Program Fellows: Cohort 2, 2015/16
Zeinab Abu Sweid is 32 years old and the mother of Dudu and Saleh; she lives in Ka’abiyye-Tabbash-Hajajre in the Lower Galilee. She is a national-level inspector for civil-national service in the Prime Minister’s Office, a facilitator for groups on the Arab-Jewish conflict, and a founder of the Yanabi community for Arab women. She is also the first-ever Bedouin woman to serve on a city council in Israel. She holds a master’s degree in public policy and administration from the University of Haifa.
Mahmood Alamoor is 44 years old from Rahat. He is married with five children. For the past five years, he runs the Rian employment centers in the south. Previously he ran the department of informal education and the local authority to combat drug use in the Rahat municipality; he was also a high school teacher. Mahmood holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in public administration and policy from Ben-Gurion University.
Zvika Arran is 40 years old; he lives with his wife and three sons in Eliav, a mixed religious-secular community in the northern Negev. He runs the 929-Tanakh Together initiative. Zvika is a social entrepreneur; and advisor to donors, foundations, and social-change organizations; and a lecturer. He is the founding director of Midot. He served as a fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute and helped found the Nahshon mechina. Zvika served as an officer in Army Radio (Galatz) in broadcasting, training, and administration. He has a law degree and a master’s degree in public policy.
Idan P. Avidani is 34 years old and from Jerusalem. She is a tour guide with an emphasis on socially oriented leadership programs. She is an activist on issues such as combating racism; housing rights and public housing; the campaigns by non-contract tenants in Givat Amal, Argazim, Kfar Shalem, and Lifta; and distributive justice for lands. She is a Knesset policy change lobbyist for the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow.
Roi Bantolila is 33 years old, married and father of four; he lives with his family in Mevo Beitar. He is the founder and director of Roim Leadership, which provides corporate and social leadership development and provides workshops and lectures in the field. He plays on the Israeli wheelchair basketball team and is the founder and captain of the basketball group at Beit HaLohem in Jerusalem. He holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Bar-Ilan University and a master’s degree in organizational development and consulting from the College of Management.
Ron Gerlitz is 42 years old; he is married and father of three children, and lives with his family in Srigim outside of Jerusalem. He is the co-director of Sikkuy, a Jewish-Arab organization that promotes equality and a shared society between the Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel. In his “previous life,” Ron was software and algorithm team leader, both in Israel and in Silicon Valley. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science and a master’s degree in public policy, both magna cum laude from the Hebrew University.
Kasa Getoo is 26 years old and the head of Tel Aviv University’s tutoring program. She is a social activist working to create a more nuanced and different discourse in Israeli society. She heads to Journey to Jerusalem project to remember Ethiopians who died on the journey to Israel. Kasa is one of the heads of the alternative student movement which grew out of the Ethiopian protests of summer 2015 and helped establish the Ethiopian student group Voices from Habash at Tel Aviv University. She was one of the spokespeople for the protest leadership and was mainly active in organizing Ethiopian students. She is now writing down Ethiopian legends as they were told to her and is studying for a master’s degree in gender and anthropology.
Ruth Kabbesa-Abramzon is 37 years old. Ruth is an independent consultant and doctoral researcher on the effects of shared ethos on governance in Israel. She was a visiting researcher at UCLA and was the Head of Leadership and Governance at JDC-Israel. She also served as the director general of the community center in Hatzor Haglilit. Ruth is a graduate of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership and a member of the Tikkun Movement in Israel.
Neta Katz is 29 years old. He is married to Heny and father of Itzik, Dudy, and Yael. He is the director of Shahar, which develops connections between Haredim and Israeli society with an emphasis on tailored forms of military service. He and his wife own a chain of children’s clothing stores for Haredim. He graduated ACC College for Advertising and has worked as an advisor to Haredi organizations and businesses. He is a social activist and is involved in many initiatives of Haredi renewal; he is active in social integration that maintains the unique nature of Israel’s Haredi sector.
Kobi Kisos is 34 years old and studying for a second bachelor’s degree in law. He is an educator, having worked as a civics teacher and as a homeroom teacher. In his free time, he is a political activist: he is the head of the Mizrahi group in the Labor Party and a member of the Party’s secretariat and education committee, an active member of the Knesset caucus on distributive justice, and a Mizrahi activist at heart.
Liat Malka is 43 years old and a resident of Zikhron Yaakov. She began her public-sector work at the local community center and Zikhron Yaakov Economic Corporation. In recent years, she was an advisor to former minister Eli Yishai on education, and she currently works in the Atid school network to develop and promote socially conscious employment initiatives in the Haredi sector. She is a social activist, a member of the Zikhron Yaakov religious council – the first-ever Haredi woman to sit on a municipal religious council in Israel – and an active member of Noar KaHalakha which works to end racism in the Haredi society. She is working to develop curricula for teachers’ colleges, promote partnerships between the third sector and the Education Ministry, and establish a vocational training center for Haredi teenagers and adults.
Alon Mizrahi is 41 years old; he is originally from Yokneam but currently lives in the Sharon region. He publishes his columns on various platforms and works in writing copy for marketing. He boxed as a hobby and even competed several times. Alon loves the free and unmediated dialogue that social networks permit. His book A Guide to Freedom: How to Free Israeli Cultural Consciousness from the Restrictive European Exile, which talks about breaking down and rebuilding Israel’s political conventions, will be published soon thanks to help from a successful crowdfunding campaign. He is a graduate of the English Language and Literature Department at the University of Haifa.
Ahmad Muhana is 27 and a lawyer from Umm al-Fahm. He has been MK Ahmed Tibi’s parliamentary aide for the past five years. Ahmed is a member of the Ta’al Party’s central committee and secretariat, and founded the party’s youth council. He works for full national and civic equality for Palestinian Israelis and for the democratic rights of all citizens. Ahmed is a member of the committee campaigning against discrimination on the basis of national/civil service and of the education committee on the Monitoring Committee. He is the founder and co-director of Amanina, which helps ill and needy Arabs from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Previously, he was an instructor and teaching assistant for education and law courses at the University of Haifa and Tel Hai College and a researcher at Dirasat—the Arab Center for Law and Policy.
Moshe Prigan is 31 and married with two children. He lives in Bnei Brak and studied at Haredi yeshivot and kollels where he also mentored disaffected Haredi teenagers. After his yeshiva studies, he enlisted in the IDF where he worked on Jewish-Israeli awareness and education, established a track for Haredim in the Air Force, and then headed the unit to integrate Haredim into the Air Force. He is a social activist who promotes employment and vocational education in the Haredi community, leads encounters between various groups in Israeli society, and gives media interviews on a variety of subjects: employment, education and military enlistment for Haredim. He was recently selected as one of the ten most influential “new” Haredim. He is currently studying social sciences and government administration at the college of administration in Petah Tikva.
Avigdor Rabinowitz is 24 years old. He was born in Ofakim and lives in Jerusalem. He studied at Or Elhanan yeshiva and founded the “Rec Room on the Roof”—a place for disenchanted Haredi teens to hang out. He runs the Jobs for Haredim program which brings the job market to the Haredi sector through social networks. Avigdor completed a course for social entrepreneurs run by the 8200 Society and he is a member of the administration of Aguda Ahat—which promotes social responsibility among Haredim. He is currently studying political science at the Open University.
Roie Ravitzky is 28 years old and a Jerusalemite; he is married to Elah. He is Director of the Mosaica Religious Peace Initiative, which brings together Jewish and Muslim religious leaders in an effort to find a way out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An active member of various groups for social change and intercultural cooperation, Roie is a rabbinical student and teaches in a variety of venues. He also loves to perform in poetry slams.
Estee Rieder is 42 years old from Ramat Gan. She is the mother of Yisrael Natan, who is a yeshiva student. She was a leader of the “Lo Nivharot, Lo Boharot campaign to include Haredi women on electoral slates and a Shaharit Fellow. Estee devotes herself to empowering Haredi women to raise their voices, engage in social action, and serve in politics. She holds a master’s degree in government from the IDC Herzliya and is a doctoral student in the gender studies program at Tel Aviv University.
Arthur Shani is 27 years old. He was born in Tashkent and now lives in Tel Aviv after making aliya in the big wave of immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. He is a parliamentary aid and spokesperson for MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union), and has been active for many years with youth at risk and marginalized groups. He volunteers as head of the control committee for the Aguda—The Israeli National LGBT Task Force; in addition, he is a civil, real-estate, and personal-status lawyer who volunteers as the lead of the community advocacy division of Schar Mitzva (the Israel Bar Association’s pro bono program). He holds a BA in government, diplomacy, and strategy and an LL.B., both from IDC Herzliya, and is currently studying for a master’s degree in democracy and globalization studies.
Efrat Shani Shitrit is 42 years old and the mother of Ben. She was born and raised in Maalot-Tarshiha and now lives in Shoham. She works in a communications company as a data systems analyst and program developer. Efrat is a member of the secretariat of Tikkun and of the movement’s steering committee on its direction and media activities. She is on the board of directors of the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow and the Shas citizens’ advisory council, which discusses Mizrahi social and status issues. She is a freelance writer for Makor Rishon and writes opinion columns on social issues for a variety of news sites including Ynet, Haaretz, Kipa, Haokets, and NRG, and she writes a regular post as part of the 929 Tanakh Together project.
Laura Talinovsky is 31 years old and the mother of Elia. She lectures and gives workshops on social change and the Knesset. She lectures on political campaigns at Jezreel Valley Academic College. Until recently, Laura was the Executive Director of OneVoice Israel, an organization which promotes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Previously, she was a parliamentary aide to MK Shelly Yachimovich who was head of the opposition. She established and headed the union of parliamentary aides and helped found Generation 1.5, Shaharit’s working group in the Russian-speaking community. She holds a BA in sociology and political science from Hebrew University and a master’s degree in public policy; she alsospent a year as a Paths to Peace fellow at NYU.
Keren Uzan is 37 years old and the mother of Nevo. Born in Netivot and a graduate of the Eshel HaNasi boarding school. She currently lives in Omer and Tel Aviv and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the Open University. She is the owners’ representative of the Radio Israel group as well as the deputy director of Radio South, director of 101.5FM Radio, and host of the Boker Tov Darom news program. She is a member of the Likud party, on the board of directors of the Beer Sheva theater and a volunteer at Maslan Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Support Center.