Just 3 of ISEF\'s more than 600 young scholars in Israel

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


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.


During a recent lecture and visit with students in ISEF’s Leadership Development Program, ISEF alumna, MK Meirav Ben-Ari, shared a heartwarming story about the powerful role ISEF continues to play in her life.




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.

Click for more about ISEF's success stories!

Edmond J. Safra Scholars

Each year, ISEF awards Edmond J. Safra Scholarships to between 400-500 deserving B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. students studying on 21 campuses all over Israel.

ISEF students at the annual convention

Edmond J. Safra Scholars at ISEF’s annual convention

These students, who hail from distressed urban areas and development towns, are selected based on socio-economic status, academic excellence, and prior history of volunteering in their communities. All ISEF scholars must also have completed army or national service.

At ISEF, the scholarship check is just the beginning. ISEF becomes a student’s second family -- a home away from home. Support options include:

  •  Emergency financial aid (medical or other family crisis);
  •  Financial and academic support during military reserve duty;
  •  Assistance for purchasing textbooks and laptops;
  •  Professional academic tutoring, aptitude testing, and psychological counseling;
  •  Access to internships and international study opportunities;
  •  Prizes for top scholars and for leaders of ISEF’s education projects ;
  •  Group identity formation through on-campus meetings and celebrations.

Thanks to ISEF’s programs,  over 90% of  our scholars graduate — a testament to their tenacity and the high caliber of talent ISEF develops.

Click here to read a letter from just one of our many grateful students.

Two members of ISEF's student leadership team

Two students – part of ISEF’s leadership team


Bridge to College

Through the Luna and Selim Benardete Bridge to College Fund, young scholars are trained in leadership and serve as mentors, tutors and role models for young Israelis in their home communities.

The program targets high school students in the distressed area of Nesher, who show clear potential for college, but need financial assistance, along with help to develop self-confidence, pass their matriculation exams and gain admission to 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.