Board of Trustees
The Foundation’s Board of Trustees brings together individuals from the fields of science, economy, culture, politics, and the media. Each member is committed to furthering German-Israeli relations actively in his/her professional field. This engagement and dedication plays a key role inside the Foundation: The Board members establish the guidelines of the Foundation’s work and decide on the allocation of funds. They advise, support and supervise the Executive with respect to his or her activities.

The Foundation’s highest authority is the Board of Trustees. Our commitment to bilateral work is also evident in the Board’s composition, with each participating government appointing six members.

Our Board members:

Dr. Dr. Hermann Simon (Chairman)
was Director of the Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum from 1988-2015. He studied history and oriental studies at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin before continuing his studies as a postgraduate in Prague; he completed his dissertation in 1975.

From 1975 onwards, he worked at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. He has published numerous articles on numismatic topics, and in particular on the history of the Jews in Germany.

photo © Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum / Anna Fischer

Yair Hamburger (Deputy Chairman)
has been CEO of the Harel Insurance Company and the Harel Insurance & Finance Group for over 20 years.

He is also Chairman of the Board of the Israeli Insurance Association and Association of Life Insurance Companies, and is a member of numerous non-profit organizations working in the charity sector and offering art for the public good. He holds a B.A. degree in economics and political science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

photo © private

Elke Büdenbender
is a qualified industrial clerk, studied law at the Justus Liebig University in Gießen and after 1994, she worked as a judge at the Hanover Administrative Court.

Since 2000, she has been a judge at the Administrative Court in Berlin (currently on leave). She is married to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and is therefore Germany’s ‘First Lady’.

photo © Bundespresseamt / Steffen Kugler

Prof. Doris Dörrie
is a well-known German film director and author.
In 1997, she was made a professor at the University of Television and Film (HFF) in Munich, where she heads the Creative Writing department. In 1985, she achieved her breakthrough as a director with the feature film Männer. To date, she has directed 33 films, including box office hits such as Keiner liebt mich, Kirschblüten – Hanami und Grüße aus Fukushima. She has also written 24 books, staged seven theater and opera performances and has won numerous awards and accolades for her work. Her latest film, Kirschblüten und Dämonen, appeared in 2019; with her current book, Leben Schreiben Atmen, she encourages readers to take up creative writing.
photo © Mathias Bothor
 Dr. Yael Hadass
is Managing Director of the Schocken publishing house in Israel and teaches economics at the Raphael Recanati International School at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya and at the Tel Aviv Academic College.

She studied economic science and English literature at Tel Aviv University, and gained her doctorate in economics and political science from Harvard University. She worked as a lecturer at both universities.
photo © Ofir Rachbuch

Jana Hensel
works as an author and freelance journalist for ZEIT Online and DIE ZEIT magazine. She was a member of the editorial board of Der Freitag weekly journal, and studied Germanic and Romance studies in Leipzig and Aix-en-Provence.

In 2002, her generation book, ‘Zonenkinder’, was published. In 2010, she won the Theodor Wolff Prize in the Essay category for ‘Vater Morgana’; in 2017, her first novel, ‘Kleinland’, was published, and in 2018, her collection of interviews ‘Wer wir sind. Die Erfahrung, ostdeutsch zu sein’ and in 2019: ‘Wie alles anders bleibt. Geschichten aus Ostdeutschland’. She was elected cultural journalist of the year for 2019 by Medium Magazine.
photo © Dominik Butzmann

 H.E. Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff
has been Ambassador for the State of Israel in Germany since 2017. Previously, he was Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, and before that, was Deputy Director General for strategic affairs.

He was posted twice to the embassy in Washington, D.C., most recently as an envoy (2005-2009). He was also appointed twice to the United Nations, most recently as a member of the UN Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (2003-2008). He studied law at the London School of Economics.
photo © Embassy of the State of Israel

Dr. Esther Lopatin
teaches at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

Until 2019, she also headed the Center for European Studies at the IDC. Her work focuses on relations between the European Union and Germany, immigration and integration policy. After gaining her doctorate in 2004, she taught at the George Washington University and was a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) at Georgetown University. She was also a Fellow of the German Marshall Fund.
photo © private

Minister of State Michelle Müntefering
has been Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office since 2018. She has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2013.

After studying journalism with a focus on economics (BA), she worked as a freelance journalist and as a research assistant at the German Bundestag. She was a member and reporter at the Committee on Foreign Affairs. She was also spokesperson of the SPD parliamentary group on cultural relations and education policy, and Chairwoman of the German-Turkish parliamentary group.

photo © Jorinde Gersina

Prof. Dr. Irit Sagi
has been Vice-President of Technology Transfer at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot since 2020, where she also holds a professorship at the Department of Biological Regulation. 

She is head of a research team studying the extracellular membrane (ECM). She also gives presentations at numerous symposia with internationally high-ranking guest speakers, in the US, Israel and Europe. In 1992, Prof. Irit Sigi completed her dissertation in Bioinorganic Chemistry at Georgetown University.

photo © Weizmann Institute of Science / Eyal Yzhar

Nili Shalev 
has been Director General of ISERD at the Israel Innovation Authority (Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry) since 2016, where she is responsible for the realization of multilateral and binational cooperation projects between Israel and Europe in the field of research and development.

Previously, she was Trade Commissioner in Australia and New Zealand, and worked on behalf of the Ministry of Economy and Industry in the US. She holds an MA degree in Communication from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

photo © Shahar Azran

Dr. Thomas Sparr
works as Editor-at-Large at the Suhrkamp Verlag publishing house in Berlin.

After completing his studies in literature and philosophy in Marburg, Hamburg and Paris from 1986 to 1989, he worked at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and then at the German Literature Archive in Marbach. From 1990 to 1998, he was head of the Jüdischer Verlag publishing house and was Editor-in-Chief at the Siedler Verlag. He gained prominence with works about Paul Celan. His most recently published work is ‘Grunewald im Orient. Das deutsch-jüdische Jerusalem’.

photo © Jürgen Bauer
Prof. Dr. Shlomo Avineri
Ambassador Yoram Ben-Zeev
Minister of State Prof. Dr. Maria Böhmer
Dr. Arye Carmon
Dr. Ruthie Eitan
Michael Federmann (vice chairman)
Ambassador Yaacov Hadas-Handelsman
Dr. Michael Jansen (chairman)
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Christoph Markschies
Dr. Michael Naumann
Prof. Dr. Günther Nonnenmacher
René R. Obermann
Prof. Dr. Fania Oz-Salzberger
Minister of State Cornelia Pieper
Adar Primor
Christina Rau
Daniela Schadt
Nava Semel (1954 – 2017)
Dr. Sylke Tempel (1963 – 2017)
David Witzthum
Prof. Regina Ziegler