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 Foundation

Lisa Eisen is President of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation’s U.S. Jewish Portfolio, including its Jewish and Israel Education grantmaking, the Schusterman Fellowship and the REALITY program. In this capacity, 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.

Lisa also leads initiatives to advance women’s rights and empower women and girls around the world. She founded the SafetyRespectEquity Coalition, which promotes women’s leadership and addresses sexual harassment and gender discrimination in Jewish workplaces, and she serves on its Executive Committee.

Lisa was founding board chair of Repair the World, the Israel on Campus Coalition and the iCenter, and continues to serve on their national boards. She also serves on the boards of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), the Israel Institute, BBYO and OLAM.

Lisa has helped to expand the Foundation’s Jewish and Israel grantmaking over the past 18 years, serving as its National Director and then as Vice President. Prior to joining the Foundation, 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 Washington 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, women's rights and leadership. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a Bachelors 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. Lisa and her husband, Mitch, have three children, Ariella, Tamar and Jonah. Lisa is a certified yoga teacher, and she enjoys vinyasa and ashtanga yoga, community service, trekking and international travel.

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

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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

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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.

Dr. Fania Oz-Salzberger

Full Bio

Director, The Posen Forum for Jewish European and Israeli Political Thought, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa

Fania Oz-Salzberger is Professor of History at the Faculty of Law and the Center for German and European Studies, as well as the founding Director of the Posen Research Forum for Political Thought, at the University of Haifa. From 2007-2012 she was the Leon Liberman Chair in Modern Israel Studies at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilization, Monash University. Prior to that, from 2009-2010, she was the Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Her books include Translating the Enlightenment: Scottish Civic Discourse in Eighteenth Century Germany (Oxford, 1995), Israelis in Berlin (Jerusalem, 2001; Frankfurt am Main, 2001), and recently Jews and Words (Yale, 2012)co-authored with Amos Oz. She has published numerous essays on the history of ideas and political thought, most recently on translation in the European Enlightenment, on the biblical sources of John Locke and on languages and literacy in early modern Europe. She earned a B.A. and M.A., summa cum laude, from Tel Aviv University and a D.Phil. from Oxford University.

Dr. Derek Penslar

Full Bio

William Lee Frost Professor of Modern Jewish History, Harvard University

Derek Penslar is the William Lee Frost Professor of Modern Jewish History at Harvard University. He previously taught at Indiana University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Oxford, where he was the inaugural holder of the Stanley Lewis Chair in Modern Israel Studies. Penslar is author or editor of ten books, including: Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe (2001); Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective (2006); The Origins of Israel: A Documentary History (2011); Jews and the Military: A History (2013); and Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader (forthcoming in Yale University Press’ "Jewish Lives” series. He is currently writing a book titled Zionism: An Emotional State for Rutgers University Press’ series on Keywords in Jewish Studies. Penslar co-edits The Journal of Israeli History and serves on the board of directors of the Association for Israel Studies. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and President of the American Academy for Jewish Research.

Dr. Yoram Peri

Full Bio

Director, Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, University of Maryland




Yoram Peri is the Abraham S. and Jack Kay Chair in Israel Studies, and Director of the new Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. He is a former political advisor to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, founder and former Head of the Chaim Herzog Institute for Media, Politics and Society, and Professor at Tel Aviv University. He is also the former editor-in-chief of the Israeli daily Davar. Since 2011, he has served as the editor of Israel Studies Review, the academic journal of the Association for Israel Studies. Among his publications are Generals in the Cabinet Room (2006), The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin (2000), Between Battles and Ballots: Israel Military in Politics (1985), Telepopulism: Media and Politics in Israel (2004), and Brothers at War: Rabin’s Assassination and the Cultural war in Israel (2005). His latest book, Generals in the Cabinet Room: How the Military Shapes Israeli Policy, published in May 2006, was selected as “an outstanding book and as one of the best of the best” by the Association of American University Press. He earned his M.A. from the Hebrew University and his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

Dr. Elie Rekhess

Full Bio

Crown Visiting Professor in Israel Studies, Associate Director for Israel Studies, Professor of History, Northwestern University

Elie Rekhess is the Crown Visiting Professor in Israel Studies at Northwestern University and Associate Director for Israel Studies within the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies. Concurrently, Professor Rekhess is a Senior Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University. From 1995 to 2010, he founded and directed the Program on Jewish-Arab Cooperation in Israel sponsored by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. A historian of the contemporary Middle East, his fields of expertise include the Arab Minority and Jewish-Arab relations; in Israel, Islamic resurgence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli-Arab conflict, and Palestinian politicsHe has authored and edited more than 13 books, the most recent of which is entitled Muslim Minorities in Non-Muslim Majority States (2011). Professor Rekhess served as a Strategic Advisor to Prime Minister Ehud Barak and as an Advisor to the Ministerial Committee on the Arabs in Israel. He earned a Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University.

Prof. Jonathan Sarna

Full Bio

Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies

Dr. Jonathan Sarna is University Professor and the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History and Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. He is also past president of the Association for Jewish Studies and Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

Dubbed by The Forward newspaper in 2004 as one of America's fifty most influential American Jews, he was Chief Historian for the 350th commemoration of the American Jewish community and is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life. In 2009, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds four honorary degrees.

Born in Philadelphia, and raised in New York and Boston, Dr. Sarna attended Brandeis University, the Boston Hebrew College, Merkaz HaRav Kook in Jerusalem, and Yale University, where he obtained his doctorate in 1979.

From 1979-1990, Dr. Sarna taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, where he rose to become Professor of American Jewish history and Director of the Center for the Study of the American Jewish Experience. He has also taught at Harvard, Yale, the University of Cincinnati, and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Dr. Sarna came back to Brandeis in 1990 to teach American Jewish history in its Department of Near Eastern & Judaic Studies. He chaired that department three different times, chaired Brandeis' Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program twice, and now directs its Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. He also chairs the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati. He is married to Professor Ruth Langer, and they have two married children, Aaron and Leah.

Dr. Anita Shapira

Full Bio

Professor Emerita, Tel Aviv University; Founder, Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies, Tel Aviv University

Anita Shapira is Professor Emerita in Jewish History at Tel Aviv University as well as the Founder of the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies. She specializes in the history of Zionism, the Jewish community in Palestine and the state of Israel, with an emphasis on cultural, social and intellectual history. She has published numerous books and articles, among them Berl Katznelson, A Biography of a Socialist Zionist (1984), Land and Power, The Zionist Resort to Force, 1881-1948 (1992), Yigal Allon, Native Son (2008), and Israel – A History (2013). Her newest books include, Ben Gurion: The Founder of Modern Israel (2014) and Yosef Hiam Brenner: A Life (2014). Professor Shapira has received numerous academic and professional awards and fellowships from Israeli and foreign universities, including Yale, Brandeis, City University of New York, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, the Oxford Center for Jewish Studies, Columbia University, and others. She is the 2008 Israel Prize for Jewish History laureate. Recently, she won the National Jewish Book Award for her book “Israel: A History,” the Washington Institute for the Middle East Studies Silver Award for her biography of David Ben Gurion, and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Israel Studies from the Association for Israel Studies and the Israel Institute. She received her B.A. and M.A., cum laude, and Ph.D., summa cum laude, in History and Jewish History from Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Colin Shindler

Full Bio

Emeritus Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Colin Shindler is Emeritus Professor and the first Professor of Israel Studies in the United Kingdom. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in the UK. His first career was lecturing in chemistry while editing the Jewish Quarterly. He has taught numerous courses at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and his research interests include Israel and the far left in Europe as well as the history and evolution of the Israeli right. He is the author of nine books relating to Israel, including Israel and the European Left: Between Solidarity and Delegitimisation (2012), Israel, Likud and the Zionist Dream (1995) and The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right (2006). An updated second edition of his History of Modern Israel was published in December 2012. He edited Israel and the World Powers – a collection of essays by international scholars – and this was published in 2014. Cambridge University Press published his latest book, The Rise of the Israeli Right: From Odessa to Hebron in 2015. He has also written for the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian and Ha’aretz. He is the founding chair of the European Association of Israel Studies. Professor Shindler holds an M.Sc. from the University of North London and a Ph.D. from Middlesex University.


Dr. Kenneth W. Stein

Full Bio

Founding Director, Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, Emory University; Founding President, CIE

Dr. Kenneth W. Stein is Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History and Political Science, as well as the Founding Director of the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel at Emory University and the Founding President of the Center for Israel Education (CIE) in Atlanta . He has taught at Emory since 1977 and in 2006 was a Visiting Professor of Political Science at Brown University. At Emory he has earned university wide recognition for internationalizing the curriculum, mentoring students, and teaching excellence. His scholarship focuses on the origins and development of modern Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and US relations with Israel and the Arab world. Two of his works remain standards in their fields, The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939 (1984) and Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace (1999). In 2015, he published an e-book (second edition) History, Politics and Diplomacy of the Arab- Israeli-Conflict, A Source Reader (425 documents/1400 pages.) During the last decade he has led dozens of Israel enrichment workshops and seminars reaching more than 2200 pre-collegiate Jewish teachers and rabbis, reaching some 360,000 students in North and South America. He completed advanced graduate work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and earned his graduate degrees at the University of Michigan.

Prof. Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi

Full Bio

Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Prof. Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi is a sociologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Between the years 2012-2016, she served as the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and was the first woman to hold this position. She holds a position of Faculty Fellow at the Center for Cultural Studies at Yale University. Her major academic interest revolves around issues of collective memory and commemoration and, specifically, the ways in which societies cope with their difficult pasts and shameful histories. She published her books with the University of Chicago Press, State University of New York Press, and University of Oxford Press. She is currently conducting a comparative research on home museums in Germany and Israel – funded by the German-Israel Foundation. She was born in Tel Aviv, lives in Ramat Gan, and is very familiar with Route 1.  


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

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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

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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. Ronald W. Zweig

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Director, Taub Center for Israel Studies, New York University

Ronald W. Zweig is the Taub Chair of Israel Studies at New York University and Director of the Taub Center for Israel Studies. He is also the director of the Meyers Paths to Peace program at N.Y.U. Previously Professor Zweig was the director of the Institute for Research in the History of Zionism at Tel Aviv University. He has also been a Visiting Professor at several universities, as well as a Visiting Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge; Yad Vashem, Jerusalem and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Zweig has published three books and many scholarly articles, and edited three collections of essays. From 1983-2000, he edited the Journal of Israeli History, and was also the editor of the online edition of the Palestine Post (1932-1950), a retrospective newspaper digitization project. He earned a Ph.D. in Modern History from the University of Cambridge, England.



Dr. Ariel Ilan Roth

Executive Director

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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

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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

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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

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Associate Director, Grants Management

Noa Levanon Klein is a doctoral candidate in the Conflict Management department at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where she studies negotiations between state governments and non-state actors. Her other research interests include post-conflict reconciliation, international intervention, and conflict at holy sites. Prior to moving to Washington, Noa worked in Israeli media and served as a lieutenant in the Israel Defense Forces in a unit responsible for military-to-military cooperation. She holds an A.B. from Princeton University and an M.A. from the departments of International Relations and Conflict Research, Management & Resolution at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

Dr. Ilai Saltzman

Associate Director, Academic Programs

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Associate Director for Academic Programs

Ilai Saltzman is Associate Director for Academic Programs of the Israel institute. He previously served as a visiting professor at Claremont McKenna College where he taught classes on International Relations theory, U.S. foreign policy, and Israeli foreign and security policy. In the past, he has also taught at the International Relations (IR) department and the Rothberg International School (RIS) in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and at Tel Aviv University’s Political Science Department. Dr. Saltzman was a research fellow at the International Security Program (ISP), Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2010-2011). He is the author of Securitizing Balance of Power Theory: A Polymorphic Reconceptualization (2012), which identified and contextualized different patterns of counterbalancing emerging threats. Dr. Saltzman published articles in professional academic journals such as Foreign Policy Analysis, Orbis, Contemporary Security Policy, and International Studies Review. Ilai earned an M.A. in International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (magna cum laude) and a Ph.D. with a focus on international security from the University of Haifa.

Flo Low

Associate Director, Academic and Arts Programs

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Associate Director, Academic and 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.

Jill Wyler

Representative in Israel

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Representative in Israel

Jill Wyler is the Israel Institute Representative in Israel. Jill holds a B.A in international relations and German language and literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an M.A in international relations, with a focus on diplomacy and foreign policy, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Prior to working at the Israel Institute, Jill was the electronic program guide director at Dori Media and a liaison with the cable company “Hot." Jill was born and raised in Switzerland and is fluent in German, English, and Hebrew.