ISEF scholars at Shamoon College of Engineering

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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2017 – 40th Anniversary Benefit Dinner

More than 325 guests filled the grand ballroom at New York’s InterContinental Barclay Hotel on May 11, 2017, in celebration of ISEF’s 40 years of empowering gifted students from Israel’s immigrant and underserved communities to get a higher education.

Nina Weiner, Lily Safra, Dr. Eitan Yaacobi and Carlos Benaim

L-R: President Nina Weiner, Lily Safra, Dr. Eitan Yaakobi and Chairman Carlos Benaim
The event bestowed ISEF’s Lifetime Achievement Award on Lily Safra, ISEF’s Co-founder and Honorary International Chairwoman. Mrs. Safra, Chair of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, was honored for her visionary leadership  and profound dedication to ISEF’s mission and students over four decades.

Dr. Eitan Yaacobi, Dr. Sarit Buzaglo, Norris Wolff, Dr. Camli Badrya, and Norman Belmonte

ISEF Chairman Carlos Benaim cited the tremendous impact of ISEF’s work on its 11,000 alumni: “Looking back on 40 years, what stands out are the amazing individuals we’ve helped to fulfill their potential.  Our graduates embody a shining vision of what Israel can be.”
Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie spoke about the tremendous contributions ISEF has made to leveling the playing field for students from less privileged backgrounds and enabling broader access to STEM degrees.  Special recognition was given to PwC, one of ISEF’s loyal corporate sponsors, and accepted by Puneet Arora.
Longtime ISEF supporter Norris Wolff led a spirited live auction of  ISEF scholarships and projects, during which ISEF alumni.  The auction featured three distinguished alumni — Prof. Yifat Bitton, the youngest person ever short-listed for a seat on Israel’s High Court of Justice; Michael Vaknin, Chief Economist at JP Morgan and a member of ISEF’s board; and former Israel Navy Seal and U. of Chicago MBA grad Omni Krigel. All three shared their moving personal stories about how ISEF transformed their lives.

Omri Krigel

Omri Krigel
Guests also enjoyed a lively performance by internationally known Israeli singer and actress Einat Sarouf,  who had guests up and dancing in the aisles.  Ms. Sarouf is currently starring in the smash Israeli film, “The Women’s Balcony.”
ISEF’s 40th Anniversary Benefit Dinner was chaired by Vivian and Norman Belmonte, Eva and Joshua Benaim, Ide and David Dangoor and Smadar and Yosi Manor, and was emceed by Lauren Glassberg of ABC-Eyewitness News.

Lauren Glassberg

Lauren Glassberg
This truly memorable evening raised major new funds that will enable ISEF to support more than 400 bright young students in the coming year, and underwrite vital ISEF-sponsored education programs that reach more than  3,000 youngsters across Israel’s most marginalized communities.
View additional photos from ISEF’s 40th Anniversary Benefit Dinner

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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.

Read more about the program

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.