Shmuel Aaronson teaches "Shelach" (a Hebrew acronym for Field, Nature, and Society) at the Goldwater high school in Eilat and is a counselor at the Zviya yeshiva. He has seven years’ experience of working with youth at risk, having directed field work at the "Hebrew Shepherd" initiative, an educational-therapeutic program for “hilltop youth” in the West Bank. In that capacity, he coordinated field work of volunteers and counselors, and liaised with parents and with education and social welfare officials. Shmuel is a certified instructor of rappelling, scuba diving, horse riding, and sailing. In his spare time, he volunteers with Magen David Adom and the Eilat-Eilot Rescue Service. Shmuel holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminology from Ariel University.
Omer Armoza is the operations manager at the Dolphin Reef in Eilat and is a member of its management forum. In his previous jobs at the Reef, he conducted educational programs on management and environmental issues, and worked as a dolphin trainer. Omer is involved in efforts to create an ecological cross-border tourism project in partnership with the Jordanian village of Rahma. He is also working to introduce alternative educational approaches into schools in the Eilot region. Omer holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Open University.
Yaniv Belhassen is a senior faculty member at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Eilat Campus. His fields of expertise are the behavioral, social, managerial, and environmental aspects of tourism and leisure as consumer activities, as service industries in the local and global marketplace, and as areas of knowledge in institutions of higher education and in professional training schools. In recent years, Yaniv’s work in the public sphere has included serving as a member of the steering committee of the Combatants for Peace NGO and as the coordinator of its Tel Aviv-Tulkarm groups; acting and writing in the "Legislative Theater" project together with asylum seekers at the Holot detention center; and participating in a project to promote ecological cross-border tourism between the Jordanian and Israeli sides of the Arava Valley.
Anat Ben Moshe is one of the founders of the Unit for Patient Safety and Risk Management established at Yoseftal Medical Center in 2009. She currently also coordinates the hospital's quality assurance. Previously, Anat was the culture coordinator at Kibbutz Eilot. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Tel-Aviv University and a master’s degree in nursing from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Ofra Boaron is the director of the Eilat municipality's Youth Division and Training Center, which is part of the city’s community center network. She leads projects and runs the division’s training, facilitation, and human capital development activities. Previously, Ofra directed the Youth Promotion Unit of the Eilat Community Center Network, which provides services to disconnected youth and integrates them into society. Ofra holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from Levinsky College of Education, and a master’s degree in management and conflict resolution from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Aya Feuchtvanger is one of the founders of the Arava-Paran pre-military academy, where she mentors a team of counselors and runs community engagement activities. An occupational therapist and group facilitator by training, Aya works in the field of child development at the Hevel Eilot psychological center. Previously, she served as an occupational therapist at the Eilat Child Development Institute. Aya is also a swimming instructor for children and women. She holds a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Haifa University.
Sarit Goren is the director of the Be'er Ora pre-military academy (“mechina”), where she is responsible for curricula, volunteering programs, counselors, and enrichment programs. She also mentors national service coordinators for one of the organizations coordinating national civilian service programs as an alternative to military service. Previously, Sarit worked for the Eilat municipal social services department as a social worker for at-risk teenage girls. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in social work from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Hanit Guli is the founder of The Mud House Theater in Eilat, a playwright, and a director. Previously, she was a community coordinator for the non-profit organizations Tor HaMidbar and Community Incubator, where she worked to promote social and ecological enterprises in Eilat. Hanit is a member of Women Wage Peace and of the Marak Levinsky soup kitchen for the needy in Eilat, which provides food to all, regardless of gender, race, or religion. She holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities and communications from Bar-Ilan University, and a master’s degree in theater from Tel Aviv University.
Sharon Helfenbaum is responsible for the development and implementation of Isrotel’s strategic support processes. She creates and oversees all of the chain’s training and development programs, including management of the Isrotel College, and manages training budgets. Previously, Sharon was the commercial manager of King's City, a tourist attraction in Eilat, and was a director of the Eilat Harbor Beach Development Corporation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in hotel management and tourism, and a master’s degree in public administration and policy, both from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Sharon is also certified in organizational consulting and group facilitation and in payroll accounting, and is certified as a corporate director of the Ben-Gurion University Eilat Campus.
Avichai Jackson is a counselor at Susan’s House, a rehabilitative employment framework, and is the director of sales and marketing for the craft products made by the at-risk youth who work there. He also volunteers as a family counselor for the Paamonim non-profit organization, which promotes financial responsibility, and is the Eilat coordinator for "Rebooks," a chain of second-hand book stands that provide employment rehabilitation for people with mental health disabilities. Avichai is developing a cooperative housing project that aims to transform old buildings in Eilat into institutions that combine housing with tourist accommodation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the College of Management Academic Studies, and a teaching certificate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Orgal Kadoshi Shmuel is the higher education and student coordinator for the "Achievements" program at the Eilat Center for Young Adults, part of a nationwide program to make higher education more accessible to people aged 18–35 in Israel’s periphery. She is also the municipal leader of a pilot program for public participation, conducted under the auspices of 360° – The National Program for Children and Youth at Risk. Orgal volunteers with a "Street Address" mobile unit that locates youth at risk and youth living on the streets, and has previously worked as an English teacher in the public education system. She holds a bachelor’s degree in special education and literature from Levinsky College of Education, and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary democracy studies with a specialization in public policy from the Open University.
Ayelet Kojec Holzer is the director of the department of education at the Hevel Eilot regional council, where she is responsible for kindergartens and elementary schools, and for advancing processes in formal education. Previously, she was the manager of Crystal Vision, a company that belongs to Kibbutz Samar, and served as the general secretary of the kibbutz. Ayelet holds a bachelor’s degree and a teaching diploma in Hebrew literature and Jewish philosophy, both from Oranim Academic College of Education.
Rami Lev is the founder and principal of the Branco Weiss High School for At-Risk Youth in Eilat, which has been operating for some five years. Previously, he was the Eilat Cluster director for Or Shalom, a non-profit organization that cares for at-risk children and youth who have been removed from their family home by court order. He has also worked as a coordinator at a residential facility in Jerusalem for youth released from psychiatric hospitals. Rami holds a bachelor’s degree in education and teaching from The David Yellin Academic College of Education, and a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Yael Malka is the director of the Department for Individual Care and Special Education in the Eilat municipal education division. She also lectures at Levinsky College of Education on school management and individual-focused interventions. Previously, she founded the first hostel for at-risk teenage girls in Eilat, and worked in management positions for the Isrotel hotel chain. Yael holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science and a master’s degree in public administration and education policy, both from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Moran Nahmias is a career development counselor and coordinator for the Eilat municipality’s Department of Young Adults and Human Capital. She provides employment counseling, support, and guidance to the city’s residents, and conducts forums, workshops, and community events on employment issues. Moran is also developing a municipal plan to promote employment for people with disabilities and has volunteered at a center for Holocaust survivors in Eilat for more than four years. Moran holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and public communications from Ashkelon Academic College, and a master’s degree in democracy, government and public policy from the Open University.
Edi Pinto is a hotel manager who is currently the general manager of Isrotel's Royal Beach Hotel in Eilat. He has managed many other hotels in the Eilat region, including the King Solomon, the Royal Garden, Agamim, Laguna, and more. Edi is a member of the volunteer board of Enosh–The Israeli Mental Health Association, and runs the Isrotel Hotel Chain’s community philanthropy fund. He holds a bachelor’s degree in tourism business administration.
For the last five years, Racheli Regev has been the Eilat and Arava regional director for Access Israel, a non-profit organization that promotes accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities and the elderly. Previously, she directed various programs for Shema, a non-profit organization for the advancement of children and youth with hearing loss. Racheli is a licensed service accessibility expert, and holds a bachelor’s degree in social science from Bar-Ilan University, and a master’s degree in business administration from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
For the last ten years, Marlen Rosenfeld has served as an assistant to the mayor of Eilat, and has been his advisor on women’s advancement. She has also been a director on the boards of several municipal corporations. Marlene has created and developed various women’s projects in Eilat, including a program to fund academic studies for single mothers, and was recently appointed to establish and direct Eilat’s Economic Development Unit. Marlene holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Sapir College, and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Yuval Hodaya Shlomi Yalovski is a leading informal education professional at Kibbutz Samar and a member of the kibbutz's secretariat. Previously, she directed a school for children of Sudanese refugees in Eilot, and ran the Neve Eyal residential facility for young people and adults released from psychiatric hospitals. Yuval was a founder of a regional parents’ forum to promote educational alternatives in the school system, and participates in a laboratory for educational and community innovation in Hevel Eilot. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the Kibbutzim College of Education.
Shir Spektorman is a coordinator of the Eilat and Hevel Eilot region for the Diller Teen Fellows – an international leadership development program for Jewish youth. She has studied political communications, and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Middle Eastern and African history, and a master’s degree in contemporary Middle Eastern studies, both from Tel Aviv University.
Jamal Alkirnawi is the founder and executive director of “A New Dawn,” a community-based Bedouin-Jewish organization that focuses on education, employment, and leadership for Bedouin youth and young adults in the Negev. The organization aspires to further a shared society based on the values of equality, entrepreneurship, and communal action. Previously, Jamal worked for professional and civil society organizations in the Negev as a community organizer and social worker. He also worked for “Shatil” (the New Israel Fund's initiative for social change), was a community advocate, and was the academic counselor to Arab students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Jamal holds a bachelor’s degree in health systems management from Ben-Gurion University, a master’s degree in social work from McGill University in Canada, and an MBA from the Mandel Social Leadership Program at Ben-Gurion University. He lives in Rahat.
Tahreer Alzbede is a member of the “Artist in the Community” project at the Community Center in the Bedouin town of Hura. An active artist, Tahreer shows her work at joint exhibitions with groups of artists from the Negev. In the past, she has worked as an occupational rehabilitation counselor for people with mental health disabilities, as an art therapist for deaf children, and as an art teacher. Tahreer holds a bachelor’s degree in art history, with a minor in Arabic culture and language, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and lives in Ar’arat an-Naqab.
Ayelet Bar-El Avisar is the CEO of the Beer Sheva Theater for Children and Youth. Previously, she served as the spokesperson for the Beer Sheva Theater for six years, while also serving as marketing director of Beer Sheva’s Fringe Theatre. After concluding her work with the Fringe Theatre, Ayelet established a public relations office specializing in cultural institutions in the Negev. She holds a bachelor’s degree in culture, art and production from Sapir College, and is a graduate of acting studies at the Goodman School of Acting in the Negev. She lives in Beer Sheva.
Shiri Bar-On is a filmmaker, educator, and cultural entrepreneur. She films and directs documentaries, and teaches cinema, filmmaking, photography, and movement and dance in various settings. Shiri is the content manager and director of “CineMakhtesh,” which runs creative workshops, screens films, and hosts meetings with artists in the performance hall of the Mitzpe Ramon Community Center. Previously, Shiri was a dancer with Liat Dror and Nir Ben Gal’s Dance Company, and taught dance at the Hangar Adama choreography and movement school. A resident of Mitzpe Ramon, she holds a bachelor’s degree in photography and art from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is completing her master’s degree in film studies at Sapir College.
Efrat Baruchi is a designer and development manager at a project management company, where she is involved in manufacturing and international marketing. For the last 20 years, she has been a part of shaping the renewed community of Moshav Klahim and has been involved in developing cultural and community initiatives in the northern Negev. Efrat holds a bachelor's degree in jewelry and fashion design from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in art history and curatorship from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She lives on Moshav Klahim in the western Negev.
Sivan Cohen initiates and cultivates original local art. She relocated from northern Israel to the south in order to create and develop infrastructure for artists and creators in the Negev. Sivan initiates and develops original, local, creative projects in the city of Netivot. She is the director of "HaMakom" (The Place), a cultural and culinary center that celebrates the heritage of North African Jewry, and is the founder and director of the Netivot Festival of Israeli Folklore in the Negev. Sivan is also the director of the forum for local artists and creators in Netivot and works to increase the accessibility of art and culture in the public sphere. She holds a bachelor’s degree in film and animation and a master’s degree in public administration and policy from Sapir College, and lives on Kibbutz Ruhama in the western Negev.
Elinor Cohen is a freelance photography and video instructor for youth in special education. She develops art projects with communities in Beer Sheva and Rahat, and is currently working to make rights accessible to people with mental health disabilities, as part of the Ruderman Foundation’s Link20 program. Elinor lectures on photography and is a community artist, working in photography, painting, music, dance, cinema, and public sculpture. Previously, she was involved in training and project management for special populations, including people with mental health disabilities, vulnerable populations, and children and youth at risk. Elinor holds a bachelor’s degree in creative communication and photographic engineering from Sapir College. A graduate of the “Art in the Community” residency program at Shenkar College, she lives in Beer Sheva.
Yaniv Giladi is a professional voice over talent, radio entrepreneur, and voice instructor. He established the Community Digital Radio Project in Ramat Hanegev, and provides support to educational institutions and local authorities in the Negev that wish to develop radio initiatives. Yaniv has held broadcasting and content positions at Radio 99, Yedioth Ahronoth, and Walla! News, and was one of the senior radio broadcasters of the main current-affairs program “Good Morning South.” Yaniv develops and runs unique voice training workshops and his voice can be heard in various television and radio advertisements. A graduate of the Radio Tel Aviv College and the Channel 13 television school, he lives on Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh in the Negev.
Mor Hanay is a film director and screenwriter. She is the artistic director and initiator of the Beer Sheva Short Film Festival, founded and run in cooperation with the Beer Sheva municipality, the Negev Development Authority, and Cinema City. Mor is also the founder and CEO of the Negev Film Foundation, which was founded to create and promote cinema in the Negev. Her short film The Update was screened in local and international film festivals, winning the best short film award at the Utopia Festival in Tel Aviv and the best screenplay award at the Early Bird Festival in Bulgaria. Mor holds a bachelor’s degree in cinematography studies from Sapir College.
Alex Katzenelson is the manager of Pub 40 at Kibbutz Tlalim, a branch of the Ramat HaNegev Center for Young Adults that serves as a space for cultural and artistic encounters. He is currently in the process of reopening the information center of the Ramat HaNegev Regional Council, which will serve as a resource for tourism, settlement, and cultural development in the Negev region, and will tell the story of the history and heritage of the Negev’s residents. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from Tel-Hai College and is a graduate of the first cohort of the Rothschild Ambassadors program. He lives on Kibbutz Tlalim in the northern Negev.
Michal Liptscher develops and produces cultural and artistic events in the public sphere on a freelance basis. Her recent projects have included the “40 + 08” project; “Color in the Old City,” a project in which a group of local artists creates murals on the streets of Beer Sheva’s Old City; and the “Street Games” project, a series of large-scale intellectually challenging games that have been made from wood and installed in public areas. Michal also teaches in the StudioLab program, a laboratory for active citizenship, for which she also coordinates teacher training courses at Sapir College. She is also involved in developing “placemaking” projects in high schools throughout the Negev, and works as an independent graphic designer. Previously, she took part in the “Redline” residency program. Michal is a graduate of the Department of Visual Communication at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, and lives in Beer Sheva.
Nuriel Shabat directs the Beer Sheva Youth Center, a home for local artists run by Kivunim, the municipal company for recreational culture in Beer Sheva. As part of his work at the Center, Nuriel leads “Bouras,” a new arts initiative providing a platform for independent artists. He served as a singer and musician in the IDF Southern Command Military Band, and has been involved in content production and logistics for various events and productions in Beer Sheva, including the Smilansky Festival, the Beer Festival, the Wine Festival, and many more. Nuriel has also worked in the Young Adults Department of the Beer Sheva municipality as a creative coordinator, while also serving as the musical director of the municipality's Beer Sheva Youth Band. He has a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and the humanities from the Open University, and lives in Beer Sheva.
Hadassa Yitshak Shareth is a social entrepreneur who uses art and design as tools for social change. The founder and director of the Zuak Studio for Moroccan Art and Design, she studied art in Morocco and was then inspired to develop a unique technique for bringing the art of Islam to the public. The Zuak studio develops connections between the periphery and the center, between East and West, between Judaism and Islam, and between culture and art and space and place. Hadassa also facilitates groups on identity and student leadership at the Yeruham Center for Young Adults. A resident of Yeruham, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Israel studies and Hebrew literature from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Ofra Yizhaq trains kindergarten teachers in the Arab-Bedouin community of the Negev in art education and developing creative thinking. A painter and drawer, she teaches after-school classes in painting and drawing for children and youth, as well as art classes for adults. She also designs spaces in educational institutions. Ofra is the owner of the “Sfat Midbar” art studio at Midreshet Ben-Gurion and leads creative arts workshops at the studio and in outdoors settings. In recent years, she has helped lead projects to improve aesthetics in Arab-Bedouin educational institutions, under the aegis of the “Desert Stars” nonprofit. Ofra was born in the Negev and lives at Midreshet Ben-Gurion.
Alaa Abu Aiysh is the director of the Authority for Combating Violence, Drugs and Alcohol in Lakiya. She facilitates groups on safety for children and youth in high schools. She is also a social activist raising awareness about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol among youth in the Bedouin community. Alaa holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Ashkelon College. She is married with one child, and lives in Kseifa.
Amin Abu Sayah is the director of the Kseifa Local Council's youth department. In this capacity, he oversees informal education and cultural education in Kseifa and the surrounding region. A social activist and educator, Amin holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and a master’s degree in organizational consulting from Ono Academic College. He lives in Al-Fur'a.
Abed Abu-Arar is the national director of the volunteer network of AJEEC-NISPED (the Arab-Jewish Center for Empowerment, Equality, and Cooperation / the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development). Previously, he was a member of the founding team of the AMAL technological high school in Arara BaNegev, where he taught Hebrew, and was principal of the Dror high school in Ramla. A graduate of Avney Rosha – The Israel Institute for School Leadership, Abed holds a bachelor’s degree in literature and history of the Jewish people and in special education from Sapir College, and a master’s degree in educational management and administration from the Center for Academic Studies in Or Yehuda. He is married and a father of four, and lives in Arara BaNegev.
Kamal Abu-Haduba is the principal of the elementary and junior high schools in Abu Talul, and is also a social activist and member of the Abu Talul local council. Kamal holds master’s degrees in management and conflict resolution, in educational counseling, and in educational management, all from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is a graduate of Avney Rosha – The Israel Institute for School Leadership, and lives in Abu Talul.
Amir Al-Amuor is a special education coordinator for schools on behalf of the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Regional Support Center in Hura. He also serves as a volunteer ambulance driver and medic for Magen David Adom. Amir holds a bachelor’s degree in education, with a concentration in special education, from the Kaye Academic College of Education, and a master’s degree in managerial consulting from Ono Academic College. He is married and a father of three, and lives in Kseifa.
Ali Al-Anami is the director of Pre-Primary Education of the Neveh Midbar Regional Council and chairman of the council’s workers’ union. He has taught in various public schools, and is a graduate of Avney Rosha – The Israel Institute for School Leadership. Ali holds a master’s degree in management and conflict resolution from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Married and a father of five, he lives in Abu Qrinat.
Kefah Alsaid is the principal of the ORT technological high school in Alsaid. A local social activist and volunteer, she develops informal education projects at the Multidisciplinary Center for Youth and Young Adults in Alsaid, including leadership programs, employment guidance, Hebrew language training, and more. Kefah holds a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew literature from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and a master’s degree in public administration and public policy from Sapir College. Married and a mother of two, she lives in Hura.
Farhan Alsana is a physician and head of the Southern District Health Bureau of the Ministry of Health. He works to promote health in the Negev, with an emphasis on the Negev’s Bedouin population. Farhan is a member of various health committees of the Ministry of Health. He is the chairman of the Committee of Southern District Physicians of the Organization of State-Employed Physicians, a member of the Israel Medical Association, and a member of the Association of Public Health Physicians. Farhan is co-author of numerous medical articles and works in clinical medicine as a family physician. A graduate of the University of Bologna, Italy, he is a public health expert with a master’s degree in public health from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is married and a father of six, and lives in Lakiya.
Mohamed Alshiech is an educational psychologist for the Tel Sheva Educational Psychology Service, and provides psychological services to elementary schools and kindergartens. He is the founder and director of the Shams Center for Educational Diagnosis and Treatment, which serves school students in Tel Sheva and neighboring communities, and provides social and emotional support workshops for adults in the area. He is also the co-founder and deputy director of Alnabras, a nonprofit organization for the advancement of education and mental health in the Bedouin sector in the Negev. Mohamed holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Moscow and a master’s degree in social and occupational psychology from Kazan Federal University, and is a graduate of the PresenTense program for social enterprise management. He was born in Tel Sheva, where he lives today.
Rihab Azbarga is a civics teacher at the Alnoor high school in Rahat. Previously, she worked in informal education at the Arara BaNegev community center, and provided health training on behalf of various organizations promoting public health in Bedouin society. Rihab holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology, and a teaching diploma from the Teach First Israel program. She lives in Kseifa.
Shefa Elhwashla teaches English at the Abu Talul high school, where she also coordinates a program to prepare gifted youth for academia, and serves as the advisor for the student council. She is a social activist in education and a member of the "Go Public" community. Shefa is also a member of a community for the development of effective communication and public speaking. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English teaching from Achva College, and lives in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al-Rarah.
Salamah Ibn Khzahel is a teacher and a coordinator of social education and career education at the high school in Bir Hadaj. He is also the local director of the “City without Violence” program and local coordinator of the Anti-Drug Authority for the Neve Midbar Regional Council. Salama is also a community activist and a volunteer medic for Magen David Adom. He holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities and social sciences from Sapir College, and a master’s degree in organizational consulting from Ono Academic College. Married and a father of four, Salamah lives in Bir Hadaj.
Walaa Khaliliha lectures and leads therapeutic workshops for personal empowerment through drama, culture, education, and teaching. She is in her second year of the Teach First Israel program, where she is in the language teaching track. As part of the program, she is working as a language teacher in an elementary school. Walaa is the deputy director of the Jordanian poets’ association, and is a social activist in the field of culture and education. Previously, she coordinated and ran shelters for youth at risk. Walaa holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Al-Balqa' Applied University in Jordan.
Abed Maabdeh teaches geography and computer science and is a coordinator at the Al-Resala elementary school in Tel Sheva. He also serves as an instructor in a Ministry of Education project designed to encourage excellence in science and computer studies. Abed holds a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is married and lives in Al-Fur’a.
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