President Emeritus & Counsel

Amb. Itamar Rabinovich

President Emeritus and Counsel

Full Bio

President Emeritus and Counsel; former Ambassador of Israel to the U.S. and Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University

Amb. Itamar Rabinovich, the president of the Israel Institute, is Israel's former ambassador to the United States and former chief negotiator with Syria in the mid 1990's as well as the former president of Tel Aviv University (1999-2007). Currently he is professor emeritus of Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University, distinguished global professor at New York University, and a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution. Rabinovich has been a member of Tel Aviv University's faculty since 1971 and served as the Ettinger Professor of the Contemporary History of the Middle East, Chairman of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, Director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Dean of Humanities, and Rector. He is the Vice Chairman of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), an external institute of Tel Aviv University, and a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center. He is co-editor of the Center's new review journal, Bustan.

Rabinovich is the author of six books on the Modern History and Politics of the Middle East and the co-author and co-editor of several other volumes and he is the author of numerous essays and papers. His most recent books are Yitzhak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman (Jewish Lives) (Yale University Press, March 2017), The View from Damascus (updated, paperback edition, London, September 2011), and The Lingering Conflict: Israel, The Arabs, and The Middle East (Brookings Institution Press, December 2011).

Over the years, Rabinovich has held several public positions in Israel and in other countries. He is currently Chairman of the Board of the Dan David Foundation, a member of the Advisory Council of APCO WORLDWIDE, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Wexner-Israel Program, a member of the Trilateral Commission, a member of the International Advisory Board of the Brookings Institution in Washington, and a member of the International Advisory Board of The American Interest. He has also held visiting appointments in several academic institutions, including the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Toronto. He was, for several years, the Andrew White Professor at Large at Cornell University, and has recently served as a visiting professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and at the Hoover Institution

Amb. Rabinovich is a member of the American Philosophical Society and a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been awarded the Honorary Grand Golden Cross of the Austrian Republic and has been made by the Government of the French Republic a Commandeur l'ordre des Palmes Académiques. In 2009, he was awarded the Korn-Gerstenman Prize for contribution to peace in the Middle East.

Board of Directors

Amb. Daniel Shapiro

Chair, Board of Directors

Full Bio

Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies

Daniel Shapiro was named Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies in March 2017, following a a diverse career of over 20 years in senior foreign policy and national security positions in the United States government.

He was appointed by President Obama to be United States Ambassador to Israel, a position he held from July 2011 until the end of the Obama Administration. He won praise from leaders of both countries for his deft management of the U.S.-Israel relationship during Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, the Iran nuclear agreement, regional instability, and periods of significant bilateral tension and disagreement. Among his major contributions were negotiating the $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding for U.S. military aid to Israel, unprecedented public outreach in fluent Hebrew to Israel’s diverse communities, and 40 percent growth in U.S.-Israel trade.

He previously served as Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa on the National Security Council, in which he served as a member of Special Envoy George Mitchell’s team, led U.S. diplomatic efforts in Syria and Lebanon, and advised President Obama through the early months of the upheavals in Arab states in 2011. He also served in numerous senior advisory positions in the U.S. Congress, including with Senator Bill Nelson of Florida and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, and on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

He holds degrees from Brandeis University and Harvard University. He is married to Julie Fisher and they have 3 daughters.

Sender Cohen

Full Bio

President, Schusterman Family Interests

Sender Cohen is the President of Schusterman Family Interests, the investment office for the Schusterman family and their foundations. Previously, Mr. Cohen was President of Soros Capital, the family office of Robert Soros, and prior to that he was the Director of Research and Head of External Allocations at Soros Fund Management. Mr. Cohen is a trustee of Yeshiva University and the co-founder of the Natan Fund. He lives in NYC with his wife and four children.

Prof. Steven Davidoff Solomon

Full Bio

Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Center for Law, Business, and the Economy, University of California, Berkeley

Steven Davidoff Solomon is Professor of Law and Faculty Director at UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Business, and the Economy. Solomon, a specialist in corporate law, writes a weekly column for the New York Times on corporate issues and is the author of Gods at War: Shotgun Takeovers, Government by Deal and the Private Equity Implosion. He has been thrice named as one of the 100 most influential people in the United States corporate boardroom community by the National Association of Corporate Directors. Prior to entering academia, he practiced as an attorney with the law firms Shearman & Sterling (New York and London offices) and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London office). He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in finance from the London Business School, and a JD from Columbia University School of Law.

Professor Solomon is on the Executive Board of the Academic Engagement Network, which works with professors and university staff on countering anti-semitism and delegitimization of Israel on U.S. campuses. He is also Chair of the Chancellor’s Committee on Jewish Life at U.C. Berkeley, a committee which advises the Chancellor on issues related to the Jewish community. He actively volunteers in the Jewish community and has served as treasurer of U.C. Berkeley Hillel, treasurer of Agudas Achim Synagogue in Columbus, Ohio, and as treasurer of a Jewish Day School.

Lisa Eisen

Full Bio

President, U.S. Jewish Portfolio, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies

Lisa Eisen is Co-President of Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies and leads our U.S. Jewish, and Gender and Reproductive Equity Portfolios.

Lisa spearheads efforts to strengthen the Jewish community by supporting initiatives around the world that engage young Jews in service and social action, help people experience and learn about Israel and support efforts to welcome all who seek to participate in Jewish life. In this capacity, she oversees our Jewish and Israel Education grantmaking, Schusterman Fellowship and REALITY program. 

Lisa also leads initiatives to advance gender and reproductive equity, as well as empower women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. She founded the Safety Respect Equity Network, which promotes women’s leadership and addresses sexual harassment and gender discrimination in Jewish workplaces, and she chairs the Advisory Board. She is a member of the Global Leadership Board for TIME’S UP Foundation and TIME’S UP Now, organizations that fight for safe, fair and dignified work for all. She also serves on the Advisory Committee of the Collaborative for Gender + Reproductive Equity, which mobilizes funders to protect and advance gender and reproductive equity.

Lisa was founding board chair of Repair the World and the iCenter, and she continues to serve on their national boards. She was also the founding board chair of the Israel on Campus Coalition. Lisa serves on the boards of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), Leading Edge, the Israel Institute and OLAM. Lisa has helped to expand Schusterman’s grantmaking over the past 19 years, serving as its National Director and then as Vice President. Prior to joining the organization, she served for nine years as Executive Director of Project Interchange Seminars in Israel, an institute of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). She has also held positions as AJC Area Assistant Director and as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Bart Gordon.

Lisa is a frequent presenter in the fields of philanthropy, Jewish service, Israel education, and women's rights and leadership. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and earned her Master of Arts degree with honors in Israeli and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The proud mother of three adult children, Lisa is a certified yoga teacher, and she enjoys vinyasa yoga, community service, trekking and international travel.


Jehuda Reinharz

Full Bio

President Emeritus, Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History, and Director of the Tauber Institute, Brandeis University; President, Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation

Jehuda Reinharz was born in Haifa, Israel, in 1944. He received his high school education in Germany and immigrated to the United States as a teenager in 1961. Dr. Reinharz earned concurrent bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He earned his master’s degree in medieval Jewish history from Harvard University in 1968 and his doctorate in modern Jewish history from Brandeis University in 1972.

From 1972 to 1982, he was professor of Jewish history at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). In 1982, he became the Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Two years later, he was named Director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry at Brandeis and eight years later founded the Jacob and Libby Goodman Institute for the Study of Zionism and Israel. From 1991 to 1994, Dr. Reinharz served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. In 1994, he became the seventh president of Brandeis University. In January 2011, Dr. Reinharz assumed the presidency of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.

Dr. Reinharz is the author or co-author of more than one hundred articles and thirty-one books in various languages. His Jew in the Modern World, (3rd edition 2011), co-edited with Paul Mendes-Flohr, is one of the most widely adopted college texts in modern Jewish history. His two-volume biography of Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, has won many prizes in Israel and the United States and his book, coauthored with the late Ben Halpern, entitled Zionism and the Creation of a New Society, was published in 1998 and re-issued in a revised paperback edition in 2000. He co-authored books with Professor Yaacov Shavit -- Darwin and His Kind (published in Hebrew in 2009), Glorious, Accursed Europe (published in 2010), which analyzes the relationship of Jews to Europe from the 18th century to the present and The Scientific God, which deals with popular science in Eastern Europe in the second half of the 19th century (published in Hebrew in 2011). In 2013, Reinharz co-authored The Road to September 1939 (published in Hebrew and in English in 2018) with Yaacov Shavit, as well as Die Sprache der Judenfeindschaft im 21.Jahrhundert, co-authored with Monika SchwarzFriesel. Most recently, Dr. Reinharz co-wrote a book on the history of the donkey in literature (with Professor Yaacov Shavit). The book, The Donkey: A Cultural History, was published in Hebrew (2014). The third and final volume of the biography of Chaim Weizmann, written with Professor Motti Golani of Tel Aviv University, has been published in Hebrew by Am Oved (2020).

Dr. Reinharz is the recipient of eight honorary doctorates. In 1992, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In 1995, Dr. Reinharz was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1999 he was elected a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as chairman of the International Board of the Weizmann Institute of Science from 2018 to 2021 and serves on a number of other boards and advisory committees.

Mark G. Yudof

Full Bio

Professor Emeritus, School of Law, UC Berkeley

Mark G. Yudof, who served as the 19th president of the University of California from June 2008 through September 2013, is a Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and on the Board of Governors for the University of Haifa and the Technion.
He served as chancellor of the University of Texas System from August 2002 to May 2008, and as president of the four-campus University of Minnesota from 1997 to 2002. Before that, he served as dean of the law school at the University of Texas at Austin from 1984 to 1994, and as the University's executive vice president and provost from 1994 to 1997.
President Emeritus Yudof is a renowned authority on constitutional law, freedom of expression and education law. A Philadelphia native, he earned both LL.B. and B.A. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2013, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion awarded him an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Advisory Board

Dr. Yael Aronoff

Full Bio

Michael and Elaine Serling and Friends Endowed Chair in Israel Studies

Yael Aronoff was elected President of the Association of Israel Studies for a two-year term at the end of June 2019. She has served on the Board of the Association of Israel Studies eight years, served on book, dissertation, and paper award committees as well as program committees for the AIS. She was book review editor for Israel Studies Review 2011-2015.

Dr. Aronoff is the Director of the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel and is the Serling Chair in Israel Studies at Michigan State University. She teaches in James Madison College, where Dr. Aronoff is Associate Professor of Political Science. Dr. Aronoff’s book, The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard Liners Opt for Peace, was published by Cambridge University Press (2014) and she is co-editing a book with Dr. Ilan Peleg and Dr. Saliba Sarsar entitled, Continuity and Change in Political Culture: Israel and Beyond as well as completing a book manuscript on The Dilemmas of Asymmetric Conflicts: Navigating Deterrence and Democratic Constraints. Dr. Aronoff has published in Foreign Policy, Israel Studies, Israel Studies Review, and Political Science Quarterly. Her most recent publications are the “The Zionist Center-Left Opposition to the Netanyahu Governments,” in Israel Under Netanyahu: Domestic Politics and Foreign Affairs, ed. Robert Freedman, Routledge forthcoming in 2019 and her chapter “Israeli Prime Ministers: Transforming the Victimhood Discourse,” in The Victimhood Discourse in Contemporary Israel, Ed. Ilan Peleg, Roman & Littlefield, 2019. Dr. Aronoff was awarded the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award in 2011 and the MSU John K. Hudzik Emerging Leader in Advancing International Studies and Programs Award in 2015. She has given over 100 public lectures and is a Lecturer in the Association of Jewish Studies Distinguished Lectureship Program.

Dr. Rifat Azam

Full Bio

Associate Professor of Law, Harry Radzyner School of Law, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya

Rifat Azam is an Associate Professor of Law at Harry Radzyner School of Law at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, where he researches and teaches in the fields of Israeli Tax law, International Taxation, Constitutional Law, Cyberspace Law, Digital Economy and E-commerce. Prior to joining the IDC, he filled the position of legal assistant to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel Prof. Aharon Barak (1998-2006). He was appointed by the Chief Justice to inquire in The Commission of Inquiry into the Clashes Between Security Forces and Israeli Citizens in October 2000. Dr. Azam completed his studies Cum Laude at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Law in 2006 (LLB, LLM, LLD), Harvard Law School (Visiting Researcher 2004) and The University of Michigan School of Law (Michigan Grotius Visiting Scholar 2007). He taught at Columbia Law School a seminar on the Role of the Israeli Supreme Court in Democracy (2015-2016) as an Israel Institute visiting faculty. He was a visiting professor at Washington University in St. Louis school of law and taught e-commerce taxation and comparative constitutional law in 2017-2018. He published a book on International Taxation of E-commerce (2013), A groundbreaking proposal on Global Taxation of E-commerce, Virginia Tax Review (2012), and innovative thoughts on Cloudy with a chance of taxation, Florida Tax Review (2019) and several articles at leading law journals. Dr. Azam is active in the international community through top international meetings and conferences.

Dr. Lihi Ben Shitrit

Full Bio

Associate Professor, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia, Athens

Lihi Ben Shitrit is an associate professor at the School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia, Athens. Her research focuses on the intersections of gender, religion, and politics in the Middle East. She is the author of Righteous Transgressions: Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right (Princeton University Press, 2015) and Women and the Holy City: The Struggle over Jerusalem’s Sacred Space (Cambridge University Press, 2020) as well as numerous articles and book chapters. Her work has been supported by various fellowships including from the ACLS/Luce Religion, International Affairs and Journalism fellowship (2019-2020), Harvard Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative (2018-2019), University of Pennsylvania’s Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (2017), and Harvard Divinity School’s Women’s Studies in Religion Program (2013-2014). Ben Shitrit holds a Ph.D., M.Phil, and MA in political science from Yale University and a BA in Middle Eastern studies from Princeton University.

Dr. Michael Brenner

Full Bio

Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies, American University; Professor of Jewish History and Culture, University of Munich

Michael Brenner is Professor of Jewish History and Culture at the University of Munich and Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. He taught previously at Indiana and Brandeis University and was a visiting professor at numerous universities, including Haifa, Paris, Zurich, Stanford, Berkeley and Johns Hopkins. Professor Brenner’s latest book is a history of German Jewry from 1945 until today. He is also the author of seven other books, among them A Short History of the Jews (2010) and Zionism: A Brief History (2003), and has edited and co-edited fifteen books. He is the International President of the Leo Baeck Institute and an elected fellow of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and the Accademia Nazionale Virgiliana in Mantova. Professor Brenner serves on numerous advisory committees, including the DAAD Center at the University of Haifa and as chair of the Franz Rosenzweig Center at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Prof. Joanna Dyduch

Full Bio

Chair, Executive Committee, European Association of Israel Studies

Prof. Joanna Dyduch is lecturer at the Jagiellonian University in the Institute of the Middle and Far East. She completed her PhD in political science from Wrocław University. Joanna is an author of several scientific articles and books on foreign policy analysis and Europeanisation processes in the field of EU member states’ foreign policy as well as the EU external relations. Recently her research interest concentrates on European-Israeli relations, as well as Israel’s energy and invocation policy. In 2018 Joanna has co-edited Special Issue of the Polish Political Science Yearbook (47/2) on Israeli Studies.

Dr. Ehud Eiran

Full Bio

Senior Lecturer, International Relations, University of Haifa

Dr. Ehud (Udi) Eiran is a Senior Lecturer (US Associate Professor) of International Relations, University of Haifa (on leave 2020-2021). He is a Visiting Scholar, Department of Political Science, Stanford University, an affiliate of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford, and an Israel Institute Visiting Professor of Israel Studies, UC Berkeley. Previously, he held research appointments at Harvard Law School, Harvard's Kennedy School, and at Schusterman center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University and was a visiting lecturer in the Department of Political Science at MIT. Prior to academia, Eiran held a number of positions in the Israeli civil service including as Assistant to the Prime Minister's Foreign Policy Advisor. He is the author of two books and some fifty scholarly articles, book chapters, and policy briefs. His research interests include spatial, technological, and legal aspects of international conflict (mostly in the Arab-Israeli context), negotiation and conflict resolution, and maritime strategy. 

Dr. Jonathan Gribetz

Full Bio

Associate Professor, Near Eastern Studies and the Program in Judaic Studies, Princeton University

Jonathan Marc Gribetz is an associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies and in the Program in Judaic Studies. He teaches about the history of Zionism, Palestine, Israel, Jerusalem, and nationalism in the modern Middle East. His first book, Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter (Princeton University Press, 2014), investigated the mutual perceptions of Zionists and Arabs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, showing the prominent place of religious and racial categories in the ways in which these communities imagined and related to one another. Defining Neighbors was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2015. Gribetz is currently writing a book on the Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center. For the new book, tentatively titled Reading Herzl in Beirut: The PLO's Research on Judaism and Israel (under contract with Princeton University Press), Gribetz has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Before joining the Princeton faculty, Gribetz was an assistant professor of Jewish Studies and History at Rutgers University, a Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard University, a Wolfe Fellow in Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto, and an Amado Fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gribetz earned a PhD in History from Columbia University, an MSt in Modern Jewish Studies from Oxford University, and an AB in Social Studies from Harvard University

Dr. Rachel S. Harris

Full Bio

Associate Professor of Israeli Literature and Culture, Comparative and World Literature and the Program in Jewish Culture and Society, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Rachel S. Harris is Associate Professor of Israeli Literature and Culture in Comparative and World Literature and the Program in Jewish Culture and Society at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her recent publications include An Ideological Death: Suicide in Israeli Literature (2014) and Warriors, Witches, Whores: Women in Israeli Cinema (2017). She is the editor of Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict (2019), and co-editor of Narratives of Dissent: War in Contemporary Israeli Arts and Culture (2011) and Casting a Giant Shadow: The Transnational Shaping of Israeli Cinema (2021).

Prof. Ron Hassner

Full Bio

Chancellor's Professor of Political Science; Helen Diller Family Chair in Israel Studies; Faculty Director, Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, UC Berkeley

Ron Hassner is the Chancellor's Professor of Political Science and Helen Diller Family Chair in Israel Studies at the University of California Berkeley. He is also the faculty director of the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies and is the editor of the Cornell University Press book series “Religion and Conflict.” Prof. Hassner studies the role of ideas, practices, and symbols in international security with particular attention to the relationship between religion and violence.

Prof. Dov Waxman

Full Bio

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair in Israel Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Dov Waxman is a Professor and The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair in Israel Studies at UCLA, where he also directs the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. He joined the UCLA faculty in January 2020.

An award-winning teacher, he previously was professor of political science, international affairs, and Israel studies, and the Stotsky Professor of Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies at Northeastern University. He also co-directed the university’s Middle East Center. In addition, he taught at the City University of New York and Bowdoin College. He has also been a visiting fellow at Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Oxford University. Professor Waxman received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and his B.A. degree from Oxford University.

Professor Waxman's research focuses on the conflict over Israel-Palestine, Israeli politics and foreign policy, U.S.-Israel relations, American Jewry’s relationship with Israel, Jewish politics, and anti-Semitism. He is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and four books: The Pursuit of Peace and The Crisis of Israeli Identity: Defending / Defining the Nation (Palgrave, 2006), Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel (Princeton University Press, 2016), and most recently, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2019). He has also been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Atlantic Monthly, Salon, Foreign Policy, The Forward, and Ha’aretz, and he is a frequent commentator on television and radio.

Dr. Shayna Weiss

Full Bio

Associate Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University.

Dr. Shayna Weiss is the Associate Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. Previously, she was the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Israel Studies at the United States Naval Academy. Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, she earned her PhD from New York University in Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She completed postdoctoral fellowships in Israel at Bar Ilan University and Tel Aviv University, where she taught courses about Israeli history and society. Her research interests converge at the intersection of religion and gender in the Israeli public sphere, as well as the politics of Israeli popular culture. A popular public lecturer, Dr. Weiss also is frequently consulted by the media, most recently appearing in a French documentary titled Israel, terre de séries. Currently, she is completing a book on gender segregation in the Israeli public sphere and researching the rise of Israeli television in the global market.

Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes

Full Bio

Director, Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution

Tamara Cofman Wittes is Director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy. Dr. Wittes served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012. She also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions. Before joining the State Department, Dr. Wittes was a senior fellow in the Saban Center at Brookings, where she directed the Middle East Democracy and Development (MEDD) Project. She has also served as Middle East specialist at the U.S. Institute of Peace and taught courses in international relations and security studies at Georgetown University. Dr. Wittes is the author of Freedom’s Unsteady March: America’s Role in Building Arab Democracy (2008) and editor of How Israelis and Palestinians Negotiate: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Oslo Peace Process (2005). She was one of the first recipients of the Rabin-Peres Peace Award, established by President Bill Clinton in 1997. She holds a B.A. in Judaic and Near Eastern studies from Oberlin College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in government from Georgetown University.

Dr. Nechumi Yaffe

Full Bio

Faculty, Department of Public Policy, Tel Aviv University

Nechumi Yaffe is a faculty member in the Department of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University. She completed her postdoctoral research at Princeton University affiliated with the Daniel Kahneman Center of Behavioral Science and Public Policy, and the University Center for Human Values. Nechumi’s research examines, from a social psychology perspective, how identity, social norms, and authority play a role in creating and preserving poverty. Her work focuses on the ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) communities in Israel and USA. Before entering her doctoral program, she was an advisor for the Haredi educational system; she wrote the new curriculum in history and the history textbook used by all Israeli Haredi high schools. Nechumi earned a Ph.D. in political science from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is the first woman from Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community to achieve this position.


Dr. Ariel Ilan Roth

Executive Director

Full Bio

Executive Director

Ariel Ilan Roth is Executive Director of the Israel Institute. He previously served as Director of the Global Security Studies graduate program at Johns Hopkins University. He regularly teaches courses in military strategy and modern war for the Government program at Johns Hopkins, and his interests include Israeli strategic studies, U.S. foreign and defense policy and international relations theory. Ariel is an occasional commentator on foreign policy and security-related topics for both national and international newspapers. He is the author of Leadership in International Relations (2010), which examines the role of leaders in creating an effective balance of power, and articles in professional academic journals. He is a fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Advanced Governmental Studies and a veteran of the Israeli military. Ariel earned a B.A. from the Hebrew University and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Erika Falk

Chief Operating Officer and Program Director

Full Bio

Chief Operating Officer and Program Director

Erika Falk, PhD, is the chief operating officer (COO) and program director of the Israel Institute. Previously she was the founding executive director of the Executive Education Department at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, program director of the Master of Arts in Communication program at Johns Hopkins, and research director of the Washington office of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Falk has published many articles and two books. Her first book "Women for President: Media Bias in Nine Campaigns"​ is about how the media cover women candidates (2010, University of Illinois Press). Her second book, "Becoming a New Instructor: A Guide for College Adjuncts and Graduate Students"​ (2012, Routledge) is a step-by-step manual for first-time teachers. Falk earned her Ph.D. in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Master's degree in Speech Communication and a Bachelor's degree in Politics.

Kerren Marcus

Office Manager

Full Bio

Office Manager

Kerren Marcus is Office Manager of the Israel Institute. Prior to joining the Israel Institute, she spent two and a half years at Columbia University's Institute for Israel & Jewish Studies in New York City. While there, she worked on a number of programs and initiatives including a new undergraduate Israel summer fellowship program. She also honed her skills in office management, support of academic programs, and liaising with faculty, students and scholars from around the world.  Kerren brings a knowledge of the region and specifically a desire to work on promoting Israeli culture and society. She earned a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and an M.A. from Virginia Tech University in Global Security.

Noa Levanon Klein

Associate Director, Grants Management

Full Bio

Associate Director, Grants Management

Noa Levanon Klein is associate director at the Israel Institute, where she is responsible for grants. She holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Management from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), studying negotiations between state governments and non-state self-determination factions. She also holds an A.B. in English from Princeton University and a joint M.A. from the departments of International Relations and Conflict Research, Management & Resolution at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her other research interests include post-conflict reconciliation, conflict at holy sites, and Mizrahi communities in Israel. 

Flo Low

Associate Director, Arts Programs

Full Bio

Associate Director, Arts Programs

Flo Low completed her MFA in Theater Management from the Yale School of Drama and immediately served as the Associate General Manager of the La Jolla Playhouse, a Tony Award-winning professional non-profit theatre. In parallel, she founded LOW ALEKHA PRODUCTIONS, an independent arts initiative dedicated to projects that move hearts, change minds and inspire action. She produced a two-city reading tour of COME MY BELOVED, a new play about the shared history and future of black and Jewish communities in the United States, and is currently producing a devised piece that amplifies the personal stories and experiences of refugees in Israel. Flo served as the Associate Managing Director of the Yale School of Drama, where she was responsible for 15 productions as well as the international presenting series and special events at Yale Repertory Theatre. During her tenure, she presented the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company. She also served as Company Manager of Yale Repertory Theatre. Flo was appointed Managing Director of the Yale Summer Cabaret in 2015 and led the company during a record-breaking 2015 season. In Israel, Flo worked in the Director General’s office of the Education Department of the Jewish Agency; managed strategic projects in the Former Soviet Union Department of the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), and serves as a First Lieutenant (res.) in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Flo completed her IDF service after graduating magna cum laude from both Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, with degrees in Political Science and Women’s Studies, and Modern Jewish Studies, respectively. She is a proud member of the ROI Community, and believes passionately in the power of the arts to advance equity, diversity and inclusion.

Doni Remba

Communications Manager

Full Bio

Communications Manager

Doni Remba is the Communications Manager of the Israel Institute. He has been a communications and development consultant to nonprofit organizations for more than a decade. He served as Senior Foreign Press Editor and Translator in the Israel Prime Minister’s Office. An award-winning marketing and business development manager with several Fortune 100 corporations and high technology companies, he earned a B.A. with honors from the Hebrew University and did Ph.D. coursework in political philosophy at the University of Chicago. His research focused on the moral justification of democracy and norms in international law.