Maisa Alshiech is an educator, homeroom teacher, entrepreneur, technology coordinator, and mentor for the Haifa District of the Ministry of Education. She is the founder of the “Youth Show the Way” initiative, which raises awareness and promotes acceptance of people with disabilities in Druze society. She also started the “Teachers Dream” Facebook page, which promotes creativity and innovation in education. Maisa works to promote higher education for Druze women and to make it more accessible. She believes that the key to social advancement is improving the status and education of women. Maisa holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from the Gordon College of Education and the University of Haifa, respectively, and is a graduate of the Avney Rosha Institute for School Leadership. She is married and a mother of three, and lives in Isfiya.
Erez Arad has served as Director General of the Zevulun regional council since 2008. The council comprises 14 diverse communities, including kibbutzim, Bedouin and Arab villages, communal settlements, cooperative agricultural settlements, and residential educational institutions. Previously, he was deputy director of the Israel Society for the Protection of Nature. Erez wants to improve the conditions of the Arab population of the North, and to create equality between Arab villages and residents and the Jewish population. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and management from the Open University, and a master’s degree in public policy from Tel Aviv University. Erez is married and has a daughter, and lives in Alonei Abba.
Efrat Arava has worked in a variety of educational capacities over the last two decades, including teaching, counseling, and pedagogical management, while specializing in work with students with special needs, in particular those with learning disabilities. In the last two years, she has founded and now directs the BE Academic College, created by Beit Ekstein, for students with complex learning disabilities and high-functioning autism. Efrat holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a diploma in expressive and creative arts therapy, and a master’s degree in educational counseling. She has a son, and lives in Nesher.
Eviatar Baksis served as the Jewish Agency’s senior community emissary (“shaliach”) to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, where he oversaw Israel activities. He has worked for many years in promoting youth in northern Israel, and in strengthening ties between Israeli and American Jewry. Eviatar believes in the power of education and experiential activities, and wants to lead the next wave of innovative Jewish education in the Galilee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and political science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in public policy from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. Eviatar is married with a son, and lives in Migdal Haemek.
Racheli Balali has been active in special education for over 30 years. In the past, she served as a member of the Herzliya municipal council and as deputy director of the Pardesiya local council, where she worked to advance the status of women and to improve education. Over the past year, Racheli has been running a special Shabbat program for children with and without disabilities, in partnership with the youth movements in Pardesiya. She wants to advance the integration of disadvantaged populations and people with disabilities into the community and the education system. Racheli holds a degree in educational and rehabilitation services for children with special needs from a university in Budapest, a bachelor’s degree in special education from the Kibbutzim College of Education for Technology and the Arts, and a teaching certificate in special education. She lives in Pardesiya.
Nir Boneh lectures on “Israeli Society from a Satirical Perspective.” He develops educational projects on Israeli society and Jewish peoplehood that connect diaspora Jewry with Israel and vice versa. Nir believes that humor and thinking outside the box make it possible to engage in deep identity discourse. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education and Israel studies from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and a master’s degree from the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa. Nir is married and has a daughter.
Hadas Dagan Blum is involved in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of women and children who are victims of domestic violence, using principles of poverty-aware social work. For the last eight years, she has directed a shelter for women victims of violence and their children. Hadas wants to promote rehabilitation initiatives that will pave the way for a better future for young women who have suffered domestic violence, who have no family support, and who are themselves mothers. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Haifa, and a bachelor’s degree in geography from Tel Aviv University. Hadas lives in Yokneam.
Sharon Galperin works with communities that are in processes of change and growth. In this capacity, she assists them in leading social-communal processes and dialogue groups, and civic action. Sharon writes training programs on leadership, ecology, engagement, and social action. She wants to create an open society that respects and cherishes human, social, and cultural diversity, and her work is geared toward this end. She holds a master’s degree in business administration, with a specialization in marketing from Tel Aviv University, and a diploma in mediation. Sharon is married and a mother of four, and lives in Katzir.
Essam Hajajra is the manager of the JDC-TEVET’S Riyan Arab Employment Centers program in Bedouin society in the Galilee. The program provides guidance and employment services that facilitate integration into the workforce, in particular for women. He wants to increase the empowerment of women in Bedouin society, and to ensure that members of the educated younger generation lead the community and society. Essam holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Middle Eastern history, and a master’s degree in public administration and policy, both from the University of Haifa. He is a father of five, and lives in Hajajra.
Sawsan Kadora is principal of the NA’AMAT technological high school in Nahf. She wants to dispel the stigmas attached to technological vocational education in Israel, especially in the Arab sector, and to make her school a source of inspiration for the community – all while exemplifying independent and strong women’s leadership. Sawsan holds a bachelor’s degree in Arabic language and literature from the University of Haifa, and a master’s degree in Arabic language and literature from Yarmouk University in Jordan, as well as a diploma from Oranim Academic College in teaching at-risk and disenfranchised students.
Noa Katz Liberman works with communities in the Carmel area, leading social change via meaningful ecological activities, under the auspices of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Previously, she led environmental rehabilitation and support programs for youth at risk. She is a member of a group working to establish a school that will serve as a viable and sustainable model for education that is multi-dimensional, empowering, and transformative. Noa formulates, initiates, and implements programs that bridge cultures, religions, and languages by strengthening what people have in common – our connection to places and nature, our humanity, and our desire to preserve the world for future generations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, philosophy, and Jewish thought from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and a diploma in mediation. Noa has a daughter, and lives in Ofer, in the heart of the Carmel.
Wafaa Khateeb Jamool is a personal and group vision coach and facilitates groups for enhancing empowerment, leadership, and life skills. She is also a co-founder of a nonprofit organization for the advancement of Druze women, has developed training programs for developing personal visions of youth in the Arab sector; and volunteers in organizations for social change. Wafaa wants to build a society that produces leaders with values and vision, who are guided by the principle of equal opportunities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education and comparative Hebrew literature from the University of Haifa. Wafaa has three daughters, and lives in Yarka.
Roni Koch is the director of the Kfar Tavor community center, which is affiliated with the Israel Association of Community Centers. As part of her job, she leads community development programs with activists and volunteers. Roni wants to develop regional discourse and collaboration, based on a belief that it is possible to accomplish more by working together. Roni holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and tourism from Bar-Ilan University, and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from the master’s program in local government at the University of Haifa. She is a mother of three, and lives in Sharona, an agricultural settlement in the Lower Galilee.
Maya Layton develops regional economic development projects that involve public institutions and businesses, as the head of business and entrepreneurship at the Ma’avarim Ba’emek Community Employment and Business Center. She is leading an initiative to establish an entrepreneurship and innovation center and an entrepreneurship accelerator for community, agricultural, and technological enterprises. This initiative also aims to partner with educational frameworks, in order to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in schools. A group facilitator and mediator, Maya holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminology from Bar-Ilan University, and a master’s degree in organizational consulting from the College of Management – Academic Studies. Maya is a mother of three, and lives on Kibbutz Gazit.
Shirly Marom is active in a number of coexistence initiatives (BeingPeace, Engaged Dharma, helping Arab farmers with olive harvests, and Sea Days for Palestinian children). She is a butoh dancer (avant-garde Japanese dance), and initiates and produces cultural events, including the Sheikh Abrikh Festival for Civil Culture, which was held in Tivon in April 2017. Shirly wants to continue promoting creative communal activity. She initiates and produces cultural activities, including Book Week and Aliya Project activities in Tivon. Shirly holds a bachelor’s degree in generative linguistics, and a master’s degree in documenting endangered languages, and she worked for many years as a freelance translator and editor. She lives in Tivon.
Yiftach Ori serves in an operational police unit that deals with serious crime in Jerusalem. With 270 police officers, the unit works in the fields of intelligence, investigations, and minorities. Yiftach has served in the Israel Police for 24 years, during which time he has commanded several units and set up Jerusalem's Municipal Policing Unit, which is responsible for liaising between the Jerusalem municipality and the police force. Since 2010 he has led a project in which police mentor children under the auspices of "Rachel's Center," which provides children from disadvantaged neighborhoods with academic and social support. Yiftach aims to lead social projects that will improve police services to civilians and help youth at risk. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies and history from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and a master’s degree in diplomacy and security from Tel Aviv University. Yiftach is married and a father of four, and lives in Modi’in.
Idit Segev is a group facilitator and professional mentor who accompanies social processes and provides guidance to groups of volunteers. In the past, she coordinated the “Nigun Halev” congregation, a regional center for secular Jews, and established “Blossoming: Women’s Content Encounters.” Idit works with young immigrant women and guides groups of entrepreneurs who are designing a digital museum of the Ethiopian-Israeli community in Migdal Haemek. Idit also develops programs designed to develop consciousness, such as "simple speech" and "let's talk openly." She holds a master's degree from Boston University in managing cultural institutions. Idit is a mother of two.
Meira Tsur has two decades of experience in senior managerial positions in the private sector. She is the founder of a community environmental social enterprise called “Back Yard—Garage Sale,” established in her family’s old cowsheds in the agricultural settlement of Tzippori, which connects objects that have their own stories with people who care about the environment and society. Meira’s personal vision is to develop and promote sustainability in the region. She is an active member of the community of Tzippori, and a member of the nonprofit NAALEH – People Helping People in Natzrat Illit. Meira holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and management from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She is a mother of two, and lives in Tzippori.
Hatim Yassim is director general of the Arraba municipality, where he is responsible for managing all the municipality’s divisions and employees. Hatim wants to develop the city into a flourishing commercial, social, and cultural hub, marked by innovation, creativity, and pluralism. In particular, he wishes to ensure the provision of high-quality education that meets the needs of all students. Hatim holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He a father of three, and lives in Arraba.
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