ISEF scholars at Shamoon College of Engineering

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

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ISEF alumnus, Dr. Naphtaly Shem-Tov's book, Acco Festival: Between Celebration and Confrontation, chronicles the history of the Acco Festival for Other Israeli Theater from 1980-2012.

This well-received work provides an insightful history of a cultural institution, which has brought together acclaimed directors and actors, fringe artists, and local Jewish and Arab residents for more than 40 years.

Dr. Shem-Tov is a senior lecturer in the Department of Literature, Language and the Arts at The Open University of Israel.

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Tenth graders and their ISEF tutors kicked off 2017 with their second group workshop of the “Bridge to College Program” at the Nesher Community Center on January 1st.

Special guest, Nesher’s mayor and ISEF alumnus, Avi Binamo, proudly spoke of the program’s success, and urged students to maximize the resources given to them.




We are proud to have helped these alums, along with thousands of other bright young scholars, to overcome incredible odds and watch them grow into true leaders, making a real difference and building a better Israel!


April 26, 2013

The incredible journey of ISEF International Fellow Dr. Moshe Elkabets, from the southern development town of Ofakim to Harvard Medical School, was profiled in a special feature for Israel’s top news publication this month.

An ISEF scholar since 2006, Moshe spent 3 years conducting post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School’s premier cancer lab. His work towards identifying novel anti-cancer therapies led to the development of clinical therapy trials on aggressive and un-treatable cancers. For the last year, Moshe has been in New York City, continuing his groundbreaking work at the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, one of the world’s most prestigious cancer research institution.






January 24, 2013

The ISEF Foundation is proud to announce that two leading figures in the Foundation’s work have just been elected to Israel’s 19th Knesset on the Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) ticket headed by Yair Lapid. 

Dr. Adi Koll, 36, rose from a deprived background to earn her J.S.D. (Ph.D. in law) at Columbia University as an ISEF International Fellow.  She then founded “University of the People,” which enables underprivileged Israelis to prepare for entry into degree programs. She is also a prominent activist for causes including health, education, and protecting children from abuse.  She won the Knesset Speaker’s Quality of Life Prize in 2011, and received ISEF’s highest honor – membership in the Edmond J. Safra Society of Alumni – in 2012. Adi will carry ISEF’s mission into the legislative arena – as she says in her election video:  “I believe that the education system holds the key to closing Israel’s societal gaps.”

Shimon Solomon, 43, fled Ethiopia on foot and arrived in Israel in 1980 with his parents and five siblings. Since earning his social work degree at Ben-Gurion University, he has headed numerous organizations to assist Ethiopian Jews and refugees in Israel.  Until recently he was education director at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village for genocide orphans in Rwanda. From 2005 to 2007 he worked at the Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa.  He is a member of ISEF’s governing association in Israel and continues to serve his country as a major in the IDF reserve paratroops unit. “I’m not here to say, ‘There’s a problem’ – I’m here to help solve it.”


“We are delighted to see these two outstanding leaders achieve national prominence, so they can expand their positive impact on society even further,” said ISEF President Nina Weiner. “These are just two of ISEF’s thousands of outstanding young people who are changing the face of Israel for good, rising out of difficult circumstances to make their mark in every sphere of endeavor. ISEF is developing Israel’s single greatest natural resource – the minds of its young people – and training them to become agents of change. Adi and Shimon embody ISEF’s credo, and its success.”

Dr. Adi Koll Pays It Forward

December 2011

Last month, ISEF alumna Dr. Adi Koll was awarded Israel’s distinguished Knesset Speaker’s Quality of Life Prize.  This national award was granted to just four Israelis for their groundbreaking work to bridge the gaps of inequality in Israeli society.

Adi is the founder and director of Access for All, a unique college preparatory program at Tel Aviv University that opens the doors of higher education for Israel’s most at-risk groups — battered women, ethnic minorities, and troubled youth — people who never imagined themselves going to college.

Dr. Adi Koll was profiled in The Jewish Week when she was an ISEF International Fellow studying for her Ph.D. at Columbia University Law School in 2005.

Eli Elezra Gives Back to Ashkelon Youth

December 2011

On Sunday, December 18th, at Ashkelon Comprehensive High School, a festive ceremony marked the beginning of an exciting new partnership with ISEF alumnus, entrepreneur and lifelong Ashkelon resident Eli Elezra.

Responding to the needs of this peripheral community in Israel’s southern region, recently under rocket attack from Gaza, The Elezra Foundation, in partnership with Perach, has helped to launch ISEF’s Bridge to College project for Ashkelon’s youth.

Thirty-four high school pupils were selected to take part in this project, which ISEF also runs in seven other underserved communities throughout Israel. Seventeen ISEF B.A. scholars will provide our young participants with intensive tutoring and mentoring support to help them do well on their high school matriculation exams and gain admission to a college or university.

In addition to academic enrichment, Bridge to College promotes social awareness through community service initiatives, and develops valuable leadership skills among these young pupils.


Dr. Liav Orgad wins 2011 Gorney Prize in Public Law

December 2011

Earlier in December, the Israeli Association of Public Law awarded the 2011 Gorney Prize for Outstanding Young Scholars in Public Law to ISEF alumnus Dr. Liav Orgad.

ISEF supported Liav throughout his advanced studies, during which he earned an LL.M. from Columbia University and an LL.D. from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Liav’s knowledge and expertise have already won him a seat on Israel’s Advisory Committee on Immigration Policy and the National Security Council.

Today, Liav is teaching law at the Radzyner School of Law, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.

Making Headlines

Dr. Liav Orgad Awarded Major Grant for Immigration Study

ISEF graduate, Dr. Liav Orgad, has been awarded a €3.5 million grant to help shape the immigration policy of the European Union.

Dr. Orgad is a Faculty Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and Associate Professor of Law at IDC Herzliya. Last fall, he published his first book, "Cultural Defense of Nations: A Liberal Theory of the Rights of the Majority," and was recently inducted into the prestigious International Global Academy.

Original story reported in the Hebrew-language publication, The Marker, December 27, 2016

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Lily and Edmund Safra

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


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