Alia Abu Rabeah is a teacher and coordinator in the special education school in the Bedouin-Arab town of Tel Sheva. An organizational consultant, she is the director of the nonprofit Ma’an – the Forum of Negev Arab-Bedouin Women’s Organizations, which works to advance social equality, women’s empowerment, and coexistence in Bedouin-Arab society in the Negev and in Arab society in Israel as a whole. Alia writes prose and poetry, and her first collection of poetry is soon to be published. She is also the founder and spokesperson for Lema’anchem, a nonprofit organization that works within Bedouin-Arab society in the Negev to mainstream children with disabilities, by making essential services more accessible and by providing information, support, and consultations. Alia holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in social and community education from the Center for Academic Studies in Or Yehuda and the other in Arabic language and Sharia law from Al-Balqa’ Applied University in Jordan. She also has a teaching diploma in special education from Gordon College of Education, and a master’s degree in organizational consulting for educational institutions and business organizations from Ono Academic College. She lives in the village of Drijat.
Naftali Aklum is the founder and CEO of the Yerus Project, an initiative to develop and strengthen the Ethiopian Jewish community in Beer Sheva and in Israel, and to help it present its own narrative and cultural treasures. In this capacity, Naftali presents lectures, runs tours, and conducts workshops in Israel, as well as study trips to Ethiopia. He also volunteers with the elderly under the auspices of the Beer Sheva municipal welfare division. Naftali is a member of the Schusterman Family Foundation’s ROI Community, and has directed educational programs at the Branco Weiss Institute and served as a member of the Child Welfare Council of Beer Sheva. Naftali holds a bachelor’s degree in politics and government and Middle Eastern studies from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He lives in Beer Sheva.
Linor Alaluf works in public relations. For a decade, she has covered the Negev as a local news reporter for Channel 11 and for Walla! News. As a film studies student, she created several short movies that were shown at the Festival Darom film festival and at film festivals around the world. The last of these, Patina, a joint German-Israeli production, was screened at the Ludwigsburg film festival to mark the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence. Linor curated and produced Life, an exhibition of the work of the photographer and reporter Haim Rivlin at the Festival Darom film festival in 2014. She also directed the special programs at the festival, and managed its public relations. In recent years, her photographs have been shown in the Local Testimony photojournalism exhibit and in solo exhibitions, and have appeared in her articles in the Hottest Place in Hell online magazine. Linor holds a bachelor’s degree in film and television studies and is completing her master’s degree in cinema and production at Sapir Academic College. She is a member of Kibbutz Revivim.
Ariel Amit is a graffiti artist and owner of I Heart Graffiti, a company specializing in graffiti workshops and developing processes of individual and group creativity. In recent years, he has conducted workshops for a diverse range of populations: youth at risk, Palestinian and Jewish youth, Haredi women, people with special needs, hi-tech management teams, and more. Ariel is also a civics teacher and coordinator of Jewish cultural studies at the Zafit high school on Kibbutz Kfar Menahem. He founded and leads "Judaism over Beer," a learning community that brings together people from different cultural settings in the region surrounding Kiryat Gat. Ariel holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master’s degree in public policy with a specialization in local government from Sapir Academic College. He is currently researching art in urban public spaces, with a focus on cities in Israel’s geographic periphery. He lives in Kiryat Gat.
Noa Babayof is a project coordinator at the Bouras House for Independent Art at the Beer Sheva Youth Center. In this capacity, she provides support and guidance to independent artists, produces original cultural projects and initiatives, and develops collaborations with other cultural institutions in Israel. As an independent musical artist, she has released two albums in English and has appeared at clubs and festivals in Europe and the United States. She has also performed and collaborated with various artists throughout Israel. At the time of this writing, she is about to release her first single in Hebrew and her third album in English is being produced in the United States. Noa holds a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in communications from Sapir Academic College. She lives in Beer Sheva.
Adi Ben Boher is the CEO of the Dimona Theater, an innovative, social, Israeli theater based in Dimona, which performs throughout Israel. She is also an organizational consultant to artists and cultural organizations, and specializes in resource development, grant applications, and identifying opportunities. In 2018, she founded the ACIA artists’ incubator, which serves as a source of information about opportunities and calls for proposals related to cultural enterprises. Adi has studied acting, directed the Renana Raz dance troupe, worked in a cultural PR firm, hosted a radio show in which she interviewed artists and intellectuals, worked with visiting groups from abroad, and more. Adi holds a bachelor’s degree in theater from the University of Haifa and a master’s degree in organizational consulting (academic track) from the College of Management Academic Studies. She lives in Lehavim.
Adam de Lange is a musician, Spanish classical guitarist, writer, and artist. He founded and directs Desert Circus, a circus school in Mitzpe Ramon that teaches circus skills to young people in their 20s while emphasizing sustainability and social-communal involvement. Adam studied circus arts in Israel and in Spain. He has taught acrobalance and circus arts in a variety of settings including the Adama Dance School, programs for at-risk Jewish and Bedouin youth run by municipal welfare departments, the Yeshiva High School for Environmental Torah Education, and pre-military academies. Previously, Adam was the sustainability coordinator of the Green Network in Mitzpe Ramon and an environment and community coordinator for the Ir Ganim community council in Jerusalem. He has also worked with young people in various educational capacities, including providing nature therapy for at-risk youth, teaching woodworking at a special education school in Abu Ghosh, and serving as a counselor with the JNF Green Horizons youth movement. Adam holds a bachelor’s degree in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he graduated from the Atidim program for municipal service cadets. He also holds a master’s degree in public policy, with a specialization in urban planning, from the honors program at the Hebrew University’s Federmann School of Public Policy. He lives in Mitzpe Ramon.
Dina Gavriely is a playwright and actor in the women’s theater group Achayot Bama and teaches drama in various settings. She also writes and produces "Pashut for Kids," an experiential education series of "parsha packets" that discuss the weekly Torah portion. Under the aegis of the Gvanim nonprofit, Dina also provides support for young adults with disabilities who wish to build an independent life in the arts. Dina holds a bachelor’s degree in Jewish history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is a graduate of the Aspaklaria acting school. She lives in the community of Neta.
Shani Havdala has been an independent artist in the field of visual communications for over a decade. She is also a teacher-student and national instructor in design studies for the Ministry of Education. Shani has served as coordinator for Pirchey Bezalel – A Bridge to Higher Education, worked as a staff designer for companies such as David Tartakover's studio, and has taught graphic design at several colleges. She believes in the power of design to change thinking and behavior, for both the designer and the “user.” In her lessons on design, she seeks to engage her students in dialogue, critical thinking, and questioning while they observe and think about others. Shani holds a bachelor’s degree from the department of visual design at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem and a diploma in art education for all ages from Kaye College. She is currently completing a master’s degree at the department of visual design at Bezalel, where she is examining the links between learning, research, and creative design. Shani lives in Kiryat Gat and is a mother of two daughters, who are her best teachers and her creative collaborators.
Gilad Kaneti produces and directs large-scale municipal events for Kivunim, the municipal organization for recreation and culture in Beer Sheva. In this capacity, he is responsible for strategic thinking, developing ideas for implementing events, event budgeting, and securing relevant permits. He has produced events such as the Beer Sheva Festival of Light, the Beer Sheva Wine Festival, championship celebrations for the Hapoel Beer Sheva football club, the Smilansky Street Festival, and the White Night festival. He is also a project manager for events for the elderly, and helps other departments with arranging events and activities in the community. Gilad holds a bachelor’s degree in communications, creativity, and criticism from Sapir Academic College. He lives in Meitar.
Shlomit Lazare is a social entrepreneur specializing in arts and crafts as a tool for social change and for personal growth. She works with diverse groups, including at-risk young women, women from the Bedouin-Arab community, elderly women, and more. She is the professional director of the Yafruk Hamidbar sewing workshop, a social business for women in the Bedouin-Arab village of Rahma conducted under the auspices of the Atid Bamidbar nonprofit organization. Shlomit holds a bachelor’s degree in textile design from Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in the arts at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where she is researching Ethiopian embroidery in Israel in light of Israel's social protests. She lives in Beer Sheva.
Issy Mamanov Nuriel is an actor, playwright, and director who serves as executive director and art director of the Negev Theater, a fringe theater group that aims to promote theater culture in the Western Negev and to establish itself nationally via collaborations with Israel’s leading theater companies. He is also the founder and director of the Almahabash Theater in Rahat, where he wrote and directed Abdu, a play about attitudes toward the Other in Bedouin-Arab culture. Issy’s work in theater often serves as a means for cultural research. His productions include Somewhere In Between, a play about gender that represented Israel at various festivals around the world, and The Kissufim Checkpoint, a community theater production in which women from Gush Katif spoke about their experiences shortly after being evicted from their homes during Israel’s disengagement from Gaza. Issy is a graduate of the Room Theater acting school and of the theater program at the Kibbutzim College of Education, where he also earned a teaching diploma. He also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in directing and writing from Tel Aviv University. Issy lives in Sde Nitzan.
Ktnani Marei has extensive experience in community work and in developing the field of culture and leisure in the Bedouin-Arab city of Rahat. For seven years, he directed the city’s unit for combating drug and alcohol abuse. He teaches young people in schools in Rahat and the surrounding region, using non-formal educational techniques and focusing on media and preventing drug and alcohol use. Previously, Ktnani served as the accessibility coordinator and the advertising and marketing coordinator at the Rahat Community Center. He has also volunteered in various programs. Ktnani was involved in the establishment of the Rahat Community Center and of the first music school in the Arab sector in the Negev. He has also worked as a news reporter and graphic artist for a local newspaper. Ktnani holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Al-Ahliyya Amman University (AAU) in Jordan, and has completed professional courses in group facilitation, event organization, and culture and art services. He lives in Rahat.
Adi Sagie is an independent interior designer. She works with the Beer Sheva municipality on the design of educational institutions, with the aim of changing approaches to space among education professionals and municipal officials. Adi also works with residents of Beer Sheva on “placemaking” – projects that involve communities and residents in the planning, design, and management of public spaces – and provides residents with relevant tools and knowledge. She participated in the Cultural Accelerator program in Beer Sheva, where she was involved in a community placemaking initiative that focuses on chain-link fences in public spaces. The initiative is based on an artistic model from the field of pixel art, and seeks to address the alienation caused by miles of chain-link fencing by creating connections between residents who live near the fences and the place itself. Adi is also a board member and community member of "Earth's Promise," a Beer Sheva nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing ecological agriculture. Adi holds a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the Holon Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in technology education from Tel Aviv University, where she also earned a teaching diploma in design. She lives in Beer Sheva.
Yael Savaya conducts research on adaptive neighborhoods in urban spaces, applying principles of urban diversity to the Israeli urban planning system. She is also active in promoting public art in the Pitchat Nitzana community in the Negev. Yael participated in the artist in residency program of the Redline art center in the Old City of Beer Sheva, a social lab for promoting art in the community. As part of her work as program leader for the Planning Administration of Israel’s Southern District, she advanced programs in rural areas designed to create planning frameworks for community, social, economic, and employment development. Yael is a doctoral student in the department of geography and environmental development at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in urban planning from the department of geography at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Yael’s research for her master’s degree examined the influence of the structure of urban spaces on residents’ mobility behaviors and feelings of belonging. She lives in Beer Milka.
Hagit Alush is an occupational therapist specializing in child development, who runs the developmental unit in Yeruham. She was a co-founder and co-manager of the early childhood leisure and community services in Yeruham, leading those activities for the first five years of operation. Hagit is a member of the board of directors of the nonprofit “Parents for a Different Education in Yeruham.” She was also a co-founder of the Shachar track for integrative Montessori education in Yeruham, which was founded in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the local council. Hagit holds a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, and a master’s degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Schwartz Program in Early Childhood Studies, with a specialization in early childhood policy and community.
Over the last decade, Ben Arviv has gained extensive experience as a community and social entrepreneur, working on a range of urban projects throughout the Negev. This experience includes coordination of the Open Apartments project; management of the Produce of the Land project in the southern region; Hashula, a second-hand store in Sderot; Tachles, a series of cultural events in Netivot; and MashtelOz, a social gardening center on Kibbutz Nachal Oz. Ben is the chair of the Union of Junior Faculty Members at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and has been a member of the organization’s board of governors for the last five years. He serves as a consultant to Weem, a community real estate project that provides shared living spaces in Beer Sheva. He has gained extensive experience in Jewish advocacy work with Stand With Us, and is an expert in projects to develop community tourism. The latter include the creation of community walking tours in Rahat and the development of an income-generating tourism project for Tevel B’tzdek/Nyavik Sansar in Nepal. He has also coordinated various youth programs in Beer Sheva, including Al-Winn and Jamilla, run by the Israel Authority for Prevention of Violence, Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Ben holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the department of tourism at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Tsah Barak is the owner of Lula, a café in the Old City of Beer Sheva dedicated to promoting arts and culture in the Negev. The café provides free culture for all, offering free entry to a diverse range of events including gallery openings, concerts, lectures, boutique shows, Shabbat events, and more. A social activist, Tsah volunteers for Amcha, a nonprofit that supports Holocaust survivors in Israel, where he serves as a content marketing consultant to the director of the Beer Sheva branch, and hosts important events at the café, such as festival meals for lone survivors, and events such as Memory Salon, at which Holocaust survivors tell their stories of survival and rebirth. Tsah is also active in the Sha’ar Shivyon nonprofit, a social-educational and sports initiative, in which capacity he serves as a coach at the Hazon Ovadia school in Beer Sheva.
Moran Buganim Menahem has served as head of the community development department at the Dimona Center for Young Adults since 2018. The Center provides a variety of different services to young adults and demobilized soldiers up to the age of 40. Her work includes creating and developing communities of young adults in Dimona, in order to strengthen the city’s resilience and encourage young adults to participate in social activism. Moran is also responsible for the Center’s culture and leisure activities, and organizes many events throughout the year. She is also a board member of the Forum of Organizations for Young Adults in the Negev. Previously, she was the social engagement coordinator at the Dimona Center for Young Adults. Moran holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration and policy from Sapir Academic College.
Shanie Ora Dotan recently returned from serving as a senior emissary for the Jewish Agency for Israel, having managed the Israel Engagement department at the Jewish Federation of Montreal for four years. In this capacity, she founded and directed the community’s year-long service program, and worked with volunteers, engaged in content development, and provided support to dozens of the community’s various institutions. Shanie has over a decade’s experience in experiential education. She directed youth leadership activities as part of the partnership between Beer Sheva, the Bnei Shimon regional council, and the Montreal Jewish community, and served as the national coordinator mentor for the international Diller Teen Fellows program. Shanie holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and education, and a master’s degree in administration, society, and education, both from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Khalid El Krinawi leads educational programs and projects, initiates innovative processes in the local education system, and develops talented human capital. Previously, he worked as a teacher and coordinator in both the formal and informal education systems; as the Ministry of Education’s liaison for independent education in the Bedouin sector; as the Rahat community center’s cultural coordinator; and as a committee member in the Rahat education system. Khalid is a member of Friends of Hi-Tech High (HTH) Israel, which works to connect all schools, organizations, and people working to promote education in the spirit of American Hi-Tech High in Israel. He has participated in a Hi-Tech High delegation to San Diego and in national and international conferences on education. Khalid holds a master’s degree in teaching and learning from the Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, and is currently studying for a doctorate in management at the Free International University of Moldova (ULIM).
Noam is a teacher and educator who serves as the rabbi of the AMIT Oriya religious girls’ high school in Beer Sheva. Previously, he headed a beit midrash (religious studies program) for men and a parallel program for women students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and was a homeroom teacher at the Or Otniel yeshiva high school. In recent years, Noam has been researching the halakhic and philosophical writings of North African rabbis in modern times, and has been active in the social aspect of rabbinical work. He is a graduate of the hesder program at Yeshivat Or Etzion, the kollel program at Beit Moriah, and the Merchav program at Memizrach Shemesh. Noam holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Hemdat Hadarom Academic College of Education, and a master’s degree in Jewish philosophy from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Hadas Levi Billig is the head of programs at the Cyber Education Center. The programs she leads serve youth from Israel’s geosocial periphery (the Magshimim program and the Startech program), and include programs designed especially for young women (the Mamriot and Cyber Club programs). As part of her work, Hadas is developing an organization for graduates of these programs. Previously, she directed the Magshimim and Startech programs from their launch until they were well established. Hadas holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Mandel Social Leadership track at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Shir Luzzatto is an account manager for strategic clients in the corporate division of El Al Airlines, where she is responsible for developing and managing business strategy, managing profit-and-loss units, business development, and innovation. She is a co-founder of the Street in Her Name initiative, which works to counter the marginalization of women in Israel’s public space, and of Eden 19, an accelerator for emerging professions in the Western Negev. She is also an active volunteer in resource development and profit-oriented business strategy for the Eden home for girls at risk in Kibbutz Karmia. Shir holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from Tel Aviv University.
Adir Matityahu is the director of a unique community center that specializes particularly in early childhood education. Previously, he was the head of leadership programs for the city of Beer Sheva, ran the municipal student council, and managed the city’s team of young counselors, under the auspices of the youth department of Kivunim, the municipal corporation for recreation and leisure. Adir holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a teaching diploma in science and technology from the Hemdat Hadarom Academic College of Education.
Gal Misholy develops and leads educational projects. She founded the unit for 18-21 year-olds in the youth department of Kivunim, the municipal organization for recreation and culture in Beer Sheva. Gal is a graduate of the Kibbutz Movement’s Shvilim program for Zionism and social justice; she also plays an active role in the Yahav program for humanities studies offered as part of the movement’s civic service year program. Gal is the commander of a reserve company in the IDF Education and Youth Corps, and is a graduate of the Nachshon and Lachish pre-military academies, where she was both a student and a counselor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Jewish philosophy and State of Israel studies (cum laude) from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Ofir Naftaly Natan is the coordinator of youth movements and organizations for the youth department of Kivunim, the municipal corporation for recreation and culture in Beer Sheva. Previously, he was chair of the student union at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He served for three years as a member of the board of directors of the National Union of Israeli Students, and participated in various forums and committees at Ben-Gurion University and in the city of Beer Sheva. For two years, Ofir was head of social engagement at the Ben-Gurion University Student Union, in which capacity he worked to involve students in the Beer Sheva community during and after their studies. He has a diverse background in informal education, and completed a year of civic service on behalf of the Tzofim (Israel Scouts) movement. Ofir holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, anthropology, and State of Israel studies from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Sahar Rimer is an animal rights activist who was formerly the activities coordinator for the Vegan Students’ Association at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She is an account manager for a software company that specializes in the management of small and medium businesses. Her academic studies have focused on theories of social movements and on social change organizations, particularly animal rights organizations. Sahar holds a bachelor’s degree in management, sociology, and anthropology from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where she is currently completing a master’s degree in sociology and anthropology, with a specialization in organizational sociology.
Yitzhak Ross is the Ministry of Education’s supervisor of Land of Israel studies and chair of the field trip committee in Israel’s southern region. In this capacity, he promotes the teaching of Land of Israel studies, advances young leadership in this field, and is responsible for all school field trips in the region. Previously, Yizhak was a teacher, guide, and member of national staff teams in the field of Land of Israel studies. He has led youth delegations to Poland and Germany, and taught Land of Israel studies for three years at the Tarbut School in Mexico as an emissary of the Jewish Agency for Israel. He was also a basketball referee, and served as a volunteer referee at basketball tournaments to commemorate fallen soldiers, and promoted social and educational goals in the community on a voluntary basis. Yitzhak holds a bachelor’s degree and a teaching diploma in geography and Bible, and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Yael Sherby Hurwitz is a resource and content developer for Ohr Torah Stone, a modern Orthodox network of 27 institutions. As part of her work, she assists women whose husbands refuse to grant them a get (religious divorce settlement) and promotes programs for women that combine Torah study and enlistment in the IDF. Yael is a member of Be’erot, a cooperative religious community that combines the observance of Jewish law with values of feminism and equality. In the past, she worked in resource development for various organizations in the Negev, including the Eden nonprofit and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Yael holds a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in publishing from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Iris Tuvia is a social worker who directs the activities of ELAH, a nonprofit that provides social and emotional support, in Southern Israel. Previously, she was the director of ELAH’s center for families coping with loss following a violent death, and has remained active on this issue, helping families on a volunteer basis. Iris is also an active volunteer for One of My Own, a nonprofit that supports lone soldiers after they complete their IDF service, and is involved in several other volunteering initiatives in the Negev. Previously, she was involved in community work at Midreshet Ben-Gurion, the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council, and the High School for Environmental Studies in Sde Boker. Iris holds a diploma in family and couples therapy from the TELEM Institute and is an expert in bereavement and loss counseling. She has over three decades of experience in therapy, counseling, group facilitation, and support for families and professional staffs. Iris holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Tel Aviv University.
Michael Van Straten is the director of the herd health and epidemiology department at Hachaklait, a cooperative association providing veterinary services. His work involves data analysis and consulting to cattle farms, investigating outbreaks in livestock, and providing consulting and training to veterinarians and cattle-breeders in Israel and around the world. Michael founded and ran a mobile clinic that provides veterinary services for camels, goats, and sheep to the Bedouin community of the Negev. He teaches at the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and volunteers for the Israel Camel Breeders Association as coordinator of veterinary and scientific activities. Michael holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, and a doctorate in epidemiology from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Attorney Hagar Almagor Wachsman heads the office of the southern district commander of the Israel Police. Previously, she 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 is head of quality and process improvement at Hazera – Limagrain. In this capacity, he leads multicultural workshops that aim to promote organizational excellence and process improvement, to implement new tools, and to improve organizational culture. In addition, he heads the social responsibility and involvement activities in his community. He also 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 increase community resilience in the region. 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 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 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.
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 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 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 is a prosecutor who represents the State of Israel in serious criminal cases in courts in the southern district. 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, and lectured on integrated economic enforcement at the National Police College. 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 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 Rica. In his role as kibbutz Be’eri’s secretary general, he has been a leading voice in the struggle of Gaza border residents for quiet and security. He currently works for the Kibbutz movement as an advisor to cooperative kibbutzim. He also 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. Yaniv 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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 history and civics at the Ulpanat Bnei Akiva religious high school for girls in Beer Sheva, and trains students in teaching history and Land of Israel studies at Herzog College. In the past, she served as a pedagogical instructor in history teaching on behalf of the Ministry of Education. 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 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.
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