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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Benardete “Bridge to College” Empowers At-Risk Teens

With generous support from the fund established by Luna and Selim Benardete and their family,ISEF has been able to expand and enhance its  Bridge to College projects in two locations – the blue-collar city of Nesher near Haifa, and a struggling immigrant neighborhood in Holon (south of Tel Aviv).   
This year, 40 of ISEF’s brightest university scholars from Israel’s periphery are providing individualized, intensive tutoring and mentoring support, four hours a week, to 63 at-risk teens in Nesher and Holon,grades 10-12, who were deemed at risk for dropping out of school.
A high school diploma (“bagrut”) is essential to get into university and to achieve social and economic mobility. Sadly, for many young Israelis, earning their diploma is a near-impossible goal; in immigrant and underserved areas of Israel, less than half manage to graduate, and less than 10% get to college. So the cities of Nesher and Holon are partnering with ISEF to boost the chances of success for their most vulnerable teens.
The personal involvement of an ISEF student mentor has a powerful impact on her pupil.

The personal involvement of an ISEF student mentor has a powerful impact on her pupil.

ISEF scholars, hailing from marginalized communities themselves, are relatable role models and mentors for at-risk teens. They work closely with participants and their families to provide academic support, enabling them to pass their graduation exams and get their diplomas. ISEF’s scholars also empower these teens to see the vital importance of higher education to their future.
ISEF’s student mentors also lead group social programs: values clarification workshops, group community service days, and crucial field trips, including spending a full day on a nearby university campus. Even more, our students become these teens’ trusted confidants–like Big Brothers and Sisters.
ISEF’s “Bridge to College” Project has doubled in size and impact, thanks to the visionary generosity of the Benardete family. Nearly all (90%) of the 2017 graduating class passed their exams and got their diplomas! This is an amazing result for children who were deemed at risk of dropping out of school. The Luna and Selim Benardete Bridge to College Fund is truly making a difference in many young lives.
nesher isef

Participants in ISEF’s Bridge to College Program in Nesher

Below: Photos from the Luna and Selim Benardete Bridge to College Fund Project in Nesher (Click on thumbnails to view full size images.)

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.