Program for Do The Write Thing College Student Journalists` Conference at ga icon

Program for Do The Write Thing College Student Journalists` Conference at ga

Program for Do The Write Thing College Student Journalists` Conference at GA

The State of Israel

Prime Minister's Office

Do The Write Thing

November 13-19, 2008

Regency Hotel – Jerusalem


Thursday November 13, 2008

17:00 Checking in at the hotel

19:00 Dinner

20:00 Official opening of the program

Greetings – Roi Abecassis- Director General of the Hagshama Department

21:00 Opening lecture: Israel Today – Current events and the media with Yon Feder, Editor-in-Chief of ynet

Friday November 14, 2008

07:30 Breakfast

08:00 Travel to Sderot – Day in Sderot and Neighboring Communities

Understanding the realities of the region

Visiting the Sderot Media Center

13:00 Lunch in Sderot

14:00 Travel back to Jerusalem

Preparations for Shabbat

Kabalat Shabat with the group

Shabbat dinner at the hotel

Tisch: Participation in a typical Haredi Shabbat evening with songs and joy

Shabbat November 15, 2008

Free morning for prayers and/or rest

11:00 Jewlicious – Virtual Communication

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Israeli PoliticsOfer Gutman

15:30 Break

17:15 Havdalah

17:30 Israel in the World MediaProf. Woldsfeld- Hebrew University

19:00 Parashat Hashavua - Dr. Micha Goodman: the Torah portion of the week

20:30 Dinner in center of town

Free time

* The program is subject to changes

Sunday November 16, 2008

08:00 Breakfast at the hotel

08:30 Group time

09:30 Visit at the Jerusalem Post - hosted by Gil Hoffman

Meeting with the Editor-in-Chief - David Horowitz

12:00 Visit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Israeli Advocacy

12:30 Lunch at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

13:15 Dealing with Hasbara Issues with Ilan Sztuhlman, Hasbara Department

14:30 Working with the Media, Spokesperson of the MFA Yigal Palmor, Director of Journalism Division

16:00 Meeting with Gil Litman – JAFI spokesperson; Crown Plaza Hotel

17:30 Writing assignments – with Leni Reiss

18:30 Dinner

19:00 Bus to Binyanei Ha'Uma

20:00 Gala opening of the GA: Celebration of Partnership

The opening plenary commemorates 60 years of partnership between the State of Israel and the Federations of North America. The dynamic programs features Israel’s Prime Minister, the top leadership of UJC and our primary overseas partners, the 2008 GA chairs, and inspiring performances by accomplished young people who are shaping Israel's culture.
Keynote: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Speakers: Howard Rieger, President and CEO, UJC; Steve Schwager, Executive Vice President, JDC; Ze'ev Bielski, Chairman, the Jewish Agency
; ^ Shari Arison, GA Israel Chair; Mark and Jane Wilf, North American Chairs

Monday November 17, 2008 – GA day in Binyanei HaUma

07:45 Breakfast at the hotel

08:15 Bus to Binyanei HaUma

08:45 Greetings: Gael Grunewald – Head of the Hagshama Department, W.Z.O.

09:00 ^ A Vision of Israel's Future
President Shimon Peres will address the GA about the common future of the global Jewish community, with Israel at its center. Adam Bronfman, Managing Director of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, will share his prospective on the next generation of the Jewish people. We’ll see the riveting Jerusalem dance company “Ora” and salute the communities that have earned the Sapir Award for Campaign Excellence.
^ Chair: Kathy Manning, Chair, UJC Executive Committee

10:15 Breakout Sessions:

The Impact of a Turbulent Economy on Israeli Society
Hall A

The global economy is undergoing a severe crisis, and although Israel’s economy has been strong, we need to be prepared. In a recession, the most vulnerable populations are the first to suffer and the hardest hit. How will the Government of Israel handle a widening socio-economic gap and cope with the needs of one third of the population, who are projected to be below the poverty line?

^ Moderator: Ruth Sinai, Social Affairs Correspondent, Ha'aretz

Panelists: Yarom Ariav, Director General, Ministry of Finance; MK Isaac Herzog, Minister of Welfare and Social Services; Professor Leo Leiderman, Chief Economist, Bank Hapoalim; Professor Rafi Melnik, Provost, Inter-Disciplinary Center, Herzliya

^ Thinking Inside the Box: Engaging the Next Generation in Our Work

Hall B

A dialogue on the challenges and opportunities our system faces in engaging the Next Generation. What are their barriers to involvement—and how can we listen to their voices and lower the barriers? This session will be an opportunity to engage in a discussion with our system’s leading thinkers and strategize with them about addressing the challenges.

^ Moderator: Bobbie Higer, Past Co-chair, UJC National Young Leadership

Panelists: Jeff Kaye, Director General, Resource Development, Jewish Agency; Joanne Moore, Co-chair Designate, UJC National Young Leadership; Marc Terrill, President, THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore

^ Education in Israel: Restoring the Qualitative Edge
Hall C

From pre-school through university, the standard of education in Israel, once a source of pride to the State of Israel and the Jewish people, is in crisis. Although education has the second largest budget in Israel, classes are too large, the status of teachers has declined, and we’re losing our brightest students to other countries.  Hear about efforts to improve Israeli education on all fronts.

^ Moderator: Professor Moshe Kaveh, President, Bar Ilan University

Panelists: Professor Zvi Galil, President, Tel Aviv University; Dov Lautman, President, Chai-Israeli Education Association; MK Rabbi Michael Melchior, Chair, Knesset Education Committee

Broadening Our Impact through Supplemental Giving

Hall D

The opportunity to match programs with funders presents a broad spectrum of possibilities to Federations. This in-depth look at supplemental giving will examine the entire process, from identifying, marketing and funding projects to measuring their impact. Examples from communities will reinforce the potential these initiatives provide and the breadth of concerns they address.

Moderator: Lee Wunsch, Chief Executive Officer, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston
Panelists: Judie Fein-Helfman, Chief Planning Officer, Jewish Federation of Greater Washington; Ken Heyman, FRD Chair, United Jewish Communities of Metrowest, NJ; Jeff Korbman, Assistant Executive Vice President, United Jewish Communities of Metrowest, NJ; Jocelyn Krifcher, Chair, Supplemental Giving, Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

^ The Emerging Phenomenon of Jewish Service Learning
Hall E

A recent study of American Jews found that making the world a better place ranked as their personally most meaningful activity. Organizations and prominent philanthropists have begun investing in the field and working to build the capacity of Jewish service programs. We’ll examine the recent explosion in popularity of Jewish service learning programs and the powerful impact of these experiences. Featuring the international launch of the new study by UJC’s Jewish Peoplehood and Identity Department of service learning participants, “Young, Jewish and Working for Change.” 
^ Moderator: Danny Krifcher, Interim CEO, Jewish Coalition for Service

Panelists:  Barbara Bedney, Assistant Director, Domestic Affairs, United Jewish Communities; Eli Fried, Policy Researcher and Projects Director, Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy at Tel Aviv University; Yonatan Glaser, Founding Director, B’Tzedek; Dganit Jenshil, Israel Director, OZTMA 

^ Building, Strengthening, and Investing in the Negev
Hall FG

Always a national priority, strengthening the Negev has been identified by Israel’s leaders as one of the most important Zionist goals of the 21st century. While the government moves forward with infrastructure improvements, Federations are collaborating with government bodies and NGOs on a variety of social welfare, education, community capacity, and economic development projects. Hear from experts in the field about new initiatives and opportunities for meaningful participation.

Moderator: Toni Young, Chair, UJC Global Operations: Israel & Overseas; Vice Chair, UJC Board of Trustees
Panelists: Kher Albaz, Director of Social Services for Negev Bedouins, Segev-Shalom Regional Council and Academic Advisor for Arab Students, Sami Shamoon Engineering College; Leah Golan, Director General, Israel Department of the Jewish Agency for Israel; Roni Flamer, CEO, OR Movement; Moti Hershkowitz, Vice President and Dean for Research & Development, Ben Gurion University; Daphna Murvitz , Director of Economic Development Initiatives, Israel Venture Network


^ Tools to Empower the Ethiopian Community

Hall H

Israel’s Ethiopian community now numbers close to 120,000. Programs to equip this population with skills and resources they need to integrate fully into Israeli society—many of them funded by the Federation system—have seen notable success, but there’s still substantial work to be done. We’ll review the lessons learned from our efforts and discuss the implications for future action.

^ Moderator: Bruce Sholk, Chair, Ethiopian Israeli Work Group

Panelists: Danny Admasu, Executive Director, Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews; Arnon Mantver, Director General, JDC Israel; Dr. Negist Mengeshe, Director General, Ethiopian National Project; Shmuel Sisso, Mayor of Kiryat Yam; Moshe Vigdor, Director General, Jewish Agency

^ The Drama of Holocaust Survivors in Israel
Hall I

Over 250,000 elderly Holocaust survivors live in Israel, and most of them have been scarred – psychologically and physically – by the trauma of their experiences. Witness Theater brings elderly survivors and Israeli youth together to develop and perform skits that bring the survivors’ experiences to life. The performance will be followed by a discussion on meeting the needs of Holocaust survivors in Israel.
^ Performance: Witness Theater, introduced by Michael Horowitz, Past President, Minneapolis Jewish Federation and Chair, JDC-Israel's Programs for Elderly

Moderator: Ruth Eglash, Social Affairs Reporter, the Jerusalem Post

Panelists: Reuven Merhav, Chair, Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany; Dr. David Silberklang, Editor-in-Chief, Yad Vashem Publications, and  Editor, Yad Vashem Studies

^ Education Towards a Global Jewish Perspective

Hall K

Preparing the next generation of Jews to embrace a strong, meaningful Jewish identity is a shared challenge in North America, in Israel and around the world.  And connecting young Jews in far-flung communities not only to Jewish life but to each other is an additional challenge. A variety of innovative efforts are underway to strengthen the sense of meaningful Jewish identity and connectedness for both youth and adults. 

^ Moderator: Jon Woocher, Chief Ideas Officer and Director of the Lippman Kanfer Institute, JESNA

Panelists: Esther Abramowitz, Director of Student Life in Israel, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; Alan Hoffmann, Director General, Education Department, Jewish Agency for Israel; Gidi Mark, International CEO, Taglit-Birthright Israel; Gideon Shavit, Chief Executive Officer, Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education

^ Election 2008: Opportunities and Challenges for Jews and Israel
Hall M

What will a new US President and Congress, as well as upcoming elections in Israel, mean for the United States, Israel and the Mideast region?  The panel will discuss these important issues and share their insights into the implications of the evolving political realities.
^ Moderator: Steve Gutow, Executive Director, JCPA

Panelists: Professor Moshe Arens, Former Defense Minister; Colette Avital, Member of Knesset; William Daroff, Vice President, Public Policy and Director, UJC Washington

Building a Shared Israeli Society: Challenges and Responses from Jewish and Arab Citizens
Hall N
“Arab Labor,” the first Arab-language sitcom to become a top-ten hit in Israel, uses satire to portray the discomfort between Israeli Jews and the Arabs. Using clips from the sitcom on topics like education, leadership development, women's empowerment, and employment, this session’s expert panelists will engage participants in a serious discussion of these issues.
Moderators: Brian Lurie and Steve Schwager, Co-Chairs, Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues
Panelists: Amal Elsana Alhjooj, Director, AJEEC; Nadia Hilo, Member of Knesset; Mike Prashker, Founder and Director, Merchavim, the Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel; operation; Yossi Tamir, Director, JDC's Tevet Employment Initiative

11:45 Greetings: ^ Itzhak Herzog – Minister of Welfare

12:15 Greetings: Zeev Bielski - Chairman of the Executive of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Israel

12:30 Political Panel with MK Avshalom Vilan – Meretz Party and Arieh Eldad – HaTikvah Party

14:00 Lunch

14:30 Lecture – Moshe Bugi Yaalon – Former IDF Chief of Staff

16:30 ^ Faces of the Israel Defense Forces
Keynoted by Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, this session will take a unique look at the IDF, its officers and its soldiers, highlighting personal stories of heroism. The IDF has always been a people's army: In addition to defending Israel's borders, it continues to play an important part in meeting Israel's social challenges and shaping Israeli society.

Featuring a special tribute to Ilan Ramon and music from the IDF band and cantor

^ Chair: Michael Gelman, Treasurer, UJC

18:00 Greetings: Josh Schwarcz, Secretary General of the Jewish Agency for Israel

18:15 Panel: Jewish Media in North America – with Gary Rosenblatt, the New York Jewish Week; and Leah Chase, Charleston, North Carolina

Organized by Leni Reiss

20:00 Bus back to hotel

20:30 Dinner

21:30 ^ Party with the Next Gen, hosted by the Jewish Agency for Israel
We are very grateful to the 17 Club (formerly Hauman 17) for sponsoring this event and to world-renowned singer David Da'or for donating his performance in honor of the GA Next Generation participants. Buses will depart from Binyanei Ha’umah

^ Tuesday November 18, 2008

08:00 Breakfast at the hotel

08:45 Greetings by Amos Hermon – Co-chair of the education committee of JAFI

09:00 Panel: Covering the Jewish World – moderated by Michael Jankelowitz

Haviv Retig, Jerusalem Post; Eli Bardenstein, Ma'ariv; Yuna Leibson, Galei Tzahal

11:00 Travel to Herzliya

12:30 IDC – New media and communications; Visit at school of Communications and the studios

Cross media workshop, Mr. Dovev Goldstein – Introduction to the world of New Media, Social networks and new platforms for disseminating information. The workshop offers an overview of Web 2.0 and the way blogs, social networks, virtual worlds, etc. can be used as advocacy tools. Participants gain insight into the power of the new media that is in their hands. The workshop provides the basic tools for building and promoting an effective campaign on the Internet

14:15 Lunch at the IDC's Cafeteria

15:00 Campus tour and Introduction to IDC & School of Communications tour accompanied by IDC students

15:30 Virtual studio workshop, Ms. Sharon Joffe- After learning about the different new media platforms, this workshop comes to give the participants an experience with content building for their social network. The participants will practice the production process of a short video clip and upload it to their social network. This workshop will take place in the virtual studio, equipped with the most modern media technologies

17:00 Travel to Tel-Aviv

18:00 Tel Aviv Café

In the evening, all will gather in historical Sarona Gardens in Tel Aviv to celebrate the city's upcoming centennial, hosted by the city's mayor. Once a German Templar colony and then occupied by the army, this renovated site has become a focus of the new Tel Aviv. At five stages throughout the gardens, we’ll enjoy entertainment, food, and exhibits highlight facets of modern Tel Aviv and moments in its history. Ron Huldai, the Mayor of Tel Aviv and MK Isaac Herzog, Minister of Welfare and Social Services, will be on hand to offer greetings. Sponsored by the Municipality of Tel Aviv and its mayor.

Travel back to Jerusalem

^ Wednesday November 19, 2008

07:45 Breakfast at the hotel

08:15 Bus to Binyanei HaUma

09:00 Professor Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Bank of Israel and world renowned expert economist, will share his views on the global financial crisis. Then we'll hear from ^ Benjamin Netanyahu, former Prime Minister and head of the Likud Party. Regarded as the architect of the new Israeli economy, he will offer his perspective on the state of the country’s economy today as well as his political views in light of upcoming elections.
Chair: Toni Young, Vice Chair, UJC Board of Trustees

10:15 Stretch your legs and grab a coffee during this intermission before the closing plenary

11:00 ^ Tikkun Olam: Israel and the World

We’ll highlight Israel’s centrality in the Jewish global community through three different points of view on the theme of Tikkun Olam: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will address the national perspective; GA Chair Shari Arison will speak from a personal point of view and UJC President and CEO Howard Rieger will present the institutional perspective.

We conclude the GA with a lively performance by the young talented members of the Israel Youth Movements Ensemble.
^ Chair: Joe Kanfer, Chair, UJC Board of Trustees

13:00 Lunch at Center One

Conclusions and summarizing of the program


Note: Sessions in this font are in the framework of the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities


Roi Abecassis: Roi was born in Israel and grew up in the settlement of Kedumim. He graduated from the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva high school at Kfar HaRoe. He then joined the Hesder Yeshiva at Har Etzion under the direction of Rav Yehuda Amitel. He served in the military as a combat soldier in the Golani Unit.

Roi earned a B.S. degree in Law and graduated with honors. He received certification as a lawyer in 2003. Following that, he worked as an emissary for the Jewish Agency for Israel and Bnei Akiva in many projects throughout Europe.

Within the framework of his job in the Worldwide Bnei Akiva movement, he served as the manager for the departments of year programs and personnel.

Between the years of 2003-2006, Roi served as the Jewish Agency’s chief emissary for Scandinavia.

Since August 2006, Roi has been the Executive Director of the Hagshama Department of the World Zionist Organization.

Eli Berdenstein: Journalist in the Ma'ariv newspaper, covering the Jewish wold since 2002. He graduated in Communications from the College of Management in 1999. He visits and covers many Jewish communities around the world.

Ze'ev Bielski: Born, raised and educated in Jerusalem. He served in the Israel Defense Forces from 1967 through 1970. His last rank was Major. Zeev graduated with a BA in Economics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1982, he moved with his family to Ra'anana, where he served as mayor from 1989 to 2005. He serves as the Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization since 2005.

Leah Chase: Leah Chase produced commercials and PSAs (public service announcements) for WCSC-TV, a CBS affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina.  She produced a six-day-a wk highly-rated live children's show for Channel 5/Charleston, also, for 25 years, and was a co-host on a weekly women's show for several years.   Leah was a producer and account executive for Custom Video, a production company owned by WCSC Inc which produced corporate videos, university videos for freshman orientation, deluxe resort videos and incentive videos, and with her crew, traveled to the Caribbean islands, Florida, Las Vegas, North Carolina, and Georgia for shoots.  She produced three documentaries in Israel for WCSC Live 5 News which won awards regionally and locally. 

Following her broadcasting career, Leah moved into the Jewish communal world by taking on the editorship of CENTER TALK, the newspaper of the Charleston Jewish Community Center, which then became an award-winning newspaper under her pen known as the Charleston Jewish Journal.  

Today, she freelances and has written for many of the Jewish publications including JTA, Hadassah Magazine and the Jerusalem Post, and is a travel agent associated with Charleston Travel in Charleston SC. 

Arieh Eldad: Born in Tel-Aviv and resides in Kfar Adumim. Is a Medical Doctor specializing in plastic surgery with a degree form Tel-Aviv University. He served as the Chief Medical Officer of the IDF (1997-2000) with the rank of Brigadier General. Has published around 120 articles in medical journals and 2 children's books. Has been a member of the Knesset since 2003, serving as a member in the Committees of Drug Abuse, Science and Technology, Labor Welfare and Health, State Control and Special Committee on Planning and Preparation for Earthquakes. He has moreover headed the Ethics committee. He has lobbied for Judea Samaria and Gaza, Reserve, Higher Education, Golan Heights, Jonathan Pollard, Against Corruption in the Public Sector, Public Health, Evacuees of Gush Katif, Jerusalem, Ethiopian Immigrants, Closing Social Gaps, and more. Until recently he has been with the Ichud HaLeumi – National Unity Party. Lately he has set up his own party named HaTikvah.

Yon Feder: is the editor in chief of Ynet – Israel's largest and most read news and content website. Ynet also has an English-language sister site: Ynetnews.

Feder began his career in journalism as a reporter and editor for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority's 'Kol Israel' radio. In the mid-80s he entered the literary publishing sector and served, sequentially, as the editor in chief of two of Israel's largest publishing houses: Keter and Yedioth Aharonoth Books.

Over the course of his 15-year career in publishing Feder brought thousands of titles spanning a variety of genres to print, including original and translated fiction and non-fiction, guides, encyclopedias and children's literature. Throughout this time he continued to write for newspapers, and had a weekly column in the weekend edition of Yedioth Aharanoth's culture section.

Nine years ago he returned to the world of news journalism with the founding of Ynet. As editor in chief Feder has consistently worked to expand the website's content rage beyond hard news into the fields of sports, finance, health and science, tourism, technology, and Judaism.

Dovev Goldstein: The director of the Asper fellows program at the IDC Sammy Ofer School of communications. Mr. Goldstein is the founder of 'Yam Communications'- a company specialized in cross media strategy. He has a vast experience in content building for T.V. channels and Internet websites. In the past he served as the new media manager of the European representatives of 2 major media companies: EMI and Virgin. After his return to Israel, he was appointed to be the content and creative director of 'Pelephone' cellular company in Israel. Later he was appointed to be the vise president of 'Zoe Interactive'; there he was in charge on interactive T.V. channels. Dovev has an M.B.A Marketing from Ecole superieure de Gestion, L.L.B Law and B.A. Economics from Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Micha Goodman: Micah has an MA and PhD in Jewish thought from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His dissertation relates to the philosophy of history in the thought of Maimonides and Nahmanides. Dr. Goodman has published a number of articles in academic journals on the topic of Middle Age thought, and teaches a course on Maimonides`s Guide of the Perplexed at both Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University. Additionally, Dr. Goodman serves as director of the Beit Midrash Program at Kfar Adumim.

Micha is the head of Ein Prat - The Israeli Academy for Leadership. The Academy is focused on leading a sea change in the perspective, behavior and culture of Israeli and Jewish society. The student community at the academy is composed of all parts of Israeli society: men and women, left and right, religious and secular, native Israelis and immigrants, etc.

Micha just started to host a new T.V program for Israel channel 2 called: "Sipur Mehahaftarah".

Gael Grunewald: Gael Grunewald was born in France, studied at the "Etz-Haim" high-school Yeshiva in Switzerland, and made Aliya in 1980.

After making Aliya, he studied at the Beit-El Yeshiva, and then served in a combat unit of the IDF.

A graduate of Machon Lev – Jerusalem College of Technology, he has a computer engineering degree and a science teaching diploma.

Mr. Grunewald managed the Jewish Agency institution for Madrichim, and served as the Jewish Agency representative in Europe. He served as the director of human resource department of the World Bnei Akiva movement and was later appointed to serve as the General Manager from 1998 to 2006.

Since June 2006, Gael is the Head of the Hagshama Department of the World Zionist Organization.

Ofer Gutman: Was born and raised in Tivon, in the northern Israel, served on a battleship in the Navy of the Israel Defense Force, has L.L.B degree and he is an attorney. He worked in the Israel Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, dealing with civil rights in Israel and helping new Olim with legal issues. He was very active on the campus arena in Israel, on peace and social justice issues and arranged a lot of seminars for young adult and student leaders in Israel about Zionism and social activism. Before he came to this Shlichut, Ofer was the chairman of Young Meretz Israeli party and was in charge of the party's students and young adult activities and outreach throughout the country. Was the representative (Shaliach) of the Hagshama department WZO in North America between the years 2004-2008.

Amos Hermon: Amos Hermon is a member of the Board of the Pincus Fund and of the Joint Program. He previously chaired the World Executive of Betar and the Tagar student organization. He served as an aliyah emissary in South Africa for three years and has also lectured extensively abroad on behalf of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

He lives on Moshav Nordia where he has directed various settlement projects.

Amos Hermon holds degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of South Africa. He served in the IDF in an elite naval unit. A member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency since October 1998, he is the Co- Chairman of the Jewish Zionist Education Committee. In addition, Hermon serves as the Chairman of the WZO Committee on Hasbara and Fight against Anti-Semitism and also chairs the Agency's Task Force on Anti-Semitism.

Itzhak Herzog: Born and residing in Tel Aviv. He holds a degree in Law and practiced as an attorney before being elected to the Knesset in 2003 for the Labor-Meimad party. He holds the rank of a major in the reserve duty in the IDF. Served as the Government Secretary and the Chairman of the Anti-Drug Authority. Has been a member of several Knesset committees: Internal Affairs and Environment, Finance, Drug Abuse, and Finance. He has been appointed to serve as the Minister of Housing and Construction, Minister of Tourism in the past and now acts as Minister of Welfare and Social Services, and the Minister of the Diaspora, Society and Fight against Anti-Semitism.

Gil Hoffman: Gil Hoffman is the chief political correspondent and analyst for The Jerusalem Post. Well-connected to Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Hoffman has interviewed President Shimon Peres, the three prime ministerial candidates and every major figure across the Israeli political spectrum. He has been interviewed by top media outlets on 6 continents and is a regular analyst on CNN, Al-Jazeera and other news outlets.

Called "The most optimistic man in Israel" by Israel Television, Hoffman's writing and television appearances provide a behind the scenes look at the intrigue and humor in the Israeli political arena. Hoffman also frequently covers diplomatic issues, traveling with the prime minister and reporting on efforts to achieve Mideast peace and other key international developments.

Hoffman, who was raised in Chicago, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern University's School of Journalism and wrote for the Miami Herald and Arizona Republic before moving to Israel. A reserve soldier in the IDF's Spokesman's Unit, he has lectured in more than 30 states, Canada, England and Australia. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, two-year-old daughter and newborn baby boy.

David Horowitz: David Horovitz was appointed editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post in October 2004, rejoining the paper having worked for The Post from 1983-1990. Since leaving The Post, he had worked at the award-winning newsmagazine The Jerusalem Report, where he was the editor from 1998 and publisher from 2001.

Horovitz has also written from Israel for newspapers around the world, including ^ The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Irish Times and The (London) Independent. He has been a frequent interviewee on CNN, the BBC, NPR and other TV and radio stations.

Horovitz is the author of Still Life with Bombers: Israel in the Age of Terrorism (2004). Horovitz is also the author of A Little Too Close to God: The Thrills and Panic of a Life in Israel (2000). He edited and co-wrote, with other members of staff, The Jerusalem Report’s 1996 biography of Yitzhak Rabin, Shalom, Friend, which was published in 12 countries and won the U.S. National Jewish Book Award for Non-Fiction. He won the 1995 Bnai Brith World Center award for journalism for his coverage of the previous year’s Buenos Aires Jewish community center bombing.

Horovitz was born on in London on August 12, 1962, and immigrated to Israel in 1983. He does his army reserve service in the Educational Corps. He is married to Lisa and they have three children.

Michael Jankelowitz: is currently the spokesman to the foreign press at the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Jankelowitz has extensive background working with students and the campus community. During the 1980s he was both a staff member and director of the Student Division of the World Zionist Organization (WZO). He also served two terms as shaliach to North American campuses through the WZO. Since 1994 he has worked for the Jewish Agency for Israel, serving in the Office of the Treasurer and as Liaison to the Foreign Press. After having spent more than two decades educating college students and the public about Israel and Zionism, Michael joined Hillel to direct its Department of Campus Israel Affairs. Jankelowitz simultaneously served as the first shaliach, or emissary of the Jewish Agency for Israel to Hillel.
A native of South Africa, Jankelowitz moved to Israel after graduating from high school in 1971. His father, an attorney, defended Govan Mbeki, the father of the recent South African president, in a treason trial in 1962. Jankelowitz was active in the Habonim Zionist youth movement as a teen and spent time with a group from the Bnai Akiva Movement on Kibbutz Maalei Gilboa during his army service. He holds an undergraduate degree from Bar Ilan University in Jewish history, English literature and teaching English as a second language. He is married to Denise Feit. The couple has two children, Roi and Danit.

Sharon Joffe: The Head of the Virtual Studio at the Sammy Ofer School of Communications. Prior to her position at the IDC, Miss Joffe was VizArtist Designer in 'Noga Communications', a company specialized in designing and developing content for Daily broadcast at the Children Channel and 'Logi' Channel. Sharon is a Technion graduate.

Yuna Leibson: Yuna made aliyah form Latvia at the age of a year and a half. Today she serves at Galei Tsahal in the framework of her army service, and covers the Jewish world, environmental and infrastructural issues. Yuna has participated in numerous delegations from Israel to communities abroad.

Gil Litman: Born in Israel, Gil resides in Mevasseret, close to Jerusalem.

He completed his military service where his served as a combat medic with the rank of first lieutenant. During his reserve duty, he participated in First Lebanon War, Gulf War, Defensive Shield operation and Second Lebanon War. Presently, as an officer in manpower unit of infantry brigade, he serves in voluntary reserves with the rank of a major. Gil holds a BA in International Relations, a teaching certificate from the School of Education and an MA in Political Sciences from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Following several educational roles, he worked in the Israel Broadcasting Authority as a reporter, broadcaster and editor, then as the manager of the news services. He lectures on communications in many forums and the Koteret College of Communication in Tel-Aviv.

His last position in Reshet Bet – Kol Israel of the IBA was manager, a position he held until September 2008, whereupon he joined the Jewish Agency of Israel as the Spokesman.

He is married to Nurit and has three children.

Yigal Palmor: Born in Jerusalem, he earned a degree in General Linguistics and Latin American Studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has covered various roles such as spokesperson in the Israeli Embassy in Madrid, a member of the Israeli Delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference, Counselor (Information and Public Affairs) at the Embassy of Israel in Paris, Deputy Director at European Institutions Department in Jerusalem and Director of Maghreb, Syria & Lebanon Department. He now serves as the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Yigal is married and has 2 children.

Leni Reiss - Leni Reiss was managing editor of Jewish News of Greater Phoenix for 20 years. She is the American Jewish Press Association liaison to Do the Write Thing, an annual program for Jewish campus journalists at the GA.

She has held board posts for the AJPA and the CRB Foundation's Fund for Jewish Journalism. Reiss was a faculty member of Phoenix High School of Jewish Studies, teaching classes in Jewish American Literature and Jewish Journalism. She received the Joseph Polakoff Award for her distinguished career in Jewish journalism and was the winner of an El Al Airlines journalism competition and the Simon Rockower Award for Editorial Writing. She twice received National Federation of Press Women honors for her writing and editing at JNGP. Reiss presently serves as a project coordinator for The Conversation:Jewish in America.

Haviv Retig: Was born in Israel and spent about half of his years in the U.S.A. Haviv covers the Jewish world in the Jerusalem Post, and worked as the education correspondent and editor for the newspaper's internet site in the past. He studies Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Haviv travels a lot in around the world visiting Jewish communities.

Gary Rosenblatt: Gary Rosenblatt has been editor and publisher of The Jewish Week of New York, the largest and most respected Jewish newspaper in America, since the summer of 1993.

Prior to that he was editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times for 19 years.

Mr. Rosenblatt has won numerous journalism awards from both the Jewish and secular press for his writing. He was one of two finalists for a Pulitzer Prize in Special Reporting in 1985 – the first time an article in a Jewish newspaper was honored in the competition. And in 2000 his investigative reporting on a rabbi accused of abusing teenagers in his charge for three decades won the American Jewish Press Association’s Rockower Award and the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, presented by the University of Maryland College of Journalism. The rabbi served more than three years in prison for his crime.

Mr. Rosenblatt’s weekly column, “Between The Lines,” is syndicated to Jewish newspapers around the country.

He is founder and chairman of The Conversation, an annual retreat for 60 American Jews who are leaders in a variety of fields to discuss what it means to be Jewish in America in the 21st century.

He is also founder and chairman of Write On For Israel, an advocacy program for Israel -- through journalism -- for high school students.

Josh Schwarcz: Has served as the Secretary General of the Jewish Agency since September 2001. As Secretary General, he serves as Secretary of the Jewish Agency Executive and Board and is responsible for the relationship with the Agency’s lay leadership in Israel and the Diaspora. Previously, he served as Advisor to the Chairman of the Jewish Agency and held other positions within various frameworks of the Jewish Agency.

His current public activities include membership in the Board of Directors of the Israel Museum, and on the Board and Executive of the Ethiopian National Project. Mr. Schwarcz is a reserve officer in the I.D.F.

Mr. Schwarcz was born in Canada and made Aliyah at the age of 20. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from McMaster University in Canada and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University in New York. He also holds a Certificate in Middle East Studies from Columbia.

Ilan Sztuhlman: Ilan holds a BA in International Relations and an MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2001. He is a major in the reserve forces of the Israeli army and has received the Citation of the President in 1981.

He is married and has three children.

Avshalom Vilan: Born in Israel and residing in Kibbutz Negba, Avshalom Vilan holds a degree in Economics and Philosophy. He has worked in the field of agriculture and as an economist, was an emissary to North America on behalf of National Kibbutz movement and Hashomer HaTzair movement, Secretary of the National Kibbutz Movement, Secretary of MaPaM party, and a founder of the Peace Now Movement before being elected to the Knesset in 1999. He has served as the chairman of the Knesset Committee of Parliamentary Inquiry in Violence in Sports; was a member in several additional committees such as, Finance, Foreign Workers, Immigration Absorption and Disapora Affairs, Joint Committee for Defense Budget, Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on the issue of Water, Economic Affairs, Education Culture and Sports, Status of Women, State Control, Parliamentary Inquiry Committee for the Infrastructure and Maintenance of the Gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron, Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on the Claims Commission. He has lobbied for the Environment, Jewish-Arab Co-existence, Jerusalem and the advancement of the Third Sector in Israel. Today he represents the Meretz Party in the Knesset.

Prof. Gadi Woldsfeld: Today a full Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Department of Communication and Journalism in The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Prof. Wolsfeld hold the Danny Arnold Chair of Communication and is the director of the Levi Eshkol Institute for Social, Economic, and Political Research in Israel. His research and teaching interests are Political Communication, Political Behavior, and Research Methods in the Social Sciences. Previously he was a senior fellow in the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, Chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center for the Study of Press and Politics – John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, visiting Scholar in the Department of Sociology at Boston College, adjunct Assistant Professor at Fletcher School Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University and visiting Scholar at Research on Communication Policy of the Department of Political Science in M.I.T. He holds a BA from the Department of Political Science in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science of M.I.T.

He has received numerous awards and honors, published many books, monograms and articles in the field of media, communications and politics.


Moshe Bugi Yaalon: Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, Senior Fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic studies at the Shalem Center, served as the 17th chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from 2002 to 2005, during which time he led the army's successful effort to quell the Palestinian terror war launched in September 2000.

Born in 1950 in Kiryat Haim, he was drafted into the IDF in 1968 and served in the Nahal Paratroop Regiment. He served as a reserve paratrooper during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and participated on the Suez front. Following the war, he returned to active service and completed officer's training.

General Yaalon held several command positions in the IDF Paratroop Brigade and commanded its reconnaissance unit during the 1978 Litani operation. He served in an elite unit between 1979 and 1982 and fought in Operation Peace for the Galilee, the 1982 Lebanon War. He then rose to battalion commander before becoming deputy commander of the IDF Paratroop Brigade. Near the end of his term, he was wounded in Lebanon.

In 1986, General Yaalon left to pursue advanced studies at the command and staff college in Camberly, England. When he returned to Israel, he became commander of the elite unit in which he had previously served. In 1989-1990, he retrained in the IDF Armored Corps and received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Haifa.

In February 1990, General Yaalon was appointed commander of the IDF Paratroop Brigade. In January 1992, he was appointed commanding officer for Judea and Samaria and promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. In August 1993, he was granted command over an armored division and the ground forces training facility at Tze'elim. In June 1995, he was appointed commanding officer for intelligence and promoted to the rank of major-general. In May 1998, he was appointed commander officer for Central Command.

On September 15, 2000, General Yaalon was appointed IDF deputy chief of staff. On July 9, 2002, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general and appointed the 17th IDF chief of staff, a position he held until June 1, 2005.

General Yaalon is married and has three children.

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