The Hon. Prof. Gabriela Shalev, former UN Ambassador and Chair of the ISEF Academic Advisory Committee

Because Israel's single greatest natural resource is the minds of its young people. ISEF opens the doors to higher education for more than 400 promising young Israelis from underserved and immigrant communities throughout Israel. Learn More


ISEF Co-Founder and Honorary Chair Lily Safra received an honorary doctorate from the Technion in 2018 "for her outstanding support of the ISEF program that helped thousands of students throughout Israel, including hundreds within the Technion."



ISEF alumna Dr. Karin Carmit Yefet was named "Outstanding Researcher of the Year" by the University of Haifa.

Karin was chosen from among the entire university faculty to receive this prestigious award, and all of us in the ISEF family - students, alumni, and supporters - may take great pride in her achievement!

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Academic Advisory Committee

Honorary Chair:
Amb. Prof. Gabriela Shalev

Amb. Gabriela Shalev

Ambassador Gabriela Shalev is Israel’s former Ambassador to the United Nations and the first woman to hold this position.  She is a former President and current faculty member of the Academic Council at Ono Academic College in Israel. She is the current chairperson of the Israel Council for Higher Education’s (“Malag”) Committee for Appointment of Professors in Law, Business Management, and Social Science.  Ambassador Shalev is a leading expert in the fields of contract law and procurement contracts. She was the Chief Legal Editor of the Judgments of the Supreme Court of Israel. She has won numerous awards for her research, including the Israel Bar Association Prize (2003). She chaired the audit committees of Bank Hapoalim and the Israel Electric Company and served on the boards of Ma’ariv,  Hadassah Medical Organization, Osem Investments, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., and Delek Ltd. Group.
 “I got acquainted with the important work of ISEF when, as the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, I hosted an event at my residence in NYC. This event brought together some young, brilliant Israeli students, together with ISEF’s supporters.This event was one of the most exciting and moving events hosted at our official residence. As an academic and a Zionist, I was happy to see the amazing role ISEF is playing in supporting those young and talented Israeli students.”
Prof.. Amnon Rubenstein

Prof. Amnon Rubinstein

Professor Amnon Rubinstein, holder of the Israel Prize for Law, is Professor of Law and a senior staff member of Radzyner School of Law at IDC Herzliya. He had a distinguished career as a Member of Israel’s Knesset 1977-2002, and during his tenure as Israel’s Minister of Education (1992-1996), he was instrumental in instituting undergraduate colleges in Israel, which have gained in importance in the ensuing years. Prof. Rubinstein is the former dean of Tel Aviv Law School and of Radzyner School of Law at IDC Herzliya. He is a frequent media commentator and the author of five novels. Professor Rubinstein has been a staunch supporter of ISEF and its vision for more than two decades.
“ISEF makes Israel a better, more equal society. While serving as Minister of Education, I worked together with ISEF to achieve high standards of education among those Israelis who would not have succeeded in this difficult enterprise without ISEF’s assistance and devotion. We are rewarded by seeing ISEF graduates in the intellectual and political leadership of our country.”
Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson

Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson

Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson is Professor of Jewish History and President of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was a Member of Knesset from 2006-2009 and chaired that body’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. He has served on the Board of Directors of Yad Vashem, as President of the World Union of Jewish Studies, and as Vice-President of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. He has won many prizes for his research, including the Rothschild Fellowship and the Ben-Zvi Prize for the Study of Jewish Heritage. Professor Ben-Sasson has been instrumental in facilitating ISEF’s long and fruitful relationship with The Hebrew University.

Prof. Peretz Lavie

Professor Peretz Lavie, President of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the André Ballard Chair in Biological Psychiatry at the Technion Faculty of Medicine, is considered one of the founders of sleep medicine.  He established Technion’s Sleep Research Laboratory and the Center for Sleep Medicine. In 2017, Prof. Lavie became the first Technion president to be elected to a third term, serving for more than eight years.  Prof. Lavie’s work is widely published, and has earned him numerous awards, including: the University of Pisa Sleep Award to Best Sleep Researcher in Europe, the American Society of Sleep Research William Gruen Prize for innovative research, and the EMET prize in medicine, the most prestigious prize for academic achievements in Israel. Prof. Lavie was the founder and co-founder of five companies that develop and produce medical devices for sleep medicine and cardiology and that provide diagnostic services.

Bridge to College

This fund is helping hundreds of at-risk Israeli teens to finish high school and qualify for college.

ISEF pairs each vulnerable teen with an ISEF university student mentor from a similar background. The teens look up to our students--who tutor them in tough subjects, boost their confidence, and show them the way forward to a better future through higher education.

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Student Testimonials

ISEF Alum & Nesher Mayor Speaks at Bridge to College Fund Event

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Lily and Edmund Safra

ISEF was founded in 1977 by Edmond J. Safra z"l, Lily Safra and Nina Weiner.


The acclaimed memoir by ISEF President Nina Weiner shares the joys and challenges of building the ISEF Foundation and the exciting life journey which led her to that purpose. “Weiner writes with great zest and a clear-eyed devotion to facts and to the harsh realities of life that awaited displaced Jews from the Middle East upon their arrival in Israel.” – Andre Aciman, author of Out of Egypt Click to purchase Circles of Empowerment on Amazon. All proceeds benefit ISEF.