BRIGADIER GENERAL (Ret.) AVIGDOR KAHALANI
Avigdor Kahalani was a career officer in the Israel Defense Forces, ultimately reaching the rank of Brigadier General. He is a veteran of the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War, and the First Lebanon War and is one of the most decorated soldiers in IDF history. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, he commanded an Armored Battalion in the critical battle of the Valley of Tears on the Golan Heights on Israel’s Northern Border. For his courageous role, he was awarded the IDF’s highest decoration, the Medal of Valor. After leaving active service, he entered politics and was elected to be a Member of the Knesset. In 2014, Kahalani was awarded the President’s Medal of Distinction, the highest civilian honor in Israel. Today he lives with his wife Dalia in Tel Aviv. They have three children and six grandchildren.
David Horovitz is the founding editor of The Times of Israel, which was launched in 2012 and now has an average of eight million monthly users and over thirty million monthly page views. Horovitz was previously editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post and has written from Israel for newspapers around the world, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Irish Times, and the (London) Independent, and is a frequent interviewee on CNN, BBC, Sky, Fox News, NPR, and other TV and radio stations. A critically acclaimed author and journalist, Horovitz has been awarded multiple recognitions for his work, including the US National Jewish Book Award for Non-Fiction and the B’nai B’rith’s Lifetime Achievement Award in journalism.
Fleur Hassan-Nahoum grew up in Gibraltar and studied law at King’s College London. She qualified as a barrister in Middle Temple in 1997 and practiced in London before immigrating to Israel in 2001. In Israel, she worked at JDC in resource development for Europe and later became the Executive Director of Tikva, a nonprofit organization saving abandoned and abused Jewish children from the former Soviet Union. In 2011, she set up a communications consulting business, Message Experts, and does consulting work for large corporations and nonprofit organizations on effective communication strategies. In May 2016, Hassan-Nahoum became a City Councilor in Jerusalem, and in February 2017, the Leader of the Opposition. In November 2018, she was re-elected to the Jerusalem Municipal Council and was appointed Deputy Mayor for foreign relations, economic development, and tourism. She is currently the only British politician in Israel and is involved in the advancement of women's rights and marginalized populations groups in the city, in economic development, and the fight for a pluralistic Jerusalem. Hassan-Nahoum is a member of the Likud Central Committee.
COLONEL (Ret.) GRISHA YAKUBOVICH
A thirty-plus-year veteran of the IDF, Colonel (Ret.) Grisha Yakubovich has held senior command positions in both the West Bank and Gaza regions, concluding his military service in 2016 as the head of the civil department for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). Col. Yakubovich has a wealth of experience initiating and executing cooperative efforts between Israelis and Palestinians on the highest levels of both the public and private sectors. He is a highly sought out analyst whose perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian dynamic is invaluable and unique and is a respected consultant in both the governmental and NGO sectors.
LT. COL. (Ret.) EYAL DROR
Lieutenant Colonel Eyal Dror lives in Sde Nechemia, a kibbutz in Israel’s beautiful Galilee region near the Lebanese border, with his wife and three children. He is an IDF veteran and officer of twenty-four years. Over the course of his service, Lt. Col. Dror served in a variety of positions on the frontlines as an officer in the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit. Most recently, he founded and served as the commander of the Good Neighbor unit, where he and his soldiers provided Israeli aid to 250,000 Syrian citizens on the Israel-Syria border region, all of whom were heavily affected by the Syrian civil war. Under his command, the unit conducted over 700 humanitarian aid missions – including supplying thousands of tons of food, medicine, clothing, and more and treating 1,400 sick children and 4,500 wounded civilians.
Avi Zimmerman was born and raised in New Jersey, moved to Israel following high school, and currently lives with his wife and their five children in the city of Ariel. Zimmerman is the Founder and President of the Judea Samaria Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JS Chamber) and the President and CEO of the Integrated Business Roundtable. After completing his MBA studies at Ariel University in 2017, Zimmerman founded the JS Chamber to promote a thriving and sustainable regional economy through a growing business network that engages Israeli and Palestinian business people alike. In early 2020, he founded the Integrated Business Roundtable with a group of global impact investors to substantiate the development of a growing investment community while cultivating a regional pipeline of innovative business enterprises. Before founding the JS Chamber, Zimmerman served as the international liaison for the City of Ariel and as CEO of the Ariel Foundation for over a decade.
Murray Greenfield is one of Israel's humble heroes. In 1947, as an American sailor, he arrived in British Mandatory Palestine on the Hope -or Hatikva - ship, which was just one of the ships being operated to smuggle Holocaust survivors from Europe, home, to what would become Israel. Today, at 94, he remains one of the only known survivors of these important missions. Among his many accolades, Greenfield is one of the founding members of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel and is also the founder of Gefen Publishing House.
Roz Rothstein is the co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Roz was a family therapist for over two decades in the state of California before helping to co-found StandWithUs. Rothstein and her husband Jerry, along with community activist Esther Renzer, sought to empower Israel’s supporters worldwide through innovative educational materials, conferences, fellowships, campaigns, missions to Israel, social media, educational videos, and programs. StandWithUs has grown significantly in only 17 years and now has 18 offices on 5 continents around the world, educating people of all ages and faiths, and fighting the newest forms of anti-semitism. Roz hosts a weekly TV show on JLTV every Tuesday night about Israel related issues. Since the inception of StandWithUs, The Forward Magazine has twice named Rothstein one of the 50 most influential Jews in America, and in 2011 and again in 2016, the Jerusalem Post named her one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world.
Ashager Ararao, an Ethiopian activist, was born in Gondar, Ethiopia, and immigrated to Israel as an infant during the 1991 Operation Solomon. Araro grew up in central Israel and is one of eight children. She excelled in her military service in the Israeli Defense Forces, rising to the rank of Lieutenant in the Paratroopers Brigade. Following her military service, Araro studied government, diplomacy, and strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, where she was a StandWithUs Israel Fellow, which enabled her to pursue a career in public diplomacy. Araro’s career has brought her to countries throughout Europe, North America, and Africa, where she has engaged audiences on issues pertinent to Israel and the Jewish people. Alongside her fulfilling work in public diplomacy, Araro has recently established an Ethiopian heritage center called Battae.
PROFESSOR GIL TROY
A Distinguished Scholar in North American History at McGill University currently living in Jerusalem, Gil Troy is an award-winning American presidential historian and a leading Zionist activist. Recently designated by Algemeiner as one of the top 100 people “positively influencing Jewish life,” Prof. Troy is the author of eleven books on the American presidency, as well as multiple books on the topic of Israel and Zionism, including 2012’s Moynihan’s Moment: America’s Fight against Zionism as Racism, designated by Jewish Ideas Daily as one of the year’s “best books.” Additionally, he co-authored Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and my People with Natan Sharansky. Troy is a sought-after commentator who has been featured on CNN’s popular multipart documentaries, The Eighties, The Nineties, and The 2000s, and has been regularly published in top American, Canadian, and Israeli news outlets like the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and the Jerusalem Post.
Eytan Schwartz is the CEO of Tel Aviv Global – an initiative aimed at promoting Tel Aviv as an international center of innovation by leveraging its status as the city with the highest density of startups and technological accelerators in the world, and as a leading urban destination for visitors, conferences, and international students. Monocle Magazine named Eytan among its Dream Team of municipal officials. Eytan resides in Tel Aviv and has a BA in Anthropology summa cum laude from Columbia University and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University.
LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS
Lt. Col. Conricus is the head of the IDF International Media Branch, where he oversees the IDF’s media and public relations in Israel and around the world. In his previous position, he made history as the first Israeli soldier to serve in the United Nation’s department of Peacekeeping Operations in Manhattan, holding the position of Assessment Officer. As the IDF’s chief English-language spokesperson, Lt. Col. Conricus speaks with hundreds of international journalists on a daily basis, and has grown the Spokesperson Unit’s Twitter account to over 1 million followers.
Lahav Harkov is the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post and their Knesset correspondent. One of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s “Millenial Olim (Immigrants) Who Are Making Their Mark On Israel,” Lahav grew up in New Jersey and moved to Israel at age 17, and earned a degree in Political Science and Communications from Bar-Ilan University. An alumna of the StandWithUs Fellowship, Harkov is a highly sought-after speaker and has contributed insights to numerous international news outlets. Named by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency as the 5th most influential person on “Jewish Twitter,
Colonel Grisha Yakubovich (Res.), is the former Head of the Civilian Department in the IDF's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit. In that capacity, he led and facilitated strategic dialogue with the international community, Israeli government and the PA on matters of economics, infrastructure and foreign affairs. He is a renowned authority on Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and brings an unparalleled insider perspective on matters related to those areas.
Prof. Eugene Kontorovich teaches at Northwestern University School of Law and is a senior researcher at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem. He specializes in constitutional and international law. As a leading expert on the legal issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict, he has advised top officials and government departments in both the US and Israel. His scholarship has been cited in pathbreaking international law cases around the world. Among his professional honors are a membership at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, NJ, and the Bator Award from the Federalist Society.
Israeli Diplomat, George Deek hails from an Arab-Christian family that has lived in Jaffa for over 400 years. From a young age, he was involved in the promotion of mutual understanding between Jews and Arabs in Israel. George has served in a number of diplomatic positions in Israeli embassies around the world. He was elected by the Foreign Ministry as Israel's outstanding diplomat for the year 2014. George is a frequent public speaker and has shared his personal story in many countries. His speech in Oslo has been labeled “the best speech an Israeli diplomat ever held.” The Algemeiner magazine elected him one of the Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life in the World.
Michael Dickson is the Executive Director of StandWithUs in Israel and leads the organization’s dynamic Jerusalem-based team of educators and social-media experts.
Michael regularly addresses audiences and broadcasts on issues pertaining to Israel and public diplomacy. Michael has addressed audiences in global forums, including at the UN, in the Knesset, and in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. Michael is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Communication of Bar Ilan University, an Honorary member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, and in 2015 was appointed to the Spectrum Forum of leading Executive Directors in Israel under the age of 40. In 2016, he was listed as the 14th most influential Jew on Twitter and also named in Channel 13 TV's “30 Israelis Making a Difference.” Michael was listed in the Top 30 of "The Aliyah 100 List” of British immigrants to Israel. In 2019, he was awarded the Bonei Zion (“Builder of Zion”) Prize, recognizing the achievements of outstanding Anglo immigrants and their contribution to the State of Israel. In 2020, he was listed on the Global Jewish 100 — “a celebration of people across the world who are moving Jewish culture forward” — and was named among “The Top 40 Global Advocates for Israel Online” by JNS (Jewish News Syndicate). He is the author of “ISRESILIENCE: What Israelis Can Teach the World”, published in 2020, written together with Dr. Naomi Baum.
Michael made Aliyah from the UK in 2006, and lives in Israel with his wife and five children.
Made up of husband and wife duo, Yoni and Nina Tokayer, “Yonina” has been singing together from the moment they met. Known for their positive music and soft harmonies, Yonina create a blend between Jewish, Israeli and International music, and have reached millions of viewers across the globe with their acclaimed weekly home videos. The two have released a debut original album, "Emet Pshuta" (Simple Truth), and have been performing for the past five years throughout Israel and abroad.
Yoni Shaked is the Director of Israeli Student Programs, StandWithUs Israel. While in the IDF, Shaked served as Content Development Coordinator in the Information & Communications Technology forces. Shaked grew up and still lives in Netiv Ha’asara, located 100 meters from the Gaza Strip border. She conducts tours and lectures with a focus on the social, security, and economic aspects of living in the Gaza envelope.
Shaked is a qualified lawyer and is currently working on her thesis as part of her master’s degree in government specializing in political marketing at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
Yoni Zierler is the StandWithUs Israel Director of Tourism and leading tour educator. Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Yoni immigrated to Israel for his last year of high-school and then served (with excellence) in the IDF’s Kfir Brigade as an infantry squad commander. Upon completing his service, Yoni enrolled in the official Ministry of Tourism tour guide course in order to better understand the connection that drew him to Israel at such a young age. Since passing the rigorous Ministry exams, he has dedicated his work to sharing Israel with visitors of all backgrounds — from college students and families to personalities like Harvey Keitel and Alan Dershowitz. Yoni is happily married to Yochi, and the proud father of Golan Noam and Klil Eden.
* All speakers are subject to change as we strive to bring you the most impactful and up-to-date schedule possible.