The Israel Institute is led by its founding president, Amb. Itamar Rabinovich. Rabinovich served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States and as chief negotiator with Syria from 1992 to 1996. Between 1999 and 2007, he was the president of Tel Aviv University. A renowned scholar of the Middle East, Rabinovich is currently a professor emeritus of Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University, a distinguished global professor at New York University, and a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Board of Directors

Amb. Itamar Rabinovich

President, Israel Institute

Full Bio

President; 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.

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.

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.

Irma Wallin

Full Bio

President, Wallin Group, Inc.

Irma R. Wallin is the President of Wallin Group, Inc., a business management consulting firm she established in 1994 with her late husband, Gary, specializing in direct mail fundraising for Jewish non-profits. She has been involved in direct mail marketing, assisting clients in both the United States and Israel since 1985. She is a past President of Temple Israel in Manchester, N.H., was a member of the United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership Cabinet, an Officer and Director of the Manchester Jewish Community Center, and the Director of the Jewish Federation of New
Hampshire. Ms. Wallin earned a B.S. from Hofstra University and an M.S. from Yeshiva University. She has two children, six grandchildren and resides in West Hartford, C.T.

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.

Ex Officio Members

Prof. Kenneth A. Bamberger

Full Bio

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Professor of Law; Faculty Director, Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, UC Berkeley

Kenneth A. Bamberger is the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Professor of Law at University of California in Berkeley, where he teaches Administrative Law, First Amendment (Religion and Speech), Technology and Governance, and Jewish Law. His legal research focuses on issues of governance, technology and corporate regulation, with a focus on the regulation of privacy, and he is a Faculty Director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. In April 2016, Bamberger and Berkeley Prof. Deirdre Mulligan were awarded the 2016 Privacy Leadership Award for their book, Privacy on the Ground: Driving Corporate Behavior in the US and Europe.  

Prof. Bamberger is the founding Faculty Director of the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, an interdisciplinary Institute that hosts Berkeley's Israel Studies Program. From 2013-2015, he also chaired UC Berkeley's Center for Jewish Studies and, during the 2015-2016 academic year, he was a Visiting Professor at Tel Aviv 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. Yoram Cohen

Full Bio

Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (CBE), UCLA

Dr. Yoram Cohen has been a Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) at UCLA since 1981.  He is also on the faculty of the Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, UCLA Luskin Scholar, Director of the Water Technology Research (WaTeR), Director of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, and co-founder of the UCLA/NSF Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN). He is a UCLA Luskin Scholar and Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair. Dr. Yoram Cohen received his B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., in 1975 and 1977, respectively, both in Chemical Engineering, from the University of Toronto, and his Ph.D. in 1981 from the University of Delaware. He is a recognized expert in the areas of, graft polymerization, nanoinformatics, membrane separation processes, water purification and desalination, energy optimization for water treatment processes, water and agriculture and environmental impact assessment, with over 230 published research papers and book chapters. Dr. Cohen has contributed to policy and regulatory efforts focused on environmental protection. He developed patented technologies for smart water treatment and desalination system, high recovery reverse osmosis desalting, membrane monitoring, surface nano-structured membranes for water decontamination and desalination, in addition to software for environmental impact assessment. 

Prof. Alan Craig

Full Bio

Pears Lecturer in Israel and Middle East Studies, University of Leeds

Alan is the Chair of the European association of Israel Studies. He is the Pears Lecturer I Israel and Middle East Studies in the School of International Politics at the University of Leeds in the UK. He is currently researching the relationship between security and the development of Israeli society for his next book commissioned by Cambridge University Press.

Prof. David Ellenson

Full Bio

Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies; Visiting Professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University

David Ellenson is Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and Visiting Professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Also Chancellor-Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he served as President of HUC-JIR from 2001-2013.


For two decades, Ellenson served as head of the Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, the undergraduate program in Jewish Studies at the University of Southern California conducted under the aegis of HUC-JIR. He has also served as a Visiting Professor at both UCLA and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and he has been a Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem as well as a Fellow and Lecturer at the Institute for Advanced Studies and a Lady Davis Visiting Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In the spring of 2015, New York University appointed him as Distinguished Visiting Professor and he taught there in the Skirball Department of Judaic Studies.


A scholar of modern Jewish thought and history, Ellenson is recognized for his writings and publications in these fields. He has written extensively on the origins and development of Orthodox Judaism in Germany during the Nineteenth Century, Orthodox legal writings on conversion in Israel, North America, and Europe during the modern era, the relationship between religion and state in Israel, the history of modern Jewish religious movements, and American Jewish life.


Ellenson has authored or edited seven books and over 300 articles and reviews in a wide variety of academic and popular journals and newspapers. His book, After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity, won the National Jewish Book Council’s award as outstanding book in Jewish Thought in 2005. His work, Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern Jewish Orthodoxy, published by the University of Alabama Press in 1990, as well as his book, Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policymaking in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Responsa, co-authored with Daniel Gordis and published by Stanford University Press in 2012, were also both nominated for book awards by the National Jewish Book Council. His newest book, Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice, appeared in September of 2014 in the University of Nebraska/Jewish Publication Society’s Scholar of Distinction Series.  His academic colleagues honored him with the publication of Between Jewish Tradition and Modernity: Rethinking an Old Opposition – Essays in Honor of David Ellenson, edited by Michael A. Meyer of HUC-JIR and David N. Myers of UCLA, in 2014. 


Ellenson received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1981 and was ordained as a rabbi by HUC-JIR in 1977. Previously, he received his A.B. degree the College of William and Mary in 1969 and the University of Virginia granted him an M.A. in Religious Studies in 1972. 

Prof. Ami Pedahzur

Full Bio

Founding Director, Institute for Israel Studies, University of Texas at Austin.

Prof. Ami Pedahzur is a professor of government and the Arnold S. Chaplik Professor in Israel and Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). He is also the founding director of UT Austin's Institute for Israel Studies. His research interests include: terrorism, radicalism, security studies, methods, Middle East, and Israel. Recent publications include: The Triumph of Israel’s Radical Right (Oxford University Press, 2012); The Israeli Secret Services and the Struggle against Terrorism (Columbia University Press, 2009); Jewish Terrorism in Israel (Columbia University Press, 2009, with Arie Perliger); Suicide Terrorism (Polity Press, 2005).

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. Ronald W. Zweig

Full Bio

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.


At Large Members

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. 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.

Lynn Schusterman

Full Bio

Founder and Co-Chair, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation

Lynn Schusterman is the Founder and Co-Chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. Active in Jewish communal and philanthropic affairs for over 40 years, Mrs. Schusterman’s work reflects her love for Judaism, the Jewish people and Israel; a passion for repairing the world; a belief in the potential of young people; a belief in the importance of education; a devotion to supporting the Tulsa community; and a commitment to the pursuit of excellence. She currently holds a variety of leadership positions in organizations such as BBYO, Hillel, Repair the World and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. She is also a founding member of the Birthright Israel Foundation and a leading philanthropist in the Birthright Israel program. Her advocacy efforts include writing articles and opinion pieces for a variety of publications and she contributed to A Dream of Zion: American Jews Reflect on Why Israel Matters to Them. In 2007, she received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 2008, she was honored with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Public Service award and, she has been named one of the “Forward 50” by the Forward newspaper five times.

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.  


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. 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

Program Director

Full Bio

Program Director

Erika Falk, PhD, is a 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 for Development, Communications, and Strategy

Full Bio

Associate Director for Development, Communications, and Strategy

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

Full Bio

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, US 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. Ilai published articles in professional academic journals such as Foreign Policy AnalysisOrbisContemporary Security Policy, and International Studies Review. Ilai earned an M.A. in International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (magna cum laudeand a Ph.D. with a focus on international security from the University of Haifa.

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.

Abby Bergren

Communication Officer/Program Analyst

Full Bio

Communication Officer/Program Analyst

Abby Bergren, communication officer and program analyst for the Israel Institute, analyzes program data and develops communication strategies in support of the Institute's academic and arts programs.

Abby previously worked in a project management and research position serving the National Forum on Education Statistics, where she maintained communication between Forum members and working groups. She holds a B.A. in political science, with a focus on public policy, from the George Washington University and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University's Department of Middle Eastern and African History. Her academic research explores the history of land border crossings, including cross-border cooperation and conflict, in the Middle East.

Jill Wyler

Program Coordinator, Israel Office

Full Bio

Program Coordinator, Israel Office

Jill Wyler is the program coordinator and office manager for the Tel Aviv office of the Israel Institute. 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.