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Israel in 3D Speaker Bios

Overview of Israeli Civil Society & Keynote Interviewer

Tal Schneider is a blogger and journalist, former DC Correspondent for Maariv newspaper, and she previously worked as a media lawyer (until 2002). As of 2011, she blogs at her own Plog, Israel's political blog. Stories by Schneider have appeared in Haaretz, Globes, Maariv, Saloona, Mako, Al-Masdar and more. She is a regular contributor on TV (Ch 2, Reshet Morning Show, Channel 1 Politika) and Radio (Galey Tzahal, Radio a-Shams, 103fm). Schneider's work at the Plog earned her the 2015 Veneration Award by the Israeli NGO Ometz for Good Governance and Public Integrity and the 2012 Excellence in Digital Journalism Award by Google Inc. and the Tel-Aviv Journalists Association.

Keynote Speaker

Guy Rolnik is a media executive, entrepreneur, and “Israel’s most influential economics and business journalist.” As Founder of Israel’s leading business publication, TheMarker, and Deputy Publisher of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, he led a media campaign to address the inequality, lack of competition and concentration of power in Israel’s economy. In 2013, Rolnik was awarded the “Sokolov Lifetime Achievement” award for the success of his efforts to raise public awareness of these issues, which resulted in new laws and other government actions to significantly change the structure of the Israeli economy. These include the “Anti-Concentration Law” passed in 2013 and the introduction of competition into the mobile phone service market, which led to substantial savings for Israelis. Rolnik serves as a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and has also taught courses at Tel Aviv University and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya on economic policy, media, and regulation.


Building a Shared Society

Mickey Gitzin is the Executive Director of Israel Hofsheet (Be Free Israel), a grassroots organization that aims to influence public opinion and policy making on the issues of religion and state in Israel. He also currently serves as a city councilmember in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Previously, Gitzin was the Spokesperson of Minister of Knesset Ilan Gilon (Meretz) and a Project Director at European Friends of Israel (EFI). He also served as the Associate Director of Festival Beshekel, a non-profit organization founded by a group of artists and activists in 2001 that helps to nurture a culture of understanding by encouraging cultural and artistic cooperation and dialogue between Jews and Arabs living in mixed communities in Israel. Gitzin was the recipient of the 2013 NIF UK Human Rights Award and was selected to receive The Gallanter Prize for Emerging Israeli Social Justice Leaders in 2015.

Nawa Jahshan Batshon is an organizational psychologist and Deputy Executive Director of Collective Impact - The Partnership for a Breakthrough in Arab Employment, an initiative dedicated to improving the rate and quality of employment of the Arab population in the business sector. As head of Collective Impact’s organizational consultant team, Jahshan has continued her efforts to promote diversity in Israel and advance Arab employment in the Israeli labor market. Prior to joining Collective Impact in 2014, Jahshan founded MAWARED Consulting Services, a company which provides consulting and organizational development support to businesses and non-governmental organizations. Last year, she participated in the “Co.Lab” social innovation incubator program organized by the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York, which brings together leading individuals working to tackle Israel’s greatest challenges.

Daniel Jonas is Chairperson of Havruta, an organization dedicated to promoting tolerance and acceptance of gay, lesbian and transgender people in Orthodox society in Israel. An observant Jew, Jonas first became motivated to volunteer and help closeted women and men following the murderous attack at the Bar-Noar gay youth club in Tel-Aviv in August 2009. In recent years, Jonas has become increasingly involved in local Jerusalemite politics and culture. He ran in the Meretz primaries for the elections to the city council and until recently, served as coordinator for Yeru-Shalem, a Jerusalem-based international venture aimed at advancing the city as an inclusive, pluralistic and creative city. Today, Jonas serves as the spokesperson for Bimkom, which works to improve the quality of life, prospects for socio-economic development, and well-being of individuals and communities by strengthening democracy and human rights in the field of urban planning.

Pnina Tamano-Shata is an Israeli lawyer, journalist and politician. She served as a member of the Knesset for Yesh Atid party from 2013 to 2015 and was the first Ethiopian-born woman to hold a Knesset seat. During her time in the Knesset, Tamano-Shata focused her work on fighting racism and discrimination in Israeli society and promoting equality for women and minorities. Prior to joining the Knesset, Tamano-Shata worked to provide mentorship and educational guidance to Ethiopian youth as a coordinator for Sparks of Science, an informal project of The Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2005, she helped found the Headquarters for the Ethiopian Jews' Struggle for Social Equity, which works to raise awareness about discrimination against members of the Ethiopian community in Israel. Tamano-Shata also worked for Channel 1 News from 2007 to 2012, where she initially worked as a reporter before becoming the host of a current-affairs talk show.

Moderator: Eitan Arom is a staff writer for the Jewish Journal of greater Los Angeles, covering a range of local Jewish issues such as civic engagement, culture, Holocaust memory, faith-based activism, politics and people. Before joining the Journal, he worked as a freelance journalist in Jerusalem, Washington D.C and Los Angeles. His stories were featured in a variety of publications including the Jerusalem Post and ran the gamut from business and entrepreneurship to religion.  Arom graduated from UCLA with bachelor's degrees in mathematics/economics and communication studies.

The Voice of the Arts

Avner Faingulernt is chair of Sapir Academic College's School of Audio and Visual Arts and an award-winning independent filmmaker whose works have been screened around the globe. Faingulernt founded the Cinema South International Film Festival in 2002 in collaboration with the School of Audio and Visual Arts at Sapir College. The festival was established to address the mixed population of residents in the Sderot area, including religious and secular Jews and Arabs, and to contribute to advancing pluralism in Israeli society. Faingulernt is also a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York, the University of Haifa and the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

Asya Lukin is a member of The New Barbizon, a group founded in 2011 by five Israeli artists born in the former USSR. Lukin and the New Barbizon painters depict everyday life in Israel and abroad, especially bringing excluded or forgotten individuals (foreign workers, asylum seekers, new immigrants) from the background of the picture to its foreground. Lukin works mainly works in two media: painting and stop motion animation. Her paintings have been shown in Israel and internationally, and her films have participated in numerous festivals, including the Leipzig DOC Festival, Zagreb Festival, Ottawa Festival, KROK and others. Lukin studied Fine Arts in Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, Israel; Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, France, and in the Royal College of Art and Royal Drawing School, London. She lives and works in Jaffa.

May Zarhy is an independent choreographer and performer, whose work has been presented in theaters worldwide. Zarhy creates stage works, as well as site-specific work, such as the piece "YES", created for the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2015. She works in collaboration with other artists out of interest to expand the boundaries of what dance could be and to create a shared platform of knowledge, which would eventually be shared with an audience. She is one of the founders of the choreographic collective "MAMAZA", with whom she also developed projects of intervention in urban space. Such projects are aimed at bridging and communicating with local communities, as well as creating links between choreography and other mediums, such as architecture and music. Zarhy is a visiting professor in The School of Visual Theater and the Academy of Music & Dance in Jerusalem.

Moderator: Shulamit Nazarian has an extensive background in arts and architecture. She currently owns and operates Shulamit Nazarian gallery, dedicated to emerging and mid-career artists. Nazarian studied architecture at the University of Southern California and completed her degree at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Upon graduating, she worked at Wilson & Associates, an internationally acclaimed interior design firm. Nazarian currently sits on several boards, including the Art Advisory Board at USC Hillel and Zimmer Children's Museum's YouThink Advisory Committee, and a major supporter of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. She is also an active member of the Fellows of Contemporary Arts and ArtTable and a supporter of arts and education in the Los Angeles community through her gallery's nonprofit entity, Shoe-LA.com.

Doing Well by Doing Good

Sinan AbuShanab is Program Manager for Our Generation Speaks, a fellowship program and incubator for young Israeli and Palestinian community leaders to create high-impact ventures together, cooperating across ethnic and political lines to build shared prosperity within the region. A native of Bethlehem, Sinan has a professional background in IT, networks, and management. He began working with OGS in May 2016 and previously worked at Al-Quds University and at the Palestine Information and Communications Technology Incubator (PICTI), the first nonprofit startup incubator in Palestine. Sinan holds a Master of Science in Management and Information Systems from the University of Manchester and a Master of Arts in Intellectual Encounters of the Islamicate World from the Free University of Berlin.

Narkis Alon is the Co-founder of Ze-Ze, a platform for social enterprises led by young people and the Co-Founder and CCO of Elevation Academy, a technology and entrepreneurship academy. Narkis is a Ford Fellow of the 92nd Street Y, a member in the ROI Community of Jewish Innovators, a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum and was recently named 30 under 30 by Forbes Israel. Narkis is a member of the steering committee for women empowerment of Tel-Aviv Municipality and a mentor in the Global Education Leadership Foundation in India. She served at Israel’s 8200 elite intelligence unit of IDF and a mentor at EISP 8200 accelerator for social entrepreneurs. She has made speaking appearances at international conferences such as Davos, TEDx and more.

Cecile Blilious is the Founder and Managing Partner at Impact First Investments, Israel’s first impact venture fund that focuses exclusively on investing in technology companies that are creating innovative ways to address global social challenges through new ideas, technologies and business models. Cecile specializes in merging technology, profit and social impact and is a pioneer of the impact investing industry in Israel. Prior to founding Impact First, Cecile managed the Noaber Foundation’s Israeli investments for over 14 years and has extensive hands-on management experience with high-tech start-ups. Additionally, Cecile held executive positions and led several companies as a CEO and on behalf of the Noaber Foundation, served as a chairperson and board member on many more. Moreover, she was one of the initiators of the Al-Bawader private equity fund, established to invest in businesses in the Arab community in Israel.

Neta-Li Meiri is Managing Director of the 8200 Social Program, an incubator that helps support entrepreneurs through accelerated training and networking activities. Prior to starting her current position, Meiri volunteered for more than a year as the program's director of Marketing, Advertising and PR while working as a Corporate-Civil Litigator at two of the largest law firms in Israel: "M. Firon & Co." and "S.Horowitz & Co." Before and during her university studies, Meiri worked at two Startup companies (Insightix and Dgtronix) in marketing and business development positions. Before beginning her studies, she served in the 8200 unit as an English Intelligence Analyst and after Officers Course, as the head of the Foreign Relations Section.

Moderator: Lisa Greer, an active philanthropist, investor and entrepreneur, spent most of her career in executive leadership roles with both major corporations and start-up businesses. She was the founder of Beverly Hills Egg Donation, an agency that continues to help people throughout the world become parents through the power of cutting-edge, assisted reproductive technology. Previously, Ms. Greer founded and served as managing partner of Media Venture Advisors, a management consulting and strategic advisory firm, specializing in digital media and entertainment ventures. Earlier in her career, Lisa oversaw the development of the online and related business divisions at NBC, Universal Studios, and Spencer Gifts, while also launching pioneering ventures into music webcasting.