Manal Abo Karan, a mother of five, lives in Lakiya. She is studying for her bachelor’s degree in social work at Bethlehem University, and has trained in personal coaching and group mediation. She works as an employment trainer at the Beer Sheva Employment and Welfare Bureau.
Mervat Abu Aduba lives in Wadi Samar, an unrecognized village to the south of Rahat. She is a master’s student in political science and international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mervat coordinates the social involvement and volunteering activities at the Rahat Center for Young Adults and is a social activist in the field of education.
Wafa Abu Ammar is a resident of Lakiya. She is the director of the youth division of the Wadi al-Khalil local council and has seven years’ professional experience in the field of education. Wafa holds a bachelor’s degree in health administration and is a local community activist working with youth in Lakiya.
Adel Abu Sbeeh lives in Albaat, near Kuseife. A social activist in his village and throughout Bedouin society, he is a building practical engineer, director of the medicinal herbs division at Project Wadi Attir and works as an informal education projects’ coordinator under the auspices of the Al-Kasom Regional Council. Adel instructs financial independence workshops for high school boys. He holds a BA in Mathematics Teaching.
Yaakov Abu-Blal is a married father of four and a resident of Rahat. He works in the Neve Midbar local council’s welfare division as director of a welfare branch, as a social worker for children and youth at risk, as a coordinator of client evaluation and treatment planning committees and as coordinator of the local resilience team project. Yaakov has launched several community projects, including a project for parents of at-risk children, a group for normative youth, and groups for at-risk youth. He holds a master’s degree in social work from Tel Aviv University, with a specialization in group moderation.
Adam Alhoashleh is a resident of the unrecognized Bedouin settlement al-‘Ara, married and a father of four. A lawyer by profession, he directs a law firm in Beer Sheva. He has been involved in coordinating and directing social projects, and in planning and development efforts in Bedouin society in the Negev. He directed the Negev Arab Education Forum and, as a social activist, is currently involved in several social initiatives. Adam holds a bachelor’s degree in law from Hertfordshire University in the UK and a master’s degree in law from Tel Aviv University.
Luminita Alkatnani, a married mother of four, was born in Romania and lives in Rahat. She is the coordinator of early childcare frameworks, and also leads women’s discussion, study and support groups. Luminita set up and directed the Hura Child Development Unit. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work.
Dr. Abed Almuati Alsaed was born and lives in Al-Sayed, a settlement close to Hura. He is married and a father of four. A dentist with practices in Hura and in Beer Sheva, Dr. Alsaed is a member of the Israel Union of Dentists, chairman of the Al-Sayed Parents’ Association and an active member of the Al-Sayed Residents’ Committee.
Ismael Alnbary lives in Hura, where he teaches physics and is head of physics studies in the local high school. He helps develop research-based study programs and is interested in developing new forms of teaching, such as those based on constructivist learning and higher-order learning. Ismael is active in the Ahad non-profit organization for advancing Arab society in the Negev. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in education.
Khaled El-Sana is the former head of the Lakiya local council, and now deputy head of the council, holding the council’s engineering portfolio. Previously, he taught in Tel Sheva. Khaled is a member of the Lakiya Community Center non-profit and a social activist working to promote education in the village.
Lin Hawari is a Beer Sheva resident and a mother of two. She is employed by the Social Services Division of the Tel Sheva local council as a social worker for children and youth at risk and as a project coordinator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and psychology from Bethlehem University.
Areej Hlailh-Mahammed is a resident of Beer Sheva, married and mother to a daughter. She is a social worker in the Social Services Division of the Hura local council. Areej is politically and socially active in Arab society in Israel. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Khader Mahdi lives in Ar’ara BaNegev. A married father of three, he is a lawyer by profession and has managed a law firm in Beer Sheva for the last 12 years. He holds a master’s degree in law. Khader is a social activist and a former local council member, and is now chairman of the Negev Association of Arab Lawyers and of the Association of Volunteers in the Negev Bedouin Community on Legal and Social Issues.
Yunis Nbare is a resident of Hura, married and a father of six. He is the director-general of the Wadi Attir Project and a founding member of the Wadi Attir non-profit organization for social-economic development of the area. He is one of the Negev Fellows for Society and the Environment, a member of the Negev Leaders Forum and a member of the Joe Alon Center’s Ramon Strategic Thinking Forum. Yunis is a public representative on the Hura local council and is a social activist and volunteer in several social-economic initiatives in the Bedouin community. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Iemad Nsassra is a resident of Kuseife and works for the Ministry of Culture and Sport as Southern Region supervisor of sport administration (Arab sector). He volunteers on behalf of the Adam Teva V’Din environmental non-profit. Iemad holds a bachelor’s degree from the Kaye Academic College of Education Institute of Physical Education and a master’s degree in public health administration from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Gavrel Sayed is a resident of Al-Sayed, married and a father of three. He teaches in the Ar’ara BaNegev high school and teaches spoken Arabic to workers' organizations in the Jewish sector. Gavrel is active in social organizations promoting coexistence, and arranges local tourism groups. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Arabic from the Kaye Academic College of Education and a master’s degree in educational management from the Kibbutzim College of Education.
Ehud Adany is a second-generation educator who has lived in Yeruham for the last 18 years. Ehud is constantly engaged in efforts to improve and innovate in the field of education. At the start of his career, he taught at the “Kol Yaakov” state religious school in Yeruham, while today he is a teacher at the Hameuchad elementary school in the secular state education stream. Ehud believes in creating connections and bridges between people, and sees education as a value, a mission, and a goal. He is married and the father of six.
Yael Agmon was born on Kibbutz Nirim, was one of the founders of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, and has lived in Yeruham since 2010. She served as chairperson of the Tehila nonprofit, which provides support to parents of LGBT children. Yael is an active member of MachsomWatch, and of the civic action group Mirkam Ezori (Regional Texture), a group of residents of Yeruham who are working toward state recognition for the neighboring Bedouin settlement of Rachme. She is the mother of three and grandmother of three.
Vered Asaf holds a bachelor’s degree in informal education, with a specialization in youth at risk. Over the last decade, she has been working with at-risk children and families, and is the director of Youth Futures, a social education program of the Jewish Agency. Vered has completed a number of professional courses at the Center for Parenting and Family at the Kaye Academic College of Education in Beer Sheva, including group facilitation and parent consulting. A social and community activist, she founded a charitable organization called “Hasdei Hadassah” that helps families and girls in poverty and distress. Vered is a graduate of WePower’s Atidot Banegev training program for women involved in political and public life, and volunteers for the Yeruham burial society. She is married and the mother of six.
Sigal Ashtamker holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration and policy from Sapir College, a master’s degree in non-profit management from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a diploma in group facilitation. A resident of Yeruham, she has served as the employment coordinator at the local Center for Young Adults for the last seven years. Married and the mother of three, Sigal now directs a daycare center in Yeruham run by the Yachdav nonprofit, and is active in the Yeruham Parents’ Committee.
Shimon Ben-Zaken is an engineer who serves as a department director at the Phoenicia Glass Works factory in Yeruham, the community where he was born and has lived since 1959. Shimon believes in maintaining a strong and constant connection between local industry and the local community, and works to cultivate such connections. He is fostering cooperation between Phoenicia and the Yeruham Design Terminal, working to realize the design group’s vision in the product development and design of the local glass industry. Shimon is married and the father of two.
Tami Boohabot holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and is a graduate of the parents’ counseling program at Kaye College. For the last ten years, she has served in a variety of management positions in the fields of education and work with children and youth at risk. During the last three years, she has been serving as the director of early childhood education in Yeruham, which she is trying to put at the top of the local agenda. Tami is married and the mother of three.
Eitan Cohen has been involved in photography and farming for most of his life. In recent years, he has been involved in public action and in the leadership of his moshav on a voluntary basis. Eitan’s main area of interest focuses on leveraging the power of the collective. He grew up in Jerusalem and has been living in Be’er Milka for the last nine years. In order to improve personal, communal, and regional quality of life, during the last six years, Eitan has been giving tours to army units, school groups, and youth movements on a voluntary basis, exploring life in the Negev and in Pitchat Nitzana, and telling the fascinating story of Be'er Milka. Eitan is married and the father of two.
Nisim Elmakayes has lived in Yeruham since 1989. He is the founder of the Meir Panim soup kitchen in Dimona, which he has been directing for the last 14 years. Operated in cooperation with the city’s welfare department, the soup kitchen employs 13 workers (three salaried employees and 10 volunteers), and provides some 500 servings of food to needy people each day. Nisim is a social activist and is involved in several social engagement forums in Yeruham. Married and the father of six, he established the Parent Patrols in Yeruham, and runs charitable second-hand goods depots in Yeruham and Dimona.
Svetlana Glushak immigrated to Israel from Kiev, Ukraine, and has lived in Yeruham since 1995. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and is a qualified nurse and chemical engineer. Formerly a professional dancer, Svetlana is a social activist who works as coordinator of the “Mofet Club” at a rehabilitative factory in Yeruham. Married and the mother of two, Svetlana also works as a cooking instructor for both children and adults.
Revital Hirshovitz-Salmon holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Land of Israel studies, with a specialization in landscape conservation and development. A resident of Yeruham, Revital has been active for the last decade or so in the Israel Society for the Protection of Nature, teaching the values of conservation and sustainability in educational institutions throughout the Negev. Currently serving as the sustainability coordinator of Yeruham, Revital is the mother of three.
Dana Meir made her way to Israel from New Zealand and Australia, and is a teacher by profession. Today, she works as a tour guide and cycling guide, who helps young offenders and adult drug addicts by using desert cycling and hiking activities as a therapeutic aid. Dana believes in equal opportunities and in reducing social gaps between normative populations and populations facing challenges. She lives at the Ben-Gurion Educational Center at Sde Boker, and is the mother of three.
Adi Rozenberg holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work. She is the coordinator of the Bnei Akiva community in Yeruham and is the director of “Nekuda Tova” – an organization dedicated to society and community, Jewish identity, family empowerment, and strengthening Jewish culture in Yeruham. Adi believes that “Yeruham is a test case for the people of Israel,” and works to create connections between the various communities in Yeruham and in the Negev. A resident of Yeruham for the last 14 years, Adi is married and is the mother of six.
Boaz Sar Shalom is a musician and a tour guide specializing in desert regions. He is the director of the Nitzana Guiding Center, which holds seminars and educational trips for youth throughout the Negev, and especially in the area around Nitzana. Boaz is working to change the worldviews of young Israelis, based on a belief in the power of the Negev and the desert to develop alternative perspectives regarding settlement, Zionism, leadership, sustainability, group empowerment, and personal development. Among other things, he is involved in promoting local tourism as a driver of regional employment and development. A resident of Be’er Milka in the Pitchat Nitzana region, Boaz is married and the father of three.
Zehavit Yakoov holds a bachelor’s degree in informal education. She is the higher education coordinator for Yeruham, where she provides counseling and advice on higher education and careers, and runs student leadership programs. Active in the field of education and parental involvement in education, Zehavit heads the Yeruham Parents’ Committee, as well as the parents’ committee at the Yeruham state elementary school. She is married and the mother of two.
Noga Yogev was born in the Upper Galilee, but has been a resident of the Negev since her twenties, and now lives on Kibbutz Revivim. Noga is a social worker and has a master’s degree in early childhood studies from the Schwartz Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Over the years, she has assumed a leadership role in social aspects of her kibbutz, including education, health, and welfare services, and has been involved in parent counseling and early childhood education. For the last three years, Noga has led and developed programs for children and youth at risk throughout the Negev. She is currently the director of the 360 National Program for Children and Youth at Risk in the Central Negev Region, which includes Yeruham, Mitzpe Ramon, and Ramat Hanegev. Noga believes that early childhood is the area in which society should invest most heavily.
Lior Zluf-Keren holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental development from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Her career has been dedicated mostly to informal education, largely in the Nitzana educational community, where she performed a year of national service and returned to work as a professional. Lior is a tour guide in the Negev, volunteers in various community frameworks, and serves on the Ramat Hanegev regional council. She is the director of the Ramat Hanegev Center for Young Adults, and believes in the power of young activists to reshape society in the Negev. Lior grew up in Petach Tikva, was educated in Kfar Sirkin, and has lived in the Pitchat Nitzana region for the last eight years. A resident of Moshav Kmehin, she is married and has a daughter.
Yoram Zvik, is a co-founder and director of the Hoopoe Center of Ecology and Ornithology (“Duchifat”), and is actively involved in research in zoology and ecology. He is the residents’ representative on the Yeruham Environmental Protection Committee, and is an active member of the Yeruham Residents’ Forum for Distributive Justice and Regional Planning. In the past, Yoram has served as volunteer coordinator of tourism for the Yeruham local council, and worked for the local Atid Bamidbar nonprofit, which connects Jews and Israelis with each other, with their heritage, and with the environment. Yoram studied science teaching at the Kibbutzim College of Education, and taught in formal and informal educational settings for many years. He has developed and written curricula and educational activities for a variety of educational frameworks, and served as a Jewish Agency emissary to North America. A resident of Yeruham, Yoram is married and the father of three.
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