. He holds a B.A. in history and political Science, an M.A. in ancient history and a Ph.D. in history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
HAIM YAVIN an Israeli television anchor and documentary filmmaker. He was one of Israel's leading news presenters, associated with the job for so many decades that he was known as "Mr. Television." Between 1968 and 2008, Mr. Yavin was the anchor of Mabat (lit. "Outlook"), the primetime news roundup on Israel's state television station, which he helped found. He is dubbed "Israel's Walter Cronkite" by the American press. He is often perceived as the "voice" of Israel. One of his famous sentences is "ladies and gentlemen – a turnaround!", after Menachem Begin's Likud won the 1977 Parliamentary election. He also served as chief editor of Mabat. Mr. Yavin sparked political controversy with his five-part documentary series The Land of the Settlers, aired on Israel's Channel 2 in May 2005. The program concluded that Israeli settlements were endangering Israel, and Israel should withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In August 2007, Mr. Yavin announced his retirement. He read the news for the last time on February 5, 2008. In 1997 Mr. Yavin was awarded the Israel Prize, for communications.
BINYAMIN ZOMER is the Director of Corporate Affairs, Israel at Noble Energy Inc., a leading independent energy company whose broad-based operations include the exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas in the U.S. and internationally. Mr. Zomer previously served as the Deputy Director for Policy and Government Affairs at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Prior to this, he served as chief legal advisor to U.S. Senator Don Nickles, Senior Manager for Federal Government Relations at Accenture LLC, and Associate at the Chicago law firm of Katten Muchin Zavis. Mr. Zomer holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas and a law degree from the Washington University School of Law.