As part of our effort to provide a unique educational experience MAYANOT often invites prominent leaders and celebrities to meet with (and sometimes lead) our groups in Israel.
The following are some of the political, business and entertainment figures who have met with our groups:
Khaled Abu Toameh
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning, independent Israeli-Arab journalist who has been covering Palestinian issues in the West Bank and Gaza for over two decades. He began his journalism career as a writer for an official PLO newspaper while attending Hebrew University. He currently writes for the Jerusalem Post, and works frequently with NBC and TV-2 Denmark television.
Nir Barkat is a high tech entrepreneur and is currently the Mayor of Jerusalem.
Dr. Alan Bauer is a survivor of the infamous terror attack on the Sbarro Pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem in August of 2001.
Naftali Bennet, founder of Cyota (an online security system), is a prominent businessman and philanthropist.
Uzi Benziman is a journalist as well as a Parliamentary correspondent, Washington correspondent and editor of Haaretz Magazine. Benziman also serves as editor of the Hebrew-language periodical on Israeli media Ha’ayin Hashvi’it, published by the Israel Democracy Institute.
Elihu Ben-Onn is one of Israel´s most respected and senior radio broadcast journalists and talk show hosts, as well as a retired Brigadier and former Israel National Police spokesperson.
Profesor Ben-Sasson is a world renowned cell biologist and an Associate Professor at Hebrew University-Haddasah Medical School. He is a former Chairman of the Hubert H. Humphrey Center for Experimental Medicine and Cancer Research. He also holds a position of visiting professor at Harvard Medical School.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach ”America’s Rabbi,” is one of the world’s leading relationship experts and values and spirituality exponents. His 27 books have been best-sellers all over the world and have been translated into 18 languages. Rabbi Shmuley appears on TV, radio, and in print all over the world.
Avishai Braverman is an Israeli economist and politician and former president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
David Brinn is the Editorial Director of ISRAEL21c, a website dedicated to news about innovative technologies in Israel. He was also a senior editor at The Jerusalem Post from 1990 to 2002 and continues to contribute columns.
Charles Bronfman, a founding partner of the Taglit-Birthright Israel program, is one of the Jewish worlds most generous philanthropists.
Eric Cantor is a congressman representing the Seventh District of Virginia and serves as the Republican Whip. Eric holds a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and is Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. Eric is currently the only Jewish Republican in the United States Congress.
Yuli Edelstein is a Russian-Israeli politician, a former Minister of Immigrant Absorption, and currently a member of the Israeli Parliament.
Ruth Andrew Ellenson
Ruth Andrew Ellenson received the National Jewish Book Award in 2005 for her bestselling anthology, The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide To Guilt. Ms. Ellenson works as a journalist and her writing regularly appears in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and People Magazine as well as several Jewish publications.
Ari L. Goldman, one of the nation’s leading religion journalists, is a professor of journalism at Columbia University and the author of three books, including the best-selling The Search for God at Harvard.
Miki Goldwasser is the mother of Israel Defense Forces soldier Ehud Goldwasser, of blessed memory, whose abduction by Hezbollah sparked the second Lebanon war in the summer of 2006.
Yossi Klein HaLevi
Yossi Klein Halevi has been active in Middle East reconciliation efforts and serves as chairman of Open House, an Arab-Jewish educational project. He was a founder and board member of the now-defunct Israeli-Palestinian Media Forum and is currently the Israel correspondent and contributing editor of the New Republic.
Gil Hoffman is the chief political correspondent and analyst for The Jerusalem Post. He has been interviewed by top media outlets on 6 continents and is a regular analyst on CNN, BBC and other foreign news outlets.
Ishmael Khaldi is an Israeli Bedouin who has served in the Israel Defense Forces and worked for the American Embassy. Khaldi is also the founder and director of Amitim, an Israeli-Diaspora service project.
Neil Lazarus is an internationally acclaimed expert in the field of Middle East, Israel advocacy and effective communication training.
Avi Liberman is a world renowned comedian and actor who has performed on CBS’s Late Show with Craig Ferguson on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and Make Me Laugh as well as NBC’s Friday Night. His acting credits include Dave’s World (CBS), Boston Common (NBC )and Andytown U.S.A. ( Comedy Central). Avi is also regularly on E! and has appeared in spots for Mercedes, L.A. Cellular, Miller Lite and most recently “Starbucks” and “Net Zero.”
Sherri Mandel is a writer who has written for many publications, including The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Jewish Week, and Hadassah Magazine. She is the author of the book, “The Blessing of a Broken Heart.” Sherri Mandel is also the mother of Kobi Mandel who was murdered at the age of 13 by Arab terrorists in May of 2001.
Michael Melchior is a Danish-Norwegian Rabbi who immigrated to Israel and currently serves in the Israeli Parliament.
Shlomo Molla is only the second immigrant from Ethiopia to become of member of the Israeli Parliament. He is also the director of Ethiopian Immigration and Absorption.
Michael Oren is a Senior Fellow at the Shalem Center where he specializes in the diplomatic and military history of the Middle East. He has written extensively for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic, of which he is a contributing editor, and has been interviewed on CNN, Fox, The Charlie Rose Show, The Daily Show, and Today. Michael Oren is currently serving as the Israeli ambassador to the United States.
Noam Shalit is the father of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Natan Sharansky is an internationally renowned human rights activist, political leader, and author. He is a former refusnik and member of the Israeli Parliament and is currently the Chairman of the Shalem Center’s Institute for Strategic Studies as well as a Distinguished Fellow. Natan Sharansky is currently serving as the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Barbara Sofer is an award-winning writer and lecturer. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Parents, Readers’ Digest, Woman’s Day, Hadassah Magazine and Inside Magazine among many others. She also writes a bi-weekly column for the Friday Jerusalem Post.
Professor Asher Susser has served as Director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. He is one of Israel’s foremost strategic thinkers and leading experts on Jordan and the Palestinians.
A witty, entertaining, and much sought-after public speaker Simcha Weinstein was an associate for the British Film Commission before he moved to New York where he founded the Jewish Student Foundation of Downtown Brooklyn. He is also the author of the bestselling Up, Up and Oy Vey and serves as the Rabbi of Pratt Institute and Long Island College Hospital.