Fellows


Yosra Abu Kaf

Yosra Abu Kaf

Multidisciplinary Artist and Activist

Yosra Abu Kaf is an artist and video artist whose work focuses on gender issues in Bedouin society. Her video work Silence was exhibited at a museum in Amsterdam. Previously, she was coordinator of culture and art for the Al-Kasum regional council, in which capacity she was responsible for cultural services and activities and developed cultural programs for the Bedouin community. Yosra was also the coordinator of transportation and education for unrecognized Bedouin villages at the Al-Kasum regional council, and managed its photo archive. She has coordinated and taught photography classes for women and children under the auspices of the Forum for Coexistence in the Negev. Yosra holds a bachelor’s degree in art and culture from Sapir College. She lives in Umm Batin, located in the Al-Kasum regional council.


Abed Alftah Abo Alhon

Abed Alftah Abo Alhon

Director, Musician, and Community Project Entrepreneur

Abed Alftah Abo Alhon is a theater and movie director and musician. He develops community cultural projects with the aim of promoting the production and consumption of innovative culture. Abed founded the community theater and children’s theater of the Hura local council. He is in charge of culture in the Hura local council, in which capacity he encourages cultural creativity and the consumption of culture and art in the community. Abed teaches theater and film at schools throughout the Negev. He is also a musician-activist, who writes songs in Arabic on local and universal themes in a unique style of music that combines diverse global influences. Abed lives in Hura.


Lital Amsellem-Uzan

Lital Amsellem-Uzan

Director, Arts and Culture Department, Eshkol Regional Council

Lital Amsellem-Uzan heads the arts and culture department of the community center of the Eshkol regional council. She bases her work on the belief that culture builds community, strengthens local resilience, and creates bonds between communities and generations, making it possible to establish common ground while maintaining their unique characteristics. Previously, she directed the social projects at Sapir College’s Community Engagement Unit. Lital holds a bachelor’s degree in culture, arts and production, with a specialization in child culture and communication, from Sapir College. She lives in Kibbutz Reim.


Oren Atias

Oren Atias

Actor and Director, Beer Sheva Fringe Theater

Oren Atias is an actor and stage director who works at the Fringe Theater in Beer Sheva and in various community frameworks. He also teaches theater in high school, and teaches improvisation, playback, and drama at the Goodman Theater and Acting School of the Negev, at theaters in Beer Sheva, and in other settings. Oren was awarded the National Education Prize for directing the play A-li-mut (Vi-o-lence). Previously, he worked as a volunteer at the Keshev Lanoar daycare center for youth at risk; at HaOgen Hakehilati (“The Community Anchor”), and with prisoners undergoing rehabilitation at the Dekel prison in Beer Sheva. Oren is a graduate of the Goodman Theater and Acting School of the Negev. He lives in Beer Sheva.


Tehila Azulay-Shaul

Tehila Azulay-Shaul

Artist, Writer, and Actor

Tehila Azulay-Shaul is a playwright and actor in the field of documentary-activist-social theater, whose work focuses mainly on silenced populations such as women who have suffered violence and Haredi women. Her works include Hupa, A Worthy Goal, Fragments, Rising Up from the Desert, and Contraction. She was one of the co-authors of Murder by Consent, a play in which she also acted, which examines gender violence and femicide and was first performed at the 2021 Fringe Theater Festival in Akko, garnered plaudits, and went on to tour Israel. Her play Closing Accounts, examines our emotional ties to money based on a series of interviews. It opened at the Tribuna Festival at Tel Aviv University and continues to be performed throughout Israel. Tehila is the founder of the Hashahar Theater for young people from the Ethiopian community, which seeks to alter the representations of Ethiopian Israelis. She is also one of the co-creators of the shows Warm.Home and Playing with Fire. Tehila took part in the #IWasThere project, directed by Maya Buenos. Her solo show Hupa won an honorable mention at the Small Bama theater festival. Tehila serves as artistic consultant to theater productions in schools in Yeruham and around the country, and also hosts beit midrash events for artists. She writes poetry and publishes it in various periodicals and on social media, runs writing workshops, and coordinates spoken word events. Tehila holds a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in theater studies and a master’s degree in art in the actor-creator-researcher track, both at Tel Aviv University. She lives in Eliav in the Lachish region.


Amit Bar-Am

Amit Bar-Am

Cultural Entrepreneur, Actor, Director, and Theater Producer

Amit Bar-Am develops multicultural projects with local artists from the Arava region in the Negev. He founded the Raayon Theater (“Idea Theater”), which brings high-quality cultural content to young children. In this context, he developed Limpopo, a dance theater show for children, produced puppet shows, and recorded “Menagnim Sipurim” (“Playing Stories”), a musical podcast for children. Previously, he was a member of the Clipa visual theater ensemble, and appeared in fringe theater productions at theaters and festivals in Israel and around the world. Amit is a graduate of the Nissan Nativ Acting Studio and the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, and studied screenwriting at Stage Center in Tel Aviv. He lives in Moshav Hatzeva in the Arava desert.


Sofie Berzon Mackie

Sofie Berzon Mackie

Visual Artist and Curator

Sofie Berzon MacKie is assistant curator and curator of photography at the Be’eri Gallery for Contemporary Art. Her artwork has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Israel and around the world, and can be found in private collections in Israel and abroad. Her work and texts have also been published in magazines, catalogues, newspapers, and blogs in multiple countries. In 2020 Sofie was shortlisted to Arte Laguna Art Prize #14 and exhibited in Venice. She also exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts summer exhibition in London in 2020 and 2021. Her work received honorary mention in the International Photography Awards in 2010, 2018, and 2020. Sofie studied photography at the Technion School of Photography in Haifa and at Camera Obscura School of Art in Tel Aviv. She also studied curatorship at the Kalisher International Program for Curatorial Studies at the Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts. Sofie is a member of Israel Curators Union. She lives and works in Kibbutz Be'eri in the Gaza border communities.


Miron Ginzburg

Miron Ginzburg

Deputy Director, Elad Theater

Miron Ginzburg has worked at the Elad Theater of Eilat and the Arava since 2015. The theater is one of the most unique and creative theaters in Israel’s contemporary arts scene. It comprises actors and professionals from the Habima and Cameri theaters in Tel Aviv who have left successful careers in the center of the country and moved to the Eilat-Eilot region with their families, in order to transform the southern tip of Israel into a trailblazing center of culture. In her work at the theater, Miron works to advance this goal, which is based on the premise that investing in culture is the most powerful engine for developing employment, education, the economy, and demography of Israel’s periphery. She lives in Kibbutz Eilot.


Ami Lamdan

Ami Lamdan

Project Manager, Rahat Development, Western Negev Regional Cluster

Ami Lamdan is a project manager for the Western Negev Regional Cluster, who is responsible for promoting Rahat as a special metropolis and major engine of growth in the Western Negev. In this capacity, he creates and advances projects in Rahat in the fields of tourism, business, education, and municipal affairs, in cooperation with the Rahat Economic Development Corporation, the city’s community centers, and the mayor. These projects aim to develop the city and position it as a social, cultural, and economic center in the Negev. Ami is the founder of the Tziorim Gallery in Kibbutz Urim, the first local gallery in the western Negev, which has been open for three decades and provides a platform for local artists and Negev artists in general. He also sings in the National Kibbutz Choir. Previously, he managed companies in the fields of plastics and security. Ami holds a bachelor’s degree in theater and philosophy from Tel Aviv University, and has completed training courses in business administration, senior financial management, and operations management. He lives on Kibbutz Urim in the Eshkol regional council.


Yoav Meir

Yoav Meir

Fashion Designer, Social Media Influencer, and LGBT Activist

Yoav Meir is an independent fashion designer and a curator of fashion exhibitions that promote social values such as diversity, acceptance, and positive body image. He hosts television programs on arts and design, mainly to a young audience. For the last 15 years, Yoav has volunteered with Hoshen, the education and advocacy arm of the LGBT movement in Israel. He also volunteers and organizes community activities such as fundraising fashion fairs at the Pride House in Beer Sheva. He also currently serves as LGBT coordinator for the Bnei Shimon regional council, and is a fashion correspondent for the Yisrael Hayom newspaper. Yoav holds a bachelor’s degree in fashion design from Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, and a master’s degree in media studies from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He lives in Beer Sheva.


Dani Roy-Shapira

Dani Roy-Shapira

Cultural Entrepreneur, Actor, and Musician

Dani Roy-Shapira is an actor and musician at the Beer Sheva Theater and the Dimona Theater. He also creates and produces diverse cultural events with particular focus on the Old City of Beer Sheva, such as “Dani Roy-Shapira’s Over-the-Top Fashion Ball,” which aims to display the diversity and cosmopolitan character of the Old City via a glittering showcase event. Dani is a co-founder of Kometz, a minimalistic theater based on reading plays around a table. In the past, he was the drummer in the punk band Tsenzura. Dani is a graduate of the Goodman Theater and Acting School of the Negev. He lives in Beer Sheva.


Sara Shehda

Sara Shehda

Artist, Photographer, and Photography and Art Teacher

Sara Shehda is an artist and owner of a multidisciplinary photography studio, whose works have featured in many photography exhibitions throughout Israel. Her work focuses on issues of identity and on violence against women in Bedouin Arab society. Sara teaches photography and art at high schools in the Kseifa local council and at an elementary school in the Ar’ara BaNegev local council. Previously, she taught art in preschools in Kseifa. Sara holds a bachelor’s degree in art from Kaye Academic College of Education, and is a graduate of photography course at the Technion. She lives in Arad.


Nikolas Smirnov

Nikolas Smirnov

Photographer, Photography Teacher, and Director of the Art Spot Photography Center

Nikolas Smirnov is a professional photographer and the director of the ArtSpot studio and photography school in Beer Sheva. He teaches photography at various colleges and in the Masa project for new immigrants. Nikolas founded the Third Eye photography club in Beer Sheva, which provides a framework for shared learning and collaboration among photographers from Beer Sheva and the region. He also promotes exhibitions, lectures, and meet-the-artist events for Negev residents. Nikolas is an artistic photographer who has shown his works at a range of exhibitions in Israel and around the world. He also produces marketing and public image videos for companies and institutions, and provides product and architecture photography. Nikolas holds a bachelor’s degree in art from the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. He lives in Beer Sheva.


Yaar Teichberg Katz

Yaar Teichberg Katz

Multidisciplinary Designer, Artist, and Project Manager

Yaar Teichberg Katz is a multidisciplinary designer who has a strong passion for projects dealing with multiculturalism and social mobility. She is the co-founder of a thrift store in Kibbutz Gal-On that donates all its income to young women at risk. She also teaches sewing and sustainable fashion, and leads community projects on a voluntary basis. Yaar believes in the power of art to penetrate the heart of every person and create change in Israeli society. She recently finished building a program for social entrepreneurship in collaboration with TLI – Triumph Leadership Innovation, and is interested in developing programs that combine art, culture, and education in order to foster pluralism. Yaar holds a bachelor's degree in industrial design from the Holon Institute of Technology (HIT) and a teaching certificate in art from the Kerem Institute in Jerusalem. Yaar lives in Kibbutz Gal-On.


Hila Zensker Paz

Hila Zensker Paz

Director, Genesis Center for Promoting Gender Equality

Hila Zensker Paz is the director of the Genesis Center for Promoting Gender Equality. Previously, she served for a decade as the director of the education department of the Beer Sheva Theater and the Center for Excellence in Theater in Beer Sheva. A project manager and event producer, Hila initiated and managed various community and educational projects for diverse populations over the years. She was the content director of the Cultural Accelerator, where she provided professional support to help entrepreneurs implement cultural projects, and was one of the founders of Beer Sheva’s Children and Youth Theater. Hila also directed the dance program of the Bikurey HaItim performing arts center in Tel Aviv and of the Re'im Center for Dance and Movement in Holon, and was the producer and administrative manager of the Fresco dance company. Hila holds a bachelor’s degree in education and dance teaching from the Kibbutzim College of Education, and a master’s degree in management, specializing in non-profit management, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She lives in Kibbutz Dvir.


 

Attorney Hagar Almagor Wachsman

Attorney Hagar Almagor Wachsman

Head of the Office of the Southern District Commander, Israel Police

Attorney Hagar Almagor Wachsman heads the office of the southern district commander of the Israel Police. Previously, she was a legal advisor to the Ashkelon police and was a criminal prosecutor. Hagar has been involved in educational work with youth throughout most of her life, in the Bnei Hamoshavim youth movement, in developing training materials, and in informal education. She was also a Jewish Agency educational emissary to the United States. Hagar holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the Academic Center for Law and Science, and a master’s degree in law from Bar-Ilan University. After completing her law degree, she clerked at the Beer Sheva District Court. Hagar is a member of Kibbutz Or HaNer in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.


Yaniv Alush

Yaniv Alush

Head of R&D and Operations in Israel, Hazera – Limagrain

Yaniv Alush is head of research and development and operations in Israel for at the agricultural company Hazera – Limagrain. In this capacity, runs Israel’s largest agricultural farms for the development of hybrid strains. He leads a community initiative in the Gaza border region that deploys adult and youth volunteers to help organize and run key events in the life of the community, and to increase community resilience in the region. In addition, he heads the social responsibility and involvement activities in his community. Yaniv holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the department of management at Bar-Ilan University. He lives in Shokeda, a moshav in the Sdot Negev Regional Council.


Yossi Dahari

Yossi Dahari

Director, Hof Ashkelon Regional Community Center

Yossi Dahari is the director of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Community Center, where he is responsible for activities in the areas of culture, youth and youth movements, sports, and more. Previously, he directed the children and youth services department for the communities of Hof Ashkelon, and helped with the absorption of families from Gush Katif after Israel’s disengagement from Gaza. Yossi holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial management and control from Sapir Academic College, and a master’s degree in leadership and management of educational systems from Bar-Ilan University. He has also completed a Ministry of the Interior course for local authority treasurers, and a company directors' course and a management development course run by the Israel Association of Community Centers. Yossi lives in Nitzan, a community settlement in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.


Brit Edri

Brit Edri

Mental Health Officer, National Police Academy; Social Worker

Brit Edri is a mental health officer at Israel’s National Police Academy, where she is responsible for providing mental and emotional support and system-wide responses to police officers in routine and emergency situations, both as preventive measures and in response to crises. Previously, she was a mental health officer in the IDF, where she headed the mental health team at the main training base of the IDF Logistics Corps. A clinical social worker, Brit holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Tel Aviv University. She also studied group facilitation at Sapir Academic College. A married mother of three, Brit lives on Kibbutz Nahal Oz, in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council.


Chamutal Even Chen Neubauer

Chamutal Even Chen Neubauer

Director, Netivot Municipal Child Development Unit; Occupational Therapist

An occupational therapist specializing in child development, Chamutal Even Chen Neubauer directs the Netivot municipal child development unit. She works on early childhood issues in different communities, and coordinates screening and early intervention programs. She also participates in multi-system planning of child services in urban and rural settings, and is involved in activities to advance women. Chamutal holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in occupational therapy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She lives on Kibbutz Sa’ad, in the Sdot Negev Regional Council.


Hila Halevy

Hila Halevy

Youth Services Leader, Eshkol Regional Council, and Social Worker

Hila Halevy is the youth services leader for the department of social services of the Eshkol Regional Council. In this capacity, she manages community youth projects and provides individual and group therapy for young people in Eshkol. Hila is co-founder of the Shlomit Development Foundation, and worked with the Jewish National Fund to develop relations between Jewish communities in the United States and the Eshkol region’s pioneering communities to promote regional development. She is also a member of the Sherlin Foundation for Women’s Empowerment and a member of the board of directors of the Eshkol Center for Young Adults. Hila holds a master’s degree in social work, with a specialization in child and youth care, from Sapir Academic College. She lives in Shlomit, in the Eshkol Regional Council.


Gonen Harel

Gonen Harel

Community Program Coordinator, Sderot Municipality; Educator and Street Worker

Gonen Harel is the coordinator of "Groups Create Neighborhoods," a community project operating in neighborhoods of the city of Sderot as part of an inter-departmental partnership in the Sderot municipality. Previously, he was a counselor to groups of at-risk youth in Sderot as part of the Safe Summer Nights program, and directed the Dror Israel's "Neighborhood Homes" – a network of clubhouses for children and youth and community centers throughout Israel. Gonen launched the Groups Create Neighborhoods project in order to extend his street work into broader community work. The program trains counselors to work in the neighborhoods, setting up groups of activists of all ages who lead community initiatives. He also developed programs for emergency preparedness and community resilience in Sderot, and operated them throughout the rounds of fighting with Gaza as part of the municipal response system. Gonen holds a bachelor’s degree in non-formal education and a teaching diploma from Beit Berl College of Education. He is a member of the educators' kibbutz of the Dror Israel movement in Sderot.


Attorney Amihay Havivian

Attorney Amihay Havivian

Environmental Protection Prosecutor

Attorney Amihay Havivian is an environmental protection prosecutor who represents the State of Israel in serious criminal cases. He is responsible for environmental protection cases in the Attorney General’s Certified Prosecutors Professional Guidance Department and lectures on integrated economic enforcement at the National Police College. Previously, he headed the financial enforcement team at the State Attorney’s Office, served as a prosecutor in task forces on government corruption and crime in Israel’s ports,. He volunteers in Matmid patrols of the Border Police for preventing agricultural crime, in social organizations such as the civil rights center of Sderot, and in community advocacy, promoting the social, economic, and health rights of the residents of the Negev. Amihay holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master’s degree in conflict management and resolution from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He lives on Kibbutz Sa’ad, in the Sdot Negev Regional Council.


Yaniv Hegyi

Yaniv Hegyi

Advisor to Cooperative Kibbutzim and Chairman of Partnerships for the Jewish Agency

Yaniv Hegyi works for the Kibbutz movement as an advisor to cooperative kibbutzim and serves in a voluntary capacity as chair of the Jewish Agency's Partnership2Gether program connecting the Eshkol Regional Council and the Jewish communities of Mexico and northeastern New York. He has managed complex and multidisciplinary systems in the social arena, as secretary general of Kibbutz Be’eri; in business, as business developer at Be’eri Printers; and in technology, as a hi-tech project manager in Israel, the United States, and Costa RicaYaniv is a qualified industrial and management engineer, and holds a master’s degree (cum laude) in business administration, management of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship from Tel Aviv University. He also holds a diploma in mediation. Yaniv is a member of Kibbutz Be’eri in the Eshkol Regional Council.


Julia Mikhin Yehezkel

Julia Mikhin Yehezkel

Academic Coordinator, School for Audio and Visual Arts, Sapir Academic College

Julia Mikhin Yehezkel is the academic coordinator of the school of audio and visual arts at Sapir Academic College. In this capacity, she is responsible for the program of study for hundreds of students each year. She also represents students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, in communication with the College regarding study conditions and opportunities for employment and advancement. Julia is also involved in special social and artistic projects at Sapir College and in the community. In the past, she was a member of the management team and the education committee of Kibbutz Nir Am. Julia holds a master’s degree in linguistics from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She lives on Kibbutz Nir Am in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.


Dr. Amir Peleg Uziyahu

Dr. Amir Peleg Uziyahu

Claims Conference Historian, Elected Official, and Social Activist

Dr. Amir Peleg Uziyahu is a history researcher, lecturer, and an Israel-based historian for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. For over a decade, he has been involved in addressing issues of compensation for Holocaust survivors in Israel and throughout the world. He is a ranger working as part of the Israel Parks and Nature Authority’s “Rotem” unit to prevent illegal hunting in the Negev, and represents Ein Habesor as an elected member of the Eshkol Regional Council. Amir is the chair of the environment committee of the Eshkol Regional Council, where he is also a member of the education committee, the tenders committee, and the audit committee. He was the founding editor of “Yisraelim,” a journal of historical research by students at Ben-Gurion University. Amir holds a doctorate in Jewish history from Ben-Gurion University, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, politics, and government from the same institution. He lives in Ein Habesor, a moshav in the Eshkol Regional Council.


Juli Porat

Juli Porat

Assistant to the Mayor, Sdot Negev Regional Council

As assistant to the mayor of the Sdot Negev Regional Council, Juli Porat advances the mayor's policies on a range of regional issues. She also launches and leads strategic programs and projects for the residents of the region, by leveraging and developing local business and tourism and by working with professional teams in government ministries. Previously, Juli directed the Regional Council's department for child and youth services and was in charge of services for youth at risk. She has also worked as a parliamentary assistant at the Knesset, in educational programs in the periphery, and in implementing egalitarian approaches that promote growth. Juli holds a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s degree in educational systems management, both from Bar-Ilan University, and is a graduate of a program of the ISEF Foundation that aims to reduce social gaps in Israeli society. During her studies, she served as a member of the board of directors of the Students’ Union at Bar-Ilan University. She lives on Kibbutz Alumim, in the Sdot Negev Regional Council.


Shahaf Pripaz

Shahaf Pripaz

Social Entrepreneur and Activist

Shahaf Pripaz is a social entrepreneur who owns and is involved in various enterprises in construction, real estate, culture, nightlife, the culinary arts, and business consulting. He is the founding director of Migun Lekulam (Protection for All), a company that consults on and constructs safe rooms, was the southern region director for the Mifalot – Education and Society Enterprises, and was southern region director for ISEF – Israel Scholarship Education Foundation. Shahaf has also volunteered in sports initiatives for children and adults who suffered as a result of the conflicts and disasters in Rwanda and Haiti. A social activist, he is involved in volunteering via sports with people with disabilities, and works with coaches through the "Value Sports" nonprofit. Shahaf organized protests in Beer Sheva against the high cost of living in 2011, launched the Emergency Situations Forum in the Gaza border communities, and participates in other forums, such as the Sderot Tourism Forum. Shahaf holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral studies, management, and economics, and a master’s degree in business administration from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He lives on Kibbutz Mefalsim in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.


Yosef Rahimov

Yosef Rahimov

Social Worker, Coordinator of Yated Program for At-Risk Young Adults in Sderot

Yosef Rahimov is a social worker with 15 years’ experience in working with at-risk youth and young adults. He now serves as the coordinator of the Yated program for at-risk young adults in Sderot, and works to develop and promote services for young people in the city. Yosef is a social activist in Sderot on issues relating to security, education, culture, and community. He volunteers for Magen David Adom, for the Hatzalah emergency medical organization, and for the Yedidim roadside assistance organization. He serves in the IDF reserves as a population behavior officer in the Home Front Command, and is a member of the Reut social and educational community in Sderot. Yosef holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Sapir Academic College. He lives in Sderot.


Naama Shaked Levy

Naama Shaked Levy

Social Entrepreneur and Owner of Breaking through the Glass Ceiling

Naama Shaked Levy owns Breaking through the Glass Ceiling, a social enterprise for women’s advancement, and is the developer of "Pioneering Women Cards." Naama is also a lecturer and group facilitator. She works to advance gender equality in creative ways, mentors business communities and individuals in the field of entrepreneurship and employment, and serves as southern region coordinator at the Israeli Center for Human Dignity. In the past, she was the coordinator of the women’s forum at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, to promote gender equality at the university. In recent years, she has volunteered as a career counselor for the Pa’amonim nonprofit for domestic financial responsibility and for the women’s forum of the Eshkol Regional Council. Naama holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology and anthropology, from the University of Haifa and Ben-Gurion University. She lives on Kibbutz Gvulot in the Eshkol Regional Council.


Dr. Ayala Shklar

Dr. Ayala Shklar

Historian, Educator, and Social Activist

Dr. Ayala Shklar is a historian who works on projects to preserve and document the history of the city of Sderot, on behalf of the Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel and the Sderot Development Foundation. She is a researcher, writer, and lecturer on subjects related to the history of religious Zionism and the early decades of the State of Israel. Ayala teaches and trains students in teaching history and Land of Israel studies at the Orot Israel College of Education and at Herzog College. Ayala volunteers to help with the cultural-community acclimation of groups of young residents in the moshavim of the Sdot Negev Regional Council. Ayala holds a doctorate from the department of geography at Bar-Ilan University. She lives in Shuva, a moshav in the Sdot Negev Regional Council.


Hanna Yizhaki Saptayv

Hanna Yizhaki Saptayv

Community Social Worker and Law Student

Hanna Yizhaki Saptayv is a social activist who has helped many residents of Sderot access their rights, particularly members of her community – the Ethiopian Israeli community. Together with other students, she has enabled tens of Ethiopian Israeli residents of Sderot to exercise their rights, and has organized an activists’ course for young members of the community. She also organized the Placemaking project in the city’s Nir Am neighborhood, and has lobbied for policy changes that will give people with mental health disabilities access to services that best meet their needs. Hanna is a fourth-year law student at Sapir Academic College, and lives in Netivot.


 

Jaber Abu Al Kian

Jaber Abu Al Kian

District Supervisor, Ministry of Education

Jaber Abu Alkian is the district supervisor of the Social and Youth Administration of the Ministry of Education’s Southern District. In this capacity, he is responsible for non-formal education, social education, and social engagement in Bedouin Arab society. He also forges partnerships with government ministries and civil society organizations to promote values-driven programs and content, and to advance Bedouin Arab society by creating equal opportunity, increasing social mobility, and developing civil society. He also coordinates the Etgarim program for developing leadership in schools in the Arab sector in the Southern District, and leads scouting programs in schools and programs for promoting coexistence in the Negev, in which are conducted in partnership with AJEED-NISPED. Jaber has worked in education for some 25 years, 10 of in which were spent as a middle-school teacher and management member in the Tel Sheva local council, where he introduced “field, nation, and society” (“Shelach”) studies and land of Israel studies to the curriculum. He was involved in setting up 14 branches of youth movements and 35 branches of the AJEEC youth organization in the region, and is a member of the AJEEC-NISPED steering committee and of the board of directors of the Tamar Center, which promotes STEM studies in Bedouin Arab society. In addition, he was one of the initiators of the idea of founding the Desert Stars leadership center for Bedouin youth. Jaber is also involved in social improvement campaigns and in initiatives to resolve conflict and promote tolerance in Bedouin Arab society and in Israeli society in general. In the past, he volunteered in prisons and in programs for prisoner rehabilitation and empowerment, at the regional emergency response center, on the Hura community COVID committee, and at Edy’s House – a community support center for children with cancer. Jaber holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography and environmental development, as well as a teaching diploma, all from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and holds a doctorate in educational administration from Yarmouk University in Jordan. He has lectured at Kaye Academic College of Education for the last four years. He grew up in the unrecognized Bedouin settlement of Umm Al-Hiran, and now lives in the Hura local council.


Jehan Abu Hadoba

Jehan Abu Hadoba

Elementary School Principal and Social Activist, Neve Midbar Regional Council

Jehan Abu Hadoba is principal of the Al-Salaam Elementary School in Abu Talul, a community in the Neve Midbar regional council. She is also a social activist in the field of women’s advancement in Bedouin society. Jehan is a graduate of the group facilitation course at Gishot College, the Maoz leadership program, and the principal training program of Avney Rosha – the Israel Institute for School Leadership. Jehan holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Kaye Academic College of Education, and a master’s degree in educational consulting from the Israel Academic College in Ramat Gan. She lives in Abu Talul.


Yousef Abu Kaf

Yousef Abu Kaf

High School Principal, Al-Kasum Regional Council

Yousef Abu Kaf is the principal of the Atid Comprehensive High School in Umm Batin, which is located in the Al-Kasum regional council. He is currently working to strengthen community engagement by establishing a youth center that will operate on school grounds in the afternoons, with voluntary help from teachers. Previously, Yousef served as deputy principal, grade level coordinator, homeroom teacher, and Hebrew language teacher, who prepared students for the highest level of matriculation. Yousef holds a bachelor’s degree and a teaching diploma from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and a master’s degree in Hebrew language from the University of Haifa, and is a graduate of the principal training program of Avney Rosha – the Israel Institute for School Leadership. He is currently completing a doctorate in educational administration at Yarmouk University in Jordan. He lives in Umm Batin, in the Al-Kasum regional council.


Rabe Abu Rabea

Rabe Abu Rabea

Instructor and Coordinator, Special Education Regional Support Center, Abu Basma

Rabe Abu Rabea is an instructor of teachers and a coordinator at the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Regional Support Center (MATYA) in Abu Basma, which serves three local authorities: the Al-Kasum regional council, the Neve Midbar regional council, and the Kseifa local council. The center provides information, guidance, and assistance to educational staffs involved in special education, whether in dedicated special education frameworks and in mainstream schools. Rabe serves as the acting special education supervisor of assessment and eligibility committees for special education students. He is responsible for educational services provided to homebound students and to students who require invasive medical treatment and need medical support at school as a result. Rabe holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from Kaye Academic College of Education, and a master’s degree in special education from Or Yehuda College. He lives in Kukhleh, a community in the Al-Kasum regional council.


Rudaina Abu Rashed

Rudaina Abu Rashed

Mental Health and Rehabilitation Social Worker, Hura

Rudaina Abu Rashed is a social worker in the field of rehabilitation of mental health patients in the community. She works at an assisted living facility for mental health patients in Bedouin Arab society, run by Hetz Rehabilitation in the Community. In this capacity, Rudaina helps people with mental illness to integrate into the community and society in a healthy way that matches their condition and their needs, whether in employment, academic studies, social and leisure activities, or more. In the past, she volunteered with at-risk youth in Hura, and completed her national civilian service as a volunteer in schools and kindergartens in Bedouin communities. Rudaina holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree with a specialization in art therapy from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and was awarded the university’s Frannie Ackerman Prize for social work students. She lives in Tel Sheva.


Bassam Abu Siam

Bassam Abu Siam

Engineer, Regional Planning and Building Committee, Abu Basma

Bassam Abu Siam is the engineer of the Abu Basma Regional Planning and Building Committee, which is charged with implementing Israel’s Planning and Building Law in a geographical area that includes the municipal area of the Al-Kasum and Neve Midbar regional councils (around 17,000 acres). In this capacity, Bassam formulates the Committee’s engineering policy so as to improve the quality of life of local residents, plans the Committee’s work, and prepares master plans and programs in various fields. Previously, he was a construction project manager. Bassam holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Negev Academic College of Engineering. He lives in Rahat.


Kothar Abuhmad

Kothar Abuhmad

Educational Counselor, Mentor, Teacher, and Social Activist, Al-Kasum

Kothar Abuhmad is an educational counselor and a mentor to new teachers as part of the Teach First Israel program. She also teaches Arabic as a second language at Sakhnin College for Teacher Education, is a social activist, and volunteers in the field of education. Under the auspices of the Fund for Innovative Education, she set up a bilingual escape room in Hebrew and English. Previously, she worked as a Hebrew teacher in Arab society and as an Arabic teacher in Jewish society. Kothar holds a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew literature and communications from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a master’s degree in educational counseling from the Israel Academic College in Ramat Gan, and a teaching diploma from the Teach First Israel program. She lives in Darijat, a community in the Al-Kasum regional council.


Sabreen Alassad

Sabreen Alassad

Social Worker, Segev Shalom Local Council

Sabreen Alassad is a social worker in the welfare department of the Segev Shalom local council. Previously, she held various positions in welfare departments, including employment coordinator for Yated, the national program for young adults in at-risk situations; social worker in the welfare department of the Al-Kasum regional council; and employment coordinator in the welfare department of the Tel Sheva local council. In this last position, she established and managed women’s employment groups in Tel Sheva. Sabreen holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Sapir College, and a bachelor’s degree in health system management from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She is also a graduate of the Ministry of Social Affairs’ Yated program, and holds a diploma in group facilitation from Gishot College. She lives in Lakiya.


Aseel Alassad, z

Aseel Alassad, z''l

Social Worker and Social Activist, Segev Shalom Local Council

Aseel Alassad was a social worker in the social services department of the Segev Shalom local council, where she was responsible for realization of rights at the individual, group, and community levels in the communities within the local council. She also developed and ran workshops on realization of rights and access to services, and helped residents exercise their rights in practice. Aseel was also a social activist in the field of women’s empowerment, and advocated especially for women with personal status issues in Israel. In her previous position in the social services department of the Al-Kasum regional council, Aseel founded a first-of-its-kind group for statusless women in Israel, which was dedicated to fighting for changes in government policy and combatting bureaucracy. Aseel held a bachelor’s degree in social work from Sapir College and a diploma in group facilitation from Gishot College. During her academic studies, she participated in the Young Women Politicians initiative at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, which trains and empowers young women who are interested in being politically active. Aseel tragically lost her life in a car crash on May 1, 2022, on the eve of Eid al-Fitr.


Marwan Algdefy

Marwan Algdefy

Social Education Coordinator and Biology Teacher, Segev Shalom

Marwan Algdefy is a biology teacher at the Segev Shalom Comprehensive High School, where he prepares students for the highest level of matriculation exams. He also serves as the school’s social education coordinator, and is responsible for non-formal education activities. Marwan also volunteers as a paramedic with Magen David Adom. Previously, he worked at the Segev Shalom community center in various positions: higher education manager for youth at risk; educational excellence coordinator; and coordinator for the Ogen program to combat school dropout through non-formal education. Marwan holds a bachelor’s degree and a teaching diploma in high school science education from Kaye Academic College of Education, a master’s degree in science and technology teaching, and a master’s degree in educational management, educational policy, and society from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He lives in Segev Shalom.


Hassan Algnami

Hassan Algnami

Elementary School Principal, Neve Midbar Regional Council

Hassan Algnami is principal of the Al-Majid Elementary School in Abu Karinat, a community in the Neve Midbar regional council. He is a member of the board of directors of the Eastern Negev Regional Cluster (a partnership of all the local authorities in the area) and of the Neve Midbar community center. Previously, Hassan taught mathematics for 12 years at the Al-Moustakbal Elementary School in Abu Talul, where he was also the mathematics coordinator and field trip coordinator. He also managed teams of educational coordinators at AJEEC-NISPED, a non-profit organization that develops social and economic programs in Bedouin Arab society in the Negev and promotes Arab-Jewish partnership throughout Israel. Hassan holds a bachelor’s degree in education and mathematics teaching from Kaye Academic College of Education and a master’s degree in management and public policy from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is also a graduate of Avney Rosha – the Israel Institute for School Leadership. He lives in Abu Karinat, located community in the Neve Midbar regional council.


Aosama Alhozayl

Aosama Alhozayl

High School Physical Education and Homeroom Teacher, Rahat

Aosama Alhozayl is a homeroom teacher and physical education teacher at the Salman High School in Rahat. In addition, he is a regional instructor and mentor to physical education teachers in the Ministry of Education’s Southern District. In the past, he was a lecturer and pedagogic instructor at Kaye Academic College of Education, and today lectures on physical education at PISGA regional pedagogic centers throughout the Negev. Aosoma is also a social and community activist who has created and led a range of activities in the field of physical education, including sports events and competitions between Bedouin Arab and Jewish youth sports teams. Aosoma holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Kaye College, and a master’s degree in physical education from Givat Washington Academic College of Education. He lives in Rahat.


Hassan Azbargah

Hassan Azbargah

High School History Teacher and Doctoral Student, Kseifa

Hassan Azbargah is a history teacher and coordinator of learning disabilities services at the ORT Al-Farouk Multidisciplinary High School in the Kseifa local council. He is also responsible for the evaluation of learning performance in the school. Hassan holds a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern history and a master’s degree in Jewish history, both from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is currently completing his doctorate at Ben-Gurion University’s Kreitman School of Advanced Graduate Studies, where his dissertation examines critiques of the modernism of the poet Mahmoud Darwish. Hassan lives in Kseifa.


Sliman Elsana

Sliman Elsana

Veterinarian and Director of Veterinary Department, Neve Midbar Regional Council

Sliman Elsana is a veterinarian and director of the veterinary department of the Neve Midbar regional council. He is also responsible for promoting health and a healthy lifestyle in the regional council and is a member of the Israel Veterinary Association. Sliman is an agricultural consultant to Project Wadi Attir, a groundbreaking initiative of the Bedouin community and of The Sustainability Laboratory, which has created an agricultural farm based on sustainable planning and community-oriented, environmental, technological, and economic considerations. He also volunteers in initiatives against violence that take place in educational institutions and in the community. Previously, he directed the Neve Midbar regional council’s city beautification department. Sliman holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Torino, Italy. He lives in Lakiya.


Rashed Hagia

Rashed Hagia

Community Coordinator, Neve Midbar Regional Council

Rashed Hagia is the community coordinator for the Neve Midbar regional council, responsible for developing its strategy for community work, supporting committees and teams active in the region’s communities, and managing a range of social programs. Previously, he coordinated the employment, individual and community activities at a Riyan employment center, a government initiative to promote employment in Arab society. He also worked in education and teaching at the Al-Iman elementary school in Bir Hadaj. Rashed holds a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew language and literature and a teaching diploma in literature from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is a graduate of the Jusoor program to train university graduates from Bedouin Arab society for employment in the civil service in various government ministries, which is supported by the Arab-Jewish Center for Empowerment, Equality, and Cooperation (AJEEC). A qualified paramedic for Magen David Adom, Rashed is married and a father of four, and lives in Bir Hadaj in the Neve Midbar regional council.


Shoma Hawashla

Shoma Hawashla

Coordinator of Higher Education Program, Neve Midbar Regional Council

Shoma Hawashla is the coordinator of the Ruwad program in the Neve Midbar regional council, an initiative of the Council for Higher Education dedicated to making higher education accessible to young Arabs in the Negev. Previously, she coordinated AJEEC’s BridgeTech project, which helps outstanding high-school graduates from Bedouin society enter the hi-tech and engineering professions. She also coordinated referrals at clinics belonging to the Clalit health fund in Bedouin communities in the Negev. Shoma also worked in non-formal education, as the coordinator of an excellence program at the Segev Shalom community center and in the Good Neighborhood program operated by Ben-Gurion University’s department of conflict management and resolution in Kasr al-Sir, Yeruham, and Dimona. In addition, she coordinated the Perach mentoring program in three schools in Kasr al-Sir, Lakiya, and Segev Shalom. Shoma holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration and policy from Sapir College and a diploma in group facilitation from Gishot College. She lives in Kasr al-Sir, located community in the Neve Midbar regional council.


Kifah Shlalfa

Kifah Shlalfa

Lawyer, Social Activist, Volunteering Coordinator, Women’s Advisor, Segev Shalom

Kifah Shlalfa is the volunteering coordinator and the women’s advancement advisor for the Segev Shalom local council. She is responsible for recruiting volunteers, planning volunteering projects, training volunteers, and preparing teams of volunteers for emergency situations. Her women’s advancement work includes the development of various projects and programs, as well as the creation of the Segev Shalom Women’s Council. Previously, she worked as a coordinator and mentor to at-risk youth for the Mezach Network’s rights-based community practice centers in Segev Shalom. Kifah holds a bachelor’s degree in law and a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies from Sapir College. She lives in Segev Shalom.


Salem Tohi

Salem Tohi

Elementary School Principal, Neve Midbar Regional Council

Salem Tohi is principal of the Bir Asluj Elementary School in Bir Hadaj, a community in the Neve Midbar regional council. Previously, he worked as a physical education teacher and field trip coordinator. He also led a project for coexistence with nearby Jewish communities, and a project to increase parental involvement in his school. Salem holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education and sports for excluded and at-risk communities from Kaye Academic College of Education, and is a graduate of Avney Rosha – the Israel Institute for School Leadership. He lives in Bir Hadaj.