Each ISEF scholar is a role model blazing a trail for others to follow

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!

Leadership Development

ISEF empowers its students to serve as agents of positive change in Israeli society.

Recipients of ISEF scholarships volunteer every week as mentors and tutors for more than 1,000 underprivileged youngsters in ISEF academic programs all over Israel.

By mentoring children from backgrounds like their own, our students learn that they can have a real impact on their communities – sparking a passion for lifelong civic involvement.

As part of a nation-wide Leadership Development program, ISEF scholars meet twice a month to explore and identify pressing social issues in their communities. With the right training and tools, our scholars learn how to plan and implement initiatives that will help to create the Israel they wish to see for themselves and their children.

An ISEF scholar makes her point at an ISEF student convention

An ISEF scholar makes her point in group discussion

In 2011, ISEF scholars from Tel Aviv University set out to address the needs of the Ethiopian community in central Israel. They found that a high percentage of Ethiopian-Israeli youth fail to show up to classes or have dropped out entirely. Without a solid support network, many Ethiopian teens turn to drug abuse and crime, adding even greater challenges to their community.

ISEF scholars organized a very successful Community Day for an  Ethiopian neighborhood in the nearby suburb of Rishon LeZion – empowering local youth and inspiring the municipality to build a Community Youth Center where Ethiopian teens could take part in social and cultural activities.

Learn more about social initiatives led by ISEF Scholars by visiting: http://iseffoundation.org/programs/isef-in-israel/





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.