A podcast powered by Jewish National Fund where we'll be sharing with you stories of interesting people doing fascinating work all over Israel. #poweredbyJNF
Amotz Eyal, Founder and CEO of Tazpit Press Service (TPS)
1:04:04Until 2010, Israel did not have any newswires, so most media coverage of Israel came from foreign sources, from AP and Reuters to incredibly biased Palestinian news outlets. This changed with the founding of Tazpit Press Service (TPS), which today remains the only Israeli newswire agency. In its 13 years, TPS has grown exponentially, now reaching over 10 million people worldwide and distributing over 5,000 articles per year. Host Steven Shalowitz sits down with Amotz Eyal, Founder and CEO of TPS, to discuss his motivations behind creating TPS, its growth, and the dangers of news outlets getting international stories from one or two sources.
Sophia Tupolev-Luz, Co-founder of The Reboot Startup Nation
53:42When the Russia invasion of Ukraine resulted in the displacement of Jews from the region, Sophia Tupolev-Luz was just looking to help a few of her friends. That initial assistance has snowballed into serving over 15,000 people through co-founding The Reboot Startup Nation. Working with Israeli tech and startup companies, she and her nonprofit help find tech jobs for immigrants, making their transition to Israel easier. Host Steven Shalowitz sits down with Tupolev-Luz to discuss the origins of her nonprofit, the hurdles displaced immigrants face in Israel, and why it’s so important to support them.
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Olga Deutsch, Vice President, NGO Monitor
1:05:50Started after the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban, NGO Monitor is a globally recognized research institute promoting democratic values and good governance, working to ensure that decision makers and civil society operate in accordance with the principles of accountability, transparency, and universal human rights. Combining research and analysis with action, they have helped successfully defund over $100 million from various anti-Israel organizations in the last 10 years alone. Host Steven Shalowitz sits down with NGO Monitor Vice President Olga Deutsch to discuss which NGOs are the biggest violators, how they combat that, and the importance of holding these organizations accountable.
Ami Moyal, President, Akefa College
47:55As global needs shift and a greater importance has been placed on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), the global workforce has not yet caught up to meet these needs. Even in Israel, the startup nation, there is a shortage of people with crucial engineering and science experience. Afeka Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering is working on fixing this through recruiting and educating students in these much-needed fields. Host Steven Shalowitz sits down with host Steven Shalowitz talk to Ami Moyal, the President of Afeka Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering, on the importance of STEM education, his and the college’s research on speech recognition, and how to adjust education based on the current generation of students. Prof. Ami Moyal has served as President of Afeka Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering since 2014. Under his leadership, Afeka’s student body has grown at an average rate of 9% per year, and today the college’s graduates contribute $2.25 billion annually to Israel’s GDP. Before joining Afeka, Moyal was active in the speech processing high-tech industry for 15 years, and held positions as VP Technology Dev., VP Business Dev., and CEO of Natural Speech Communication Ltd. Moyal has been published in The Jerusalem Post, Forbes, and Boston Business Journal.
Matthew Nouriel, The Empress Mizrahi
54:25Matthew Nouriel has always worn many hats. A drag queen who goes by the stage name “The Empress Mizrahi,” the nonbinary activist is also the Community Engagement Director at JIMENA - Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, which connects Matthew to their Iranian Jewish roots. Host Steven Shalowitz sits down with Matthew to discuss their journey towards coming to terms with their identities, how Middle Eastern and African Jews are not a monolith, and the importance of compassion when it comes to Israel advocacy.
Tania Pons Allon, Director, Joint Institute for Food, Water, and Energy Security
40:04One of Jewish National Fund-USA’s most groundbreaking initiatives, the Kasser Joint Institute for Global Food, Water, and Energy Security is a collaboration with the University of Arizona, the Arava regional councils, and Jewish National Fund-USA, that seeks to find applicable solutions to food security, water scarcity, and energy poverty particularly in arid environments. The plan is to branch out into Africa and provide technology transfer, applied research, knowledge, training, ongoing guidance, and education. Host Steven Shalowitz sits down with Tania Pons Allon, Director of the Kasser Joint Institute, to discuss the challenges facing the Arava, a few of the projects the Joint Institute is working on, and her journey from Tel Aviv to the desert.
Yuval David, Jewish LGBTQ activist
1:09:04Actor and filmmaker Yuval David knows the power of advocacy. Encouraged to change his name because it was “too foreign,” David stayed true to who he was, and rose through the industry to win multiple Emmys, as well as become a staunch supporter of the Jewish and LGBTQ communities. And despite pressure from outside forces, including some of his peers, he continues to fight Jew hatred and anti-Zionism daily. Host Steven Shalowitz sits down with David to discuss the discrimination he’s faced in the film industry and how he rose above it, what Zionism means to him, and his LGBTQ activism in the Middle East.
Prof. Ruben Michael Ceballos, Phd., Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas
52:26The Faculty Fellowship Program in Israel is a crucial education initiative that invites full-time university and college faculty members to participate in an academic trip to Israel. Supported and funded by Jewish National Fund-USA, the program enables participants to meet with professionals and experts to understand the many facets of Israel’s evolving national and international policies, in addition to connecting educators and researchers with their Israeli counterparts for a freer exchange of ideas. Host Steven Shalowitz sits down with Dr. Ruben Ceballos, a biology professor and researcher from University of Arkansas and faculty fellowship attendee, to discuss his academic research, key takeaways from his faculty fellowship experience, and how he’s using science to build cultural bridges.
Eric Rubin, President and CEO, Uncommon Charitable Impact
49:36Sports have always been an incredible unifier. From pickup games on the street to professional athletes competing, sports are a way for otherwise disparate individuals to come together and work with each other to reach a common goal. For years, Eric Rubin has been promoting sports as one of several ways to build bridges between Jews and other communities, from the Arab-Israeli population to African American communities in America. Host Steven Shalowitz sits down with Rubin to discuss his efforts in reaching out to other communities, the importance of Holocaust education to Arab-Israelis, and Israel’s status as the “Startup Nation.”
Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed, Executive Director, Arava Institute
46:24Based in Kibbutz Ketura in the Negev, The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is an academic and research institute working to advance cooperation between Israel and its neighbors on pressing environmental concerns. A valued Jewish National Fund-USA affiliate, the Institute brings together Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian students to study and address common problems relating to water usage, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy. Host Steven Shalowitz sits down with Dr. Tarek Abu Hamed, Executive Director of the Arava Institute, to discuss the environmental issues facing the Middle East, how the Institute is solving these issues while building community bridges, and the immediacy with which we need to address climate change.