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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President Carlos Benaim

Carlos Benaim has been actively involved ISEF for two decades. He was elected President of ISEF, succeeding founding President Nina A. Weiner, in December 2017. Prior to that, he served as Chairman of ISEF and also chaired ISEF’s Strategic Planning Committee.

Born and raised in Tangiers, Morocco, he trained as a chemical engineer before embarking on a fabled career as a perfumer. He is famed throughout the world as the man behind a host of timeless classics, including Ralph Lauren Polo and Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds.

ISEF’s mission, to educate fine young minds from underserved communities, is more relevant to Israel’s future success than ever before. At a time when the quality of education in Israel is losing ground in comparison to other countries, our insistence on academic excellence is crucial. Beyond the scholarships we provide, the ISEF leadership program works to cultivate strong identities and pride in the multicultural backgrounds defining our students.”

Carlos Benaim has also been involved with many Sephardic causes.  His wife, Dr. Darel M. Benaim, a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst, is likewise a member of ISEF’s board and co-chairs its Program Committee.

Deeply concerned about the disparity in educational opportunity in Israel, and committed to the struggle to educate Israel’s immigrant and underserved youth, the Benaim family has established an endowment fund in ISEF honoring Eskandar Manocherian z”l,  the father of Darel’s Benaim, to underwrite scholarships for advanced professional studies at Ben-Gurion University.

The Benaims have three sons, Joshua, Daniel, and Alexander.  Joshua is an active leader of ISEF’s Young Professionals.

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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.