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The Heschel Center Staff

Rony Erez

Co-Executive Director

Rony is an environmental advisor, experienced in sustainability, community work and development, who has worked both in Israel and in England. She received a master’s degree from Cambridge University in environmental, social and development studies. Rony has worked at the Holon Municipality as a sustainability and environmental projects manager. After joining Heschel, she took the lead on the Sustainability and Community conferences, and the 4th Israeli Climate Convention in 2019, the largest to date. In July 2020 she was appointed to the position of Co-Executive Director.

Tamara Sharon Ross

Co-Executive Director, CFO

Tamara served as Heschel’s Director of Resource Development and Marketing since 2016, and later assumed the position of CFO. She was the director for Israel Engaged Campus at Hillel International in Washington DC, where she directed a pilot program focused on Israel engagement and education. Tamara also served as the deputy director of the Jewish Agency Israel Fellows program for six years. She earned an MA in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University, and a BA in Psychology and Economics.

Dr. Lia Ettinger

Academic Director, Lecturer, Facilitator

Lia joined the Heschel Center shortly after its establishment, and together with Dr. Jeremy Benstein, developed and directed the Fellowship Program, which she continues to run. She focuses on developing pedagogies for socio-economic entrepreneurship and systems thinking, as well as exploring links between the financial system and sustainability, accessibility to knowledge and connections between science, economics, and culture. She holds a PhD in Biology. Dr. Ettinger is a Fellow at the Shaharit Institute for New Politics, and a senior lecturer at the Mandel Institute for Educational Leadership, and at the Porter School of Environmental Studies.

Dr. David Dunetz

Head of Climate, Collaborative Democracy

An alumnus of the 1st cohort of the Heschel Fellows Program, David is Head of Heschel’s Climate division and served as CEO from 2014 to 2016. David co-founded the Green Network in 1998, and directed it for 10 years. The network promotes education for sustainability in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Education and the Heschel Center. David has a PhD in Education, and has published several articles on education for sustainability as transformational education. For the last several years, he has been teaching, advising and conducting practical research on local education practices.

Dr. Jeremy Benstein

Co-Founder. Director of Research and Publications

Jeremy co-founded the Heschel Center with Dr. Eilon Schwartz, and for 15 years ran the Center’s Environmental Leadership Fellowship Program. He holds a BA in Linguistics from Harvard University, an MA in Rabbinic Literature, and a PhD in Environmental Anthropology. He is particularly interested in the broad topic of sustainability from the perspective of the humanities and social sciences with an emphasis on values, culture and religion, and currently teaches Environmental Ethics at The Porter School of Environmental Studies. He has edited two anthologies for the Heschel Center: “One Earth, Many Worlds” and “Sustainability – Vision, Values, Implementation”, and is the author of two books: “The Way Into Judaism and the Environment” and “Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes”.

Ran Raviv

Director, The Center for Local Sustainability

Ran directed a nationwide program training teachers to deal with issues related to economics and social coexistence. He managed food co-ops and the Community Association of the urban kibbutz Tamuz. He developed the sustainability program for the nationwide network of intentional communities, and based on that experience later established the Local Sustainability Centers initiative, which he now directs, as a partnership between the Ministry of Environment and The Heschel Center.

Meira Hanson

Research and Evaluation Coordinator

Meira is a researcher, writer, editor and lecturer, with 20 years’ experience in the field of sustainability. An alumna of the Heschel Fellows Program, she holds a BA and MA in Political Science. Meira was a member of the Israeli Worldwatch team, and was the coordinator in Israel of the European project on public engagement in research, which operated under the auspices of The Heschel Center. She has written reports on transportation policy and consumer protection in public transportation, edited a booklet on sustainable local economy and written chapters and articles for a variety of publications.

Shachar Kahanovich Gal

Director, The Center for Sustainability Studies

Shachar has a BA in Science Education and an MA in Environmental Studies. He specializes in Education for Democracy and Sustainability, and has extensive experience in training, teaching, and guiding projects promoting sustainability.

Yoav Egozi

Director of the Heschel Fellows Program

Yoav is an activist, dealing with the environment, education and community. He has an interest in urbanism, communities, and ways to infuse change, and promotes sustainability in various capacities. He holds a BA in Democratic Education, a teaching certificate of Environmental Studies, and an MA in Environmental Studies. He is a key activist in the world-wide Transition movement, a researcher on urban sustainability, and a permaculture planner and teacher.

Leticia Blankleder

Finance and HR Coordinator

Born in Uruguay and residing in Tel Aviv, Leticia is deeply connected to local activism for sustainable living. She studied industrial engineering, focusing on production, and over the last 15 years she established and managed several food production businesses.


Yaara Ben Nahum

Energy Coordinator

Yaara is among the founders of The Center for Knowledge for Innovation at the Technion, which works to integrate innovative ideas into traditional industries and high-tech. She specializes in translating big ideas into on-the-ground changes. She led the community work at the environmental unit in Jezreel Valley, focusing on recycling, planning, green building and sustainable gardening. She is a Heschel Fellows Program alumna, and partnered with other fellows to establish a Jewish-Arab Space Center.

Neti Zait

Director of the Heschel Fellows Program

Prior to her participation in the Heschel Fellows Program, which she says changed her life, Neti owned and managed a qualitative research institute for consumer behaviour, advising leading companies in the Israeli economy. Today, she combines the knowledge and experience she accumulated in the world of marketing with her approach for a just, healthy and fulfilling life.

Vered Ziso-Cohen

Western Negev Sustainability Coordinator

An environmental, ecological, and geographical planner. Vered holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental development (Ben Gurion University) and a master’s degree in geography with a specialization in landscape ecology (Landscape Ecology) from Ben Gurion University. Vered previously worked as an environmental planner and representative of the Minister of Environmental Protection on the Southern District Committee. She coordinated the treatment of the planning team in the areas of waste, mining and quarrying, comprehensive plans, tourism in open areas, building permits, and more.

Hamutal Blank

Impact Community Director and Partnerships Program Co-Director

Hamutal is a social and political activist on a variety of issues, including the promotion of equality and Arab-Jewish partnership. Engaged in joint Arab-Jewish educational activities in several organizations, she worked as a parliamentary advisor to MK Dov Khenin, and is leading the partnership program together with Yoav Egozi. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from the Hebrew University in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies.

Maureen Friedman

Activity Manager

Maureen holds a BA in Fashion Design. She was a product designer for several commercial companies, built her own personal brand of clothing, and managed a fashion designers’ studio. In her spare time she preserves the legacy of the film director Amos Guttman.

Sondos Saleh

Climate Resilience Coordinator

Sondos is a former Knesset member, serving as the chair of the sub-committee for distributive environmental justice in the Knesset. She is a high-tech and social entrepreneur, focusing her efforts in the Arab society.

Sondos has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in science and technology education from the Technion, and is a member of their board of directors. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Muna High-Tech Center.
Sondos worked as a teacher for six years at Nazareth High School, teaching science and the environment. She is currently the chairman of the Mujatmana Association for the Advancement of Women and Weakened Populations in Arab Society, and works as a researcher at a drug development company in the Nazareth Technology Incubator.

Dafna Ohry Mestechkin

Knowledge Management, Teval project

Dafna holds a Master’s degree in environmental studies, wrote her thesis on environmental education and Chinese philosophy, and a bachelor’s degree in East Asia studies and multidisciplinary art, both from Tel Aviv University.

Dafna is an activist in areas that combine food, health and the environment. She is one of the founders of the “15 Minutes” non-profit organization that promotes public transportation, assisting communities and individuals in their struggles against municipalities, government and transportation companies.

Nuelle Maor

Admin Coordinator

Graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and philosophy from Tel Aviv University. Previously served as caretaker at the wildlife hospital of the Nature and Parks Authority and the Safari in Ramat Gan. Nuelle teaches high-school students about the politics and philosophy of the climate crisis and is active in President Herzog’s Israeli Climate Forum. Her main interests are nature conservation, zoology, philosophy and local sustainability.

Daniella Zegman

The Laboratory for Citizens' Assemblies in Local Authorities

Holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and is a graduate of the fourth cohort of the Civil Service Cadet Program. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law with honors.

During her work at the Ministry for Environmental Protection, she worked in the fields of waste management and local government. In her role, she initiated and led the government initiative to stop the use of disposable utensils in kindergartens across Israel.

She is head of the Laboratory for Citizens’ Assemblies in Local Authorities, on behalf of the Heschel Center for Sustainability and Democracy 3.0

Dudu Karni

Director of Tevel Laboratory

An educator, organizational consultant and facilitator of large groups with a dialogical approach, Dudu holds a bachelor’s degree in law and a master’s degree in the sociology of organizations (with honors) from the Hebrew University. He served for 6 years as a national training program coordinator for the Israeli Scout Movement where he also led the field of sustainability and the climate crisis. He also worked as a high school teacher for civic studies. He was involved in many social projects as an entrepreneur, leader, and professional consultant. He researches participatory work and organizational processes and their ability to influence the system.

Nuelle Maor

Admin Coordinator

Graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and philosophy from Tel Aviv University. Previously served as caretaker at the wildlife hospital of the Nature and Parks Authority and the Safari in Ramat Gan. Nuelle teaches high-school students about the politics and philosophy of the climate crisis and is active in President Herzog’s Israeli Climate Forum. Her main interests are nature conservation, zoology, philosophy and local sustainability.

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

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Miki Haimovich

Chair of the board

Photo Credit: Ronen Fadida

Miki Haimovich is a former journalist and a leader of campaigns for environmental protection and animal rights. She served as a Member of Knesset from the Blue and White parliamentary group in the 21-23 Knesset. She is known for her role in the Israeli Channel 2 and Channel 10 newscast as lead anchor. From 2010-2018, she hosted an investigatory show and a documentary show that dealt with social and environmental issues. She is a 5-time winner of the Israel Golden Screen Award, the Kinneret Prize for Communication, Society and Environment, and the Israeli Green Globe award. A decade ago, she formed the Meatless Monday Israel organization and served as its board chair for five years. In 2019, she entered politics as a member of the Blue and White party and served as the Chair of the Interior and Environment Committee which overlooks and supervises the relevant government ministries around these issues. Miki feels passionate about the environment, animal rights, combating climate change, and creating a sustainable society in Israel.

קרן קופרמן

Keren Kuperman

 A lawyer, specializing in women’s rights, labor law, and human rights, holds a BA in law with honors from the University of Jerusalem, an MBA in organizational behavior from Tel Aviv University, and an MA in sustainability management from Columbia University in New York. She currently works as a lawyer and provides training for managers and employees.

Hagar Lidor

Hagar is a partner at Ayana, a consultancy for strategic sustainability. She has extensive experience working with private and public sectors, NGOs and small businesses, focusing on women-led businesses and businesses promoting sustainability. She is a Heschel Fellows Program alumna, and a graduate of the elite Talpiot program. She holds a BSc in Physics and Mathematics, and an MA in Conflict Resolution.

Ram Amar

Ram is an entrepreneur focused on climate solutions. He is a graduate of the IDF Talpiot program, and has almost 20 years of experience in cyber-security and Big Data. He co-founded Magshimim, a program teaching computer science in high-schools, and Alooma, a high-tech start-up. Ram takes an active role in Heschel’s NZO project, and is about to start a new for-profit sustainable venture.


Amir Bisharat

A lawyer, Amir holds a BA degree in law, an MA’s degree in administration and public policy from the University of Haifa, an MA in law specializing in human rights from the College of Management, and an MA in geography and urban and regional planning from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Amir runs a company he owns for municipal management, business consulting and resource development for nonprofits, and serves as director of the Rahat Industrial Zone Administration, director of the solar project for the Rahat Economic Company, and consultant for promoting municipal partnerships in Jat Local Council.


Arod Balissa

Assistant CEO and Chairman of Deloitte Israel, Manager of Deloitte Catalyst, Deloitte’s startup practice. As part of his role, Arod helps the CEO implement the organization’s strategy and day-to-day management. In addition, Arod serves global clients and helps them work with Israeli startups in a variety of fields, especially in the worlds of health, life sciences and climate change. In addition, Arod is the chairman of the Wize Night Association, which works to promote a content-based nightlife culture, and a board member of the 8200 Unit Alumni Association. Arod is a lawyer by training and a graduate of Tel Aviv University, Heschel Fellow (Cohort 20), a graduate of the Hoffman-Kofman Leadership Program and GYCN’s Climate Ambassador for 2021.


Vered Livneh

Vered Livneh has over 20 years of experience in management and leadership of organizations for social change in Israel. She served as the director-general of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the founding director general of Agenda, the Hakol Hinuch movement, and a private philanthropic foundation.
For the past decade, she has been involved in organizational consulting, with a focus on mentoring and developing managers.
She holds a Master’s degree in sociology from Tel Aviv University, and is a graduate of the School of Management of The Open University, in the field of organizational consulting, and an alumna of the flagship program at the Mandel Institute for Leadership Development. She also graduated from a course in non-profit management at the Faculty of Business Administration at the Sorbonne University.

Ori Sharon

Ori Sharon, PhD is a lecturer and researcher specializing in environmental law and policy at the Faculty of Law and the Program for Environmental Regulation at Bar-Ilan University. Holds a BA and MA degrees from the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University. Holds an MA and a PhD in Environmental Law and Policy from Duke University in North Carolina, where he also served as a researcher on environmental markets and ecosystem services. Ori served as a visiting researcher at several prominent environmental organizations in the U.S, and as an environmental consultant in the field of renewable energy. He was also an environmental science to policy fellow (Mimshak) at the planning administration in the Department of Finance. Ori served as Deputy Director and Director General of the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences from 2019-2023.

Dan Grotsky


Dan Grotsky is a serial entrepreneur, business development executive and angel investor. Dan is Co-founder and VP Sales and Marketing at Groundwork BioAg, a company that produces mycorrhizal inoculants for commercial agriculture. His international experience ranges from information technology and communications to cleantech and agtech. He holds an MBA and an MS, EECS, both from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.Sc., Industrial Engineering, from Tel-Aviv University. 

Noa Kaplan


Noa is a certified accountant. She handles public, corporate and non-profit portfolios, and lectures on accounting and finance.