Founding President

Yoel Golovensky,
Founding Presid

Mr. Golovensky was born in New York City and was raised in New Rochelle, NY. He attended the Westchester Day School, founded by his father, the late Rabbi David I. Golovensky and Yeshiva University High School in Manhattan. Mr. Golovensky received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania (magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa), a JD from the Harvard Law School, and a LLM from the New York University School of Law. Mr. Golovensky practiced law in New York for 20 years and was a managing partner of a Manhattan law firm before moving to Israel with his wife (Vera) and two daughters (Yael and Michal) in 1987. In New York, he was active in Jewish life, serving as Vice President and President-Elect of the Board of Jewish Education for the New York Metropolitan Area. In Israel, Mr. Golovensky practiced law and was active as a lay leader in the Jewish Agency for Israel, serving on the Executive of the Joint Authority for Jewish Zionist Education and on the Board of Governors Education Committee. He also wrote a bi-weekly column for Haaretz, articles for Maariv, the Jerusalem Post, and the Jerusalem Report, and was a pioneer mediator, serving on the panel of the Supreme Court. From September 1999-September 2002, Mr. Golovensky served as Director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Russian Department in Moscow. Mr. Golovensky continues the practice of international law.

Business Board


Oded Barak

Oded has over 20 years of experience including senior executive, complex project management, international software sales, Investment Banking, Corporate Development M&A and Strategy and CFO roles

  • Oded is a co-founder and CEO of DLT Squared Ltd. Which provides sophisticated algorithms for the financial markets.
  • Prior to DLT, Oded served as an Executive and CFO in a multi billion dollar privately held commodities logistics firm in the Netherlands
  • Prior to that, Oded was a Vice President, heading Corporate Development and M&A of Amdocs (DOX) and executed multiple M&A transactions
  • Before returning to Israel, Oded worked in the Investment Banking group at Goldman Sachs in NY covering Tech, Media and Telecom sectors
  • Bachelor in Economics and MBA from Northwestern university – Kellogg School of Management, with additional executive training from Harvard

IAC 2013

Sagi Balasha

From 2011 to 2015 served as the National CEO of the Israeli-American Council (IAC), the umbrella organization for the Israeli-American community in the United States. In this capacity, he grew the organization from a local operation with one office and seven employees, to a national operation with seven offices and eighty employees in major cities around the U.S. Sagi established the IAC as a premier organization in the American Jewish landscape that today directly reaches close to 200,000 people.

In October 2015 Balasha and his family returned to Israel. In Israel Sagi is a freelance and gives business development and project management services to different organizations. Currently his major focus is development of Israel based projects in the cyber field to fight Israel’s de-legitimization and hatred campaign together with a few American philanthropists and organizations. Sagi also currently serves as the CEO of the Israel Free Loan Association (IFLA).

Prior to his position as IAC CEO, from 2006-2011, Sagi served at Beit Hatfutsot as VP of Finance and Development where he headed a financial recovery plan that brought the institution from a state of deep deficit, to a state of comprehensive and consistent development. In this capacity, he managed the growth of the museum’s budget, space and visitors by more than 100%.  From 2001-2006, Sagi worked in the Israel Ministry of Finance Budget Department as Department Manager and later as Department Director, where he oversaw 20% of the government budget and was involved in major structural changes and reforms


David Guedalia

David Guedalia is CTO of a new start-up called “out of  the box”.

Over the years David worked in various companies, some of  them large corporations (such as Qualcomm), in research and development, technology & intellectual property and held management positions at a number of hi-tech companies.

David co-founded a number of start-ups, most recently iSkoot, which brought the branded Skype phone to 10 countries

David holds over 40 patents in the fields of image processing, machine learning, telecommunication & Internet and client-server technologies.

David lives with his wife and children in Beit Shemesh.


Victor Ofstein

Victor is a technology executive who has held a variety of management roles at IBM, Tradeum, Amdocs and Accenture, and currently serves as the COO of Jerusalem-based Freightos. He grew up in London and after high school enrolled at Yeshivat Har Etzion, combining Torah study with military service.  After a short period back in England, where he earned a BA in History and played an active leadership role in Bnei Akiva, he returned to Israel, settling in Ramat Bet Shemesh, where he lives with his wife and 6 children.


Lilac Sigan

Commentator for Ma’Ariv and Huffington Post, in the past columnist and senior editor at Globes, reporter for Ha’Aretz, host of “The Campaign” for the Educational TV and panelist on “Money Talks” on Channel 10, and VP for Channel 2’s Reshet.

Author of the book “The new gods” and the novels “Missing Max” and “Writing for Beginners” for Yedioth Ahronot. Her fourth book, Spoons, will soon be published.

BA in economics from Hebrew University and MBA in Marketing from Tel Aviv University.


Amichai Danino

Amichai works as a senior strategic consultant at Deloitte Israel. In his work, Amichai leads strategic projects, for leading governmental bodies as well as major Israeli private firms. Prior to his work at Deloitte, Amichai clerked for the Honorable Justice Noam Solberg in the Israeli Supreme Court.  He also serves as an operative military legal counsel at the IDF’s international law department. Amichai holds an M.B.A. (specialization: finance), an LL.B., cum laude, B.A. in economics; B.A. in Talmud all from Bar Ilan University. Currently Amichai is a PhD candidate in public policy at Hebrew University, his dissertation focuses on the work of independent regulatory agencies. Amichai has a couple of publications, the most recent one, “International Human Rights and Israel as Seen in the Work of the Treaty Bodies: Do They Walk the Talk?” was published together with prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari (former Vice-president at the UN CEDAW Committee) in Israel law Review (Cambridge university press).

Board of Directors


Michal Barbash 

Born in New York made Aliya in 1987 with her family. Michal served as an Officer in the IDF Intelligence Corp and as a commander in the IDF officer’s school. Michal holds both a bachelors and a master’s degree from Bar Ilan university in Public Administration. Her Dissertation researched the Effect of NGOs on Israeli Public Policy and was the first academic research study on this subject.

Michal has been involved in research and project coordination both in the private and public sectors. She coordinated the Knesset Plesner Coalition Committee, leads Israeli delegations abroad, is involved in many governmental initiatives dealing with Public diplomacy, and coordinates educational projects for Jewish education in the Diaspora. Michal is married to Rafi and they have five children.

Founders & Former Chairmen

Dr. Yoaz Hendel, Former Chairman

Dr. Yoaz Handel served as Chairman of the Institute for Zionist Strategies from 2012-2019. Prior to that, he served as Chief Communications Officer of Prime Minister Netanyahu from 2011-2012. He was considered a popular policy analyst, with a weekly radio show and regular newspaper columns in Yedioth Ahronoth and Makor Rishon.
He also published several books over the years, including a children’s book called Aba Yotze L’Miluim(Daddy Leaves for Reserve Duty) .
In October 2012, Handel won the title of quality government knight for the purity of dimensions, on behalf of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel a year later won a social masterpiece of the Ometz movement.
Dr. Handel left his important role at the Zionist Strategy Institute in April 2019, when he was elected to the Knesset of Israel on behalf of the “Blue and White” party.


Israel Harel, Founding Chairman

Israel Harel founded the Institute for Religious Zionism at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He was also Director of the Institute’s Lay Leadership Program for six years. In 1980 Mr. Harel founded the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which he headed until 1995, he also founded the journal Nekuda, which he edited from 1980-1996. Mr. Harel is the initiator and founder of The Forum for National Responsibility. This Forum, operating since 1999 under the auspices of the Rabin Center, created the Kinneret Covenant, a document of understandings and basic agreements between the major sectors in Israeli Jewish society. This document is the first of its kind since the establishment of the State.

Mr. Harel initiated and chaired the Gavison-Meidan project. The heart of the project that began at the Shalom Hartman Institute is the formulation of a comprehensive covenant, including the formulation of detailed legislative proposals, to regulate the joint existence of secular and religious populations in Israel in various areas of disagreement such as Shabbat, conversion, military draft, burial, and the law of return.

Professor Ruth Gavison and Rabbi Yaakov Meidan worked for three years on the document, with the assistance of the Forum for Critical Feedback, It was comprised of approximately 25 people from the fields of academia, public life, religion and communication. The document has been signed and will be distributed to the Israeli public.

Israel Harel chairs the Association of the Paratroopers who Liberated Jerusalem. He is a member of the Israeli-American Forum. Mr. Harel writes a weekly column for Haaretz. The column is distributed with the Israeli edition of Haaretz / Herald Tribune. His Op-Ed articles have been published by The New York Times, GUARDIAN and other newspapers around the world. He has published several books, including The Lion’s Gate and The Valor of the Heart, and has written essays on social, religious and political topics for various journals.

His program for a “Regional Settlement”, which in essence is the participation of Egypt and Jordan in transferring sufficient territories to the Palestinians so that they can establish a viable state, was recently published in London by the Royal Institute of International Affairs (“Chatham House”). The Harel family resides in Ofra, in the Binyamin region.


משה ארנסProf Moshe Arens R.I.P, Associate   

Moshe Arens (1925-2019) was an aeronautical engineer who became a leading Israeli statesman, serving as ambassador, minister without portfolio, and defense minister. Moshe Arens was born in 1925 in Lithuania. In 1939 he immigrated with his family to the United States ,He secured a B.S. degree from the MIT.In 1953 received an M.A. degree in aeronautical engineering from the   Institute of Technology.

In 1957 Arens took a position as an associate professor of aeronautical engineering at the Technion in Haifa. He joined Israel Aircraft Industries in 1962, where he became vice president for engineering. He won the Israel Defense Prize in 1971. He was active in Herut Party politics from the outset and was elected to the Knesset (parliament) in 1974. In 1977 he became chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Arens was appointed ambassador to Washington in 1982. In 1983 he became defense minister .

During the 1980s and early 1990s Arens served in government positions as Minister without Portfolio (1983-1984 and 1988), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1988-1990) and again as Minister of Defense (1990-1992). In 1992 he quit politics.

After his retirement from political life Arens wrote Broken Covenant: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis between the U.S. and Israel (1994). He also, served on the Board of Governors of the Technion in Haifa, where he was once a professor, and was a deputy director for the investment firm, Israel Corporation Ltd.


אשר כהן Prof Asher Cohen, Associate

Asher Cohen born in 1958 who is a researcher in the field of political science and associate professor at Bar Ilan University. He Grew up in Bnei Brak, and studied at Yeshivat Hadarom. Studied at theYeshivat Hesder Golan and a few months later enlisted in the army fully armored corps. With the rank of major in the Israeli Army. Cohen holds a BA in Israel’s history and political science (1984), master’s degree (1988) and doctorate (1995) in political science at Bar-Ilan University. Then he continued postdoctoral studies at the center of Jewish studies at Harvard University. Served as a religious boarding school in Moshav Nechalim. He taught history and civics Bnei Akiva yeshiva in Netanya, and was a lecturer at Tzfat, Ashkelon and the Jordan Valley.

Cohen, a fellow at the Institute for Zionist Strategies. In 2011 he was appointed chairman of the committee civics Ministry of Education. Towards the municipal elections Cohen was in the  11th ,unrealistic place in the list of “Dawn making  education” in  his city Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut.

As national elections twenties ran in the primaries of the Jewish Home party and was elected to the 24th unrealistic place.

avraham-diskin-(1)Prof Avraham Diskin, Head of the Constitutional team

Professor Diskin was formerly a Professor and researcher in the Department of Political Science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He served as Head of the Department of Political Science at Hebrew University and Chairman of the Israel Political Science Association. Over the years he also served as an adjunct professor at many universities in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.

Professor Diskin specializes in comparative politics, Israeli politics, election methods, voter behavior, decision-making and game theory. He has published 20 books and 150 academic articles on these subjects, dozens of which have been featured in top international journals.

In the public sector, Professor Diskin has served as counsel to heads of the Israeli political system – including prime ministers, ministers and Knesset (Parliament) members. He has also advised the Knesset and its committees, various government entities and the media, within Israel and worldwide.

For ten years he served as Chairman of the Cadets Committee of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Since the late 90’s he has been a consultant to the Central Elections Committee. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Council for Higher Education for Public Administration and Political Science.

RobertAummanProf Israel Aumman, Associate

Israel Robert John Aumann is an Israeli-American mathematician and a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. He is a professor at the Center for the Study of Rationality in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. He also holds a visiting position at Stony Brook University and is one of the founding members of the Stony Brook Center for Game Theory.

Aumann received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2005 for his work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis. He shared the prize with Thomas Schelling.

Aumann was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and fled to the United States with his family in 1938.. He received a B.Sc. in Mathematics in 1950. He received his M.Sc. in 1952, and his Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1955, both from the MIT.

In 1956 he joined the Mathematics faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has been a visiting professor at Stony Brook University since 1989. Aumann’s greatest contribution was in the realm of repeated games, which are situations in which players encounter the same situation over and over again.

Aumann is a member in the Professors for a Strong Israel (PSI), a right-wing political group. Aumann opposed the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. In 2008, Aumann joined the new political party Ahi led by Effi Eitam and Yitzhak Levy. “A priori, the thesis of the Codes research seems wildly improbable… Research conducted under my own supervision failed to confirm the existence of the codes – though it also did not establish their non-existence. So I must return to my a priori estimate, that the Codes phenomenon is improbable”.


180shernski310305_REUNatan Sharansky, Founding Associate ( Until June 28th, 2009)

Natan Sharansky is one of the most famous former Soviet refusniks and an Israeli politician, author and human rights activist. Sharansky was born and raised in the Ukraine and graduated with a degree in mathematics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

In 1973, Sharansky applied for an exit visa to Israel, but was refused on “security” grounds. Following this denial, Sharansky became more overtly involved with the refusnik movement and became an activist for Soviet Jews.

In 1978, Sharansky was convicted of treason and spying on behalf of the United States, and was sentenced to thirteen years imprisonment in a Siberian forced labor camp. Sharansky’s memoirs of his years as a prisoner of Zion are described in his book Fear No Evil.

During the years of his imprisonment, Sharansky became a symbol for human rights in general and Soviet Jewry in particular. Sharansky was released in 1986 as part of an East-West prisoner exchange .In 1988, he was elected President of the newly created Zionist Forum.

In 1995 he created a new political party, Yisrael b’Aliyah,the party won seven Knesset seats, and Sharansky was named Minister of Industry and Trade.

Sharansky served as Minister of Industry and Trade from June 1996-1999. He served as Minister of the Interior from July 1999 until his resignation in July 2000 and as Minister of Housing and Construction and Deputy Prime Minister from March 2001 until February 2003. In February 2003, Natan Sharansky was appointed Minister without Portfolio, responsible for Jerusalem, social and Diaspora affairs.

In November 2006 Natan Sharansky resigned from the Knesset and assumed the position of Chairman of the then newly-established Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. In June 2009, he was elected and sworn in as Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, a post he still holds.


משה יעלוןMoshe Yaalon, Founding Associate ( Until March 31st, 2009)

Moshe Ya’alon was born in 1950 in Kiryat Haim. He was drafted into the IDF in 1968 and served in the Nahal Brigade Paratroop Regiment. He served as a reserve paratrooper during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and participated in the liberation of the Suez Canal. He returned to active service after the war and completed officer’s training. He held several command positions in the IDF Paratroop Brigade and commanded its reconnaissance unit during the 1978 Litani operation.

He served in an elite unit between 1979-1982 and fought in Operation Peace for Galilee. He then rose to become deputy commander of the IDF Paratroop Brigade. Near the end of his term, he was wounded in Lebanon.

In 1986, Ya’alon left to pursue advanced studies at the command and staff college in Camberly, England. When he returned to Israel, he became deputy commander of the elite unit in which he had previously served.

In 1989-90, he retrained in the IDF Armored Corps and completed a BA in Political Science at the University of Haifa.

In February 1990, he was appointed commander of the IDF Paratroop Brigade. In January 1992, he was appointed OC Judea and Samaria and promoted to the rank of brigadier-general.

In August 1993, Ya’alon was appointed commander of the ground forces training facility at Tze’elim and commander of an armored division. In June 1995, he was appointed OC Intelligence and promoted to the rank of major-general. In May 1998, he was appointed OC Central Command.

On September 15, 2000, he was appointed IDF Deputy Chief-of-Staff. On July 9, 2002, Moshe Ya’alon was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General and served as the 17th IDF Chief-of-Staff until June 1, 2005.

In February 2009, he was elected to the 18th Knesset on the Likud list. In March 2009 he was appointed Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs. He was appointed Minister of Defense on 17 March 2013. Moshe Ya’alon is married and the father of three children.

Annual Assembly Members


Ms. Vera Golovensky

Mr. Menachem Granit

Ms. Michal Barbash

Mr. Chaim Frenkel Adv.

Dr. Moshe Cohen

Mr. Leon Rozenbaum Adv.

Mr. Erez Amber

Mr. Guy Gutman

Mr. Eyal Zmora