The Team / Fellows

Senior Fellows

Avinoam Bar-Yosef
President and Founding Director
Ita Alcalay
Project Manager
Shmuel Rosner
Senior Fellow
Ambassador Avi Gil
Senior Fellow
Rami Tal
Publication Editor
Dr. John Ruskay
Senior Fellow
Brig. Gen. (Res.) Michael Herzog
Senior Fellow
Dr. Dov Maimon
Senior Fellow
Prof. Steven W. Popper
Senior Fellow
Dr. Shalom Salomon Wald
Senior Fellow
Dr. Shlomo Fischer
Senior Fellow
Barry Geltman
Professor Uzi Rebhun
Senior Fellow


Avinoam Bar-Yosef is the President and the Founding Director of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute. He was Chief Diplomatic Correspondent and Commentator, and later US Bureau Chief for the Ma’ariv daily newspaper. He wrote thousands of articles, weekly columns and analyses, many of them on Jewish People issues and policies. From 1999 to 2002 he served as senior advisor to then JAFI chairman Sallai Meridor. At JPPI he wrote policy papers, and published op-ed columns in the Israeli and international newspapers including the New York Times – International Herald Tribune, Ha’aretz and Ma’ariv.

Read more by Avinoam Bar-Yosef


Israeli And Diaspora Jews: ‘We Are Siblings, Not Cousins’




Introduction by Avinoam Bar-Yosef




Op-Ed: Red Lines Belong to the People






Op-Ed: When Craziness Makes Sense


Closing Remarks at the 2017 Conference on the Future of the Jewish People


Amb. Dennis Ross – Foreign Policy Challenges Facing Trump Administration


Op-Ed: The Trump Win: Hoping for a Strong America to Advance a Peace Initiative


Op-Ed in WSJ: The Improbable Happiness of Israelis


Op-Ed: Best of Luck to Rivlin


The Conference on the Future of the Jewish People, Glen Cove 2014


Dr. Shalom Salomon Wald – Rise and Fall of Civilizations: Lessons for the Jewish People


2013 – Elections in the United States and Israel


Amb. Ross’s First Visit to JPPI upon Returning as Co-Chair in 2012


The 2010 Conference of the Jewish People Report

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Ita Alcalay worked at the Finance Minister’s Bureau for over 3 years with Prof. Yaacov Ne’eman and Dan Meridor. From 1990-1995 she worked with Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, and served at the Foreign Ministry from 1987 until 1993. She has a B.A in Political Science from Bar-Ilan University.

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Head of the Pluralism and Democracy in Israel Project and the Structured World Dialogue Process


Shmuel Rosner is a Tel Aviv based columnist, editor and think tank fellow.

He is a fellow at The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI);
He is the non-fiction Editor for Israel’s largest Publishing House, Kinneret-Zmora-Bitan-Dvir;
He is Senior Political Editor for the Jewish Journal, and he writes the popular blog Rosner’s Domain;
He writes a weekly column for The International Herald Tribune \ New York Times and for Israel’s Maariv Daily.

Rosner was previously a columnist for The Jerusalem Post, and was Chief U.S. Correspondent, Head of the News Division and Head of the Features Division for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He wrote for many magazines, including Slate, Foreign Policy, Commentary, The New Republic, The Jewish Review of Books, and others.

Rosner’s book “Shtetl Bagel Baseball, on the Wonderful Dreadful State of American Jews” was published in Israel by Keter (Hebrew, 2011) and became a bestseller.

Read more by Shmuel Rosner


Dr. Gila Vachman: Celebrating Shavuot


Yaakov Katz: The story behind Israel’s 2007 attack on Syria’s nuclear reactor


Roberta R. Kwall: Can you “remix” Judaism?


Daniel Dunkelman: Celebrating Eurovision in Israel


Dr. Joel Rappel: Is the Israeli Independence day a religious holiday?


Dr. Amir Teicher: The scientific darkness behind The Holocaust


Nir Braudo: A Secular Passover


Ambassador Avi Gil and Dr. Shlomo Fischer: Israeli Elections Aftermath


Special Election Panel 3: Knesset Member Avraham Neguise and Gil Hoffman


Special Election Panel: Knesset Member Meirav Ben-Ari and Amnon Lord


Rabbi Mishael Zion: A Special Purim Episode


Special Election Panel: Knesset member Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin and Professor Yossi Shain


Dr. Yizhar Hess: The future of the Conservative Judaism movement in Israel


Brigadier General (Res.) Michael Herzog: Israel’s upcoming security challenges


Dr. Shalom Salomon Wald: Is There Such a Thing As a Jewish Gene?


When do you celebrate love: Valentine`s day or Tu B’av?


Jonathan de Shalit: Israeli Spy Turned Mystery Author


Dana Weiss: How Will We Remember Benjamin Netanyahu


Avi Buskila: Is there a future for the Israeli Left?


Noah Slepkov: Who are the Jewish Israelis?


Dennis Ross: Geo-Political Predictions for 2019


Approaching the Elections: the political parties that celebrate the secular New Year (and those who do not)


#IsraeliJudaism, A Portrait of a Cultural Revolution: English Summary


Not Our New Year’s Eve


Avi Gil: Concluding 2018


Hana Bendcowsky: Who are the Israeli Christians?


Uzi Leibner: Is Hanukkah a religious holiday or a national one?


73% of Israeli Jews light the menorah for the full eight days of Hanukkah


Moshe Koppel: The key for keeping Jewish tradition alive


Special Crossover Episode – Two Nice Jewish Boys


Answer our survey and see where you land on the map of Israeli Judaism


Yaacov Lozowick: Is America getting more anti-Semitic?


Einat Wilf and Adi Schwartz: Is UNRWA damaging the Palestinians?


Dan Feferman: The Rise of Reform and Conservative Judaism in Israel


How Israeli Jews Remember Yitzhak Rabin


Dr. Shlomo Fischer: The Real Reasons why Israeli Haredis don’t serve in the IDF


Jewish Journal/JPPI Podcast


From Reckoning to Biking: Israelis Remake Yom Kippur?


Tisha B’Av – How do Israelis Grieve?


70 Years of Israel-Diaspora Relations: The Next Generation


Who cares about Jerusalem Day?


Who Visits Mt. Meron on Lag BaOmer?


70 Years of Israel-Diaspora Relations: the Next Generation


Who reads the “Haggadah” all the way through?


Jerusalem and the Jewish People: Unity and Division


Putting the Kotel Decision in Context – Implications and Steps Forward


Op-Ed: Putting the Kotel Decision in Context


What JPPI’s 2017 Global Jewish Dialogue on Jerusalem Teaches us about the Kotel Crisis


Jerusalem and the Jewish People: Unity and Division – Interim Report


2017 Pluralism in Israel Index


2017 Pluralism Index Survey Results


Exploring the Jewish Spectrum in a Time of Fluid Identity


JPPI Launches Its Pluralism Index in Israel


JPPI Pluralism Index Launch Presentation


Jewish Values and Israel’s Use of Force in Armed Conflict: Perspectives from World Jewry


Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State


Preliminary Findings – Jewish and Democratic: Perspectives from World Jewry


The Challenge of Peoplehood: Strengthening the Attachment of Young American Jews to Israel in the Time of the Distancing Discourse


‘Jews Not by Religion’


“The Haredi Challenge”


Learning Jewishness, Jewish Education and Jewish Identity


Conversion: After the Dialogue and the Crisis


Debating Religion and State and “Distancing”


Background: Conversion, Between Crisis and Dialogue



Ambassador Avi Gil Served as the Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from April 2001-November 2002. He also served as Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Regional Cooperation, Deputy Director-General of the Peres Center for Peace; the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Media Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Finance, and Executive Policy Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has been closely involved in Israel’s policy-making and peace efforts, including the negotiations that led to the Oslo Accords and the peace treaty with Jordan. He is a Senior Fellow at the JPPPI and a was a close advisor to President Shimon Peres.

Read more by Ambassador Avi Gil


The Evolving World Order: Implications for Israel and the Jewish People


Ambassador Avi Gil and Dr. Shlomo Fischer: Israeli Elections Aftermath


The Future of the Current World Order: Implications for Israel and the Jewish People


Avi Gil: Concluding 2018




The Triangle’s Jewish Side


The American Side of the Triangle


The Jerusalem-Washington-American Jewry Triangle




The “Ultimate Deal”


The Palestinian Arena








Saudi Arabia










The Regional System: threats and opportunities


The International System: U.S. status and performance and the implications for Israeli strategic resilience




Navigating Stormy Geopolitical Arenas


Will Netanyahu Surrender to the Annexation Camp?


The Geopolitical Landscape – Growing Uncertainty in light of the Trump Presidency


An Opportunity for a Geopolitical Adjustment


Op-Ed: The Truth from the U.S.


Geopolitical Challenges and the New Government


Op-Ed: Democratic Crisis or Jewish Catastrophe?


2014 – A Strategic Crossroads


Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State


2014 – A Strategically Decisive Year


The Renewed Peace Talks


A Permanent Agreement: The Jewish Dimension


Background: Mideast Peace, the Jewish Dimension


2030: Alternative Futures for the Jewish People



Born in 1948 in Tel Aviv, studied law, general history and political science, and specialized in Political Philosophy. In 1977 he started to work at Yediot Acharonot newspaper as a news editor. From 1989 to 1993 he was Yediot Achranot’s Washington correspondent.
Since his return to Israel, he has worked mainly at Yediot Acharonot publishing house, as the head of the political and security division, and as a member of the editorial staff. In this capacity he has edited books by Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, Ezer Weizman, Moshe Arens, Yossi Beilin, Moshe (Bogi) Ya’alon, Dan Halutz, Uri Sagi, Avraham Burg and others


John S. Ruskay came to UJA-Federation in 1993 and held several positions before being appointed Executive Vice President and CEO in October 1999, serving in this role until July 2014. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1968, Dr. Ruskay earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science at Columbia University. He served as Educational Director of the 92nd Street Y from 1980 to 1985, and Vice Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America from 1985 to 1993.

Dr. Ruskay has written extensively and speaks nationally on how the American Jewish community can most effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities of living in an open society; the critical role of Jewish philanthropy; and the central role of community. He has served as a senior consultant to the Wexner Foundation and The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, and has chaired the Publication Committee of the Journal of Jewish Communal Service and the Professional Advisory Committee of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program.

Dr. Ruskay has received numerous honors, including the Bernard Reisman Award for Professional Excellence from Brandeis University’s Hornstein Program, the Mandelkorn Distinguished Service Award from the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America, and honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary (2011), Hebrew Union College (2103), and Yeshiva University (2014).

The Ruskay Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership is being established to provide in-service professional enrichment for the next generation of communal leaders.
Dr. Ruskay is married to Robin Bernstein; together they have five children and seven grandchildren.

Read more by Dr. John Ruskay



Head of the de-legitimization project


Brigadier General (Res.) Herzog is a senior fellow at JPPI and currently heads an extensive project on confronting the de-legitimization phenomena. He rose through the military ranks to become head of the IDF’s strategic planning division and one of Israel’s prominent experts on strategic, military and intelligence matters.

Over the last decade General Herzog has held senior positions in the office of Israel’s Minister of Defense, under four ministers and was the Chief of Staff to Minister Ehud Barak. In those positions, he was at the center of Israeli decision-making on all key strategic, defense and political issues. General Herzog is also a military fellow at the Washington Institute, where he published extensively on Middle Eastern affairs. General Herzog is the son of the late president of Israel, Chaim Herzog.

Read more by Brig. Gen. (Res.) Michael Herzog



(עברית) אחראי על דסק אירופה במכון


Senior Fellow at JPPI, Dov Maimon leads the “Grand Strategy toward Islam” project, the “Israel-Diaspora New Paradigm” project and the Institute’s activities in Europe.

Among his action-oriented work, he is a member of the Advisory Committee for Improving access to Ultra-Orthodox to Higher Education chaired by Professor Manuel Trajtenberg. He is also the author of the Action Plan for bringing the developing mass migration of French Jews to Israel. Commissioned by governmental agencies, the plan was adopted by the Israeli Cabinet on June 22nd 2014.

Born in Paris, he earned a B.Sc. from the Technion (Haifa, Israel), a MBA from Insead (Fontainebleau, France), a M.A in Religious Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Islamic and Medieval Studies from the Sorbonne University. He is a laureate of the prestigious prize “Grand Prix du chancelier des universites 2005” awarded to the best French PhD work in Literature and Human Sciences. He is also a graduat of the Mandel School of Educational Leadership. Formerly an High-Tech industry entrepreneur, Dov is teaching at the School of Business Administration of the Ben Gurion University.

Read more by Dr. Dov Maimon


STEVEN W. POPPER, (Ph.D., Economics, UC Berkeley, 1985; B.S. summa cum laude, Biochemistry, U of Minnesota, 1976) is a RAND Senior Economist and Professor of Science and Technology Policy in the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He is also director of RAND’s Israel Initiative. He has published research on the economics of innovation — particularly how organizations both public and private identify and incorporate technological change. He led RAND’s first Summer Institute, a week-long workshop on science, technology and U.S. economic competitiveness. From 1996 to 2001 he was the Associate Director of RAND’s Science and Technology Policy Institute (S&TPI.) He provided research and analytic support to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and other agencies of the executive branch. His work included projects on the economic and social returns to basic research, assessing critical technologies (including principal authorship of the Fourth U.S. National Critical Technologies Review,) policy analyses of national innovation systems, evaluations of federal R&D portfolios relevant to the Global War on Terror, determining the S&T capabilities required for a prospective Department of Homeland Security, technical barriers to international trade (for the National Institute of Standards and Technology,) federal R&D portfolio decisionmaking (for the National Science Board and the World Bank,) and Presidential transition documents on S&T issues of national importance.

Dr. Popper is currently leading projects on better integration of technology assessment into transportation planning for the Transportation Research Board and has recently competed studies on energy strategy in Israel and science and technology-based economic development in Mexico City. He has now begun a new project to work with Israel’s police on domestic policing issues. He was active in founding projects of the RAND Pardee Center for Longer-Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition. This included co-authorship of the flagship study, Shaping the Next Hundred Years, which provides a new methodological framework for decision making under profound uncertainty that has been applied to an increasing set of policy issues. In particular, he has advised doctoral dissertations applying these concepts to issues in R&D planning and S&T policy. Dr. Popper has conducted research for, and has served as consultant to, several non-U.S. governments as well as multilateral international organizations such as OECD and the World Bank on issues of technology planning, industrial restructuring, and regional economic development. Prior to joining RAND he worked as a researcher in physical chemistry and enzymology, as Country Account Officer for Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia at Bank of America, and as consultant to the World Bank on issues of industrial restructuring in East Europe. He has also been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is a member of the AAAS Policy Council representing the Industrial Science and Technology section, and is a Charter Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Read more by Prof. Steven W. Popper



History of the Jewish Civilization and head of JPPI’s work regarding India and China.


S.Wald was born in 1936 in Milan, Italy. He grew up in Basel, Switzerland where he studied social sciences, history, and history of religions, graduating in 1962 as Ph.D. In 1964 he joined the Paris-based OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) where he stayed until his retirement in 2001. His career spanned education, technological innovation, science and technology policy, energy research policy and biotechnology policy. He was Head of the OECD/DSTI Biotechnology Unit. He joined the JPPPI in 2002 and worked on Jewish/Israeli relations with China; science and technology; and the history of Jewish civilization. Currently he reviews India-Israel-Jewish People links.

Three Reports written for JPPPI:
– China and the Jewish People – Old Civilizations in a New Era, Jerusalem 2004.
– “Science and Technology and the Jewish People”, JPPPI Annual Assessment 2005, Jerusalem 2005.
– Jewish Civilization at the Crossroads – Lessons from the History of Rise and Decline, to appear in 2010.

Three Research Papers written outside JPPPI:
– “China and Israel”, Encyclopedia Judaica, Second Edition, ed. Fred Skolnik, Vol. 4, Farmington Hills, 2007.
– “The ‘Confucianisation’ of the Jewish Community of Kaifeng: Jewish and Non-Jewish Historical Perspectives”, The Jews in Asia – Comparative Perspectives, ed. Pan Guang, Center of Jewish Studies Shanghai, The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, 2007.
– “Chinese Jews in European Thought”, Youtai – Presence and Perception of Jews and Judaism in China, ed. Peter Kupfer, FASK, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, ed. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, 2008.

Read more by Dr. Shalom Salomon Wald

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Head of the Annual Assessment project


Dr. Shlomo Fischer teaches sociology in the School of Education at Hebrew University and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.He is also currently a research fellow at the Van Leer Institute. His research interests include the nexus of religion, politics and class in Israel, contemporary religion and the sociology of the Jewish people. He has published extensively on radical religious Zionism and the West Bank settlers as well as on the Shas movement.

Fischer has worked in the field of education for the past 25 years. In the past 10 years he has worked in the field of religion, democracy and tolerance. He has edited (together with Adam Seligman) The Burden of Tolerance: Religious Traditions and the Challenge of Pluralism (Hebrew; HaKibbutz Hameuchad and the Van Leer Institute, 2007) which addresses these issues. From 1996-2007 he was the founder and Executive Director of Yesodot – Center for Torah and Democracy which works to advance education for democracy in the State-Religious school sector in Israel and was also one of the founders and is on the Board of the International Summer School for Religion and Public Life which is based in Boston, Mass. He is a graduate of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership in Jerusalem.

Read more by Dr. Shlomo Fischer


Ambassador Avi Gil and Dr. Shlomo Fischer: Israeli Elections Aftermath


Dr. Shlomo Fischer: The Real Reasons why Israeli Haredis don’t serve in the IDF


The Rise of Orthodoxy and Political-Cultural Polarization within the Jewish Community in the U.S.


Learning Jewishness, Jewish Education and Jewish Identity


Raising Jewish Children: Research and Indications for Intervention


Religious Zionism in Israel Today: Toward the Center


Zionism and Jewish Identity


After the Zionist Revolution: Patterns of Jewish Collective Identity among Israeli Jews


JPPI Launches Its Pluralism Index in Israel


Op-Ed: Understanding Pew- Factoring in Israeli culture


Op-Ed: The New Jewish Underground


Implications of the Pew Report


Who are the “Jews by Religion” in the Pew Report?


Prof. Sylvia Barack Fishman – Three Decades of Patrilineal Descent in American Reform Judaism


Learning Jewishness, Jewish Education and Jewish Identity


Alberto Milkewitz – The Status of Brazilian Jewry


Dr. Inbal Hakman
Noah Slepkov
Fellow for Science, Technology, and Data
Maj. (Res) Dan Feferman
Dr. Gitit Levy-Paz
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Inbal is a Ph.D. student at the Federmann School of Public Policy and Government, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is also a teaching assistant at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy and at the Federmann School of Public Policy and Government. She worked as a Content Director and a member of the steering committee of the Israeli President’s Conference (2008-2009). She holds a master’s degree (honors) from the academic program in Public Policy at the Hebrew University.

Read more by Dr. Inbal Hakman



Noah served as Foreign Policy and Strategic Advisor to Member of Knesset Dr. Einat Wilf and worked in the Israeli Knesset as a Parliamentary Assistant. His responsibilities included briefing senior diplomats and foreign media correspondents from around the world. He also worked with pro-Israel and Jewish organization around the world organizing community visits and lectures.

Noah holds an Honors BA in Jewish Studies from York University and an MA in Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution from the Lauder School of Government at the IDC Herzliya. He also studied Economics at the University of Toronto and Political Science at the University of Western Ontario.

Prior to immigrating to Israel from Canada in 2008, Noah worked on campuses across Canada organizing Jewish student events and leading Israel advocacy efforts.

Read more by Noah Slepkov

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Dan Feferman recently completed his service with the IDF at the rank of major. For nearly a decade Dan served as a foreign policy and national security analyst and advisor to the General Staff, focusing on US-Israel strategic relations, as a special assistant to the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, and as a commander in an elite intelligence unit within the IDF’s Research and Analysis Division, where he continues to serve in reserve duty. Through his various positions, Dan has been closely involved in Israel’s most pressing strategic defense and political issues.

Dan also consults, lectures and writes on foreign policy, defense and intelligence matters .

Prior to his military service, Dan completed an MA in National Security Studies from Tel Aviv University and a BA in International Politics and Middle East Studies from the School of International Service, at the American University, Washington DC, both with honors. Dan also completed a prestigious internship at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Read more by Maj. (Res) Dan Feferman



Dr. Gitit Levy-Paz is a fellow at JPPI. She has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Bar-Ilan University, an M.A. in Hebrew Literature from Ben Gurion University, and a B.A. in Political Science and Communication from Bar-Ilan University. Her work focuses on contemporary Jewish American identity from an interdisciplinary – sociological, political and literary – viewpoint. In addition to her work at the JPPI, she is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University.

Gitit was selected as a research fellow for the Israel Democracy Institute’s program on Judaism and Human Rights and has received several other fellowships. She worked as a literary editor and wrote literary criticism for the literary section of Haaretz.

Read more by Dr. Gitit Levy-Paz


Tania Perlin
Administrative Assistant
Sharon Shilo
Administrative Assistant






Sharon Shilo was born and bred in South Africa. She is a graduate of the Habonim Dror Youth Movement.  Formerly she worked at the S.A. Zionist Federation, the Israel Trade Centre, and S A Board of Jewish Education.   Sharon is married with two children and 6 grandchildren.