Team


We are proud to be have experienced and dedicated professionals leading our efforts around the world.

  • Yotam Polizer

    Chief Executive Officer

    Yotam Polizer is the global CEO of IsraAID – overseeing IsraAID's global operations, strategy and partnerships.

    Following the September 2015 refugee crisis in Europe, he led IsraAID’s humanitarian mission in Lesbos, Greece, to support Syrian refugees on the island and also established IsraAID Germany, which provides long-term support for Yazidi and Syrian refugees in Germany. Over the course of nine years at IsraAID, Yotam has also built and led psychosocial programs in Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and in South Korea to support the reintegration of North Korean defectors. In addition, he led missions in Nepal following the 2015 Earthquake and in Sierra Leone for Ebola survivors, health workers, and affected communities. He has more than 13 years’ experience in humanitarian aid and international development. Prior to joining IsraAID in 2011, he managed an educational project as part of the NGO Tevel B'tzedek in Nepal and a social justice initiative to support Bedouin youth in the Negev. Yotam graduated from Tel Aviv University, studying African studies and international relations, and speaks fluent Nepalese and Japanese.

  • Naama Gorodischer

    Senior Director of Programs

    Naama is a native Israeli with Chilean citizenship who has spent the better part of the last 10 years dedicated to improving education in Israel and Africa.

    She obtained her undergraduate degree in Sociology, Anthropology and Education and her Masters in Community Development Studies, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Prior to her studies, Naama worked in Uganda, where, together with partners, she founded a local NGO Dubbed ‘Little Light’. The NGO has been operating an informal school and community center in one of the biggest slums in Kampala for out-of-school children since 2006. Naama has extensive experience in the field of education, specifically with youth-at-risk and victimized populations, both in the formal and the non-formal education system and in out-of-home care programs. Following her M.A studies, Naama was involved in the management of a peacebuilding program in Sri Lanka, in a Sarvodaya-USAID project. Since 2013 Naama has been working with IsraAID, initially as the Kenya Country Director, leading operations in Kakuma refugee camp in the fields of water, sanitation and hygiene, psychosocial support, relief programs and capacity building activities. Currently, Naama is IsraAID's Senior Director of Programs, spending her time between the field and the headquarters in Tel Aviv, opening new operations in emergencies and supervising IsraAID's programs worldwide.

  • Tamar Lazarus

    Senior Director of Development

    Tamar Lazarus is the Senior Director of Development at IsraAID, with over seven years' experience in resource development and fundraising in Israel's not-for-profit sector.

    Tamar moved to Israel from London in 2010, where she worked in Local Government policy design and management. Upon arrival in Israel, she focused on NGO resource development, most recently at The Abraham Fund Initiatives, an Arab-Jewish organization working towards increased inclusion and equality between Israel's diverse citizens. Tamar completed master's degrees in Middle Eastern Politics and Local Government Management and Policy, and lives in Modiin, with her husband and 3 kids.

  • Irina Kegeles

    Senior Director of Finance

    Irina Kegeles is the Senior Director of Finance at IsraAID, with over ten years’ experience in financial management, control and compliance in the Israeli and international non-profit and financial advisory sectors.

    Irina moved to Israel from Moscow in 2013, where she worked at a ‘Big Four” accounting firm, specializing in financial advisory, mergers and acquisitions, as well as in a private equity fund. Upon arrival to Israel, she focused on NGO financial management, working in international non-profit organizations responding to the global refugee crisis. Irina holds a master’s degree in Financial and Strategic Management and lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and son.

  • Shlomit Tron

    Senior Director of Human Resources

    Shlomit Tron is the Senior Director of Human Resources at IsraAID, with over fifteen years' experience in Human Resource Management in both the business and not-profit sectors.

    Shlomit spent more than 13 years in the hi-tech and online industries, managing HR in global companies. She holds an MSc. in Organizational Behavior, and has vast experience in change management, mentoring leaders and corporate governance. Shlomit was born and raised in Jerusalem and for the last 11 years she is a proud Tel Avivian. She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband, three children and a cat.

  • Eyaid Ahmed

    Auditor

    Eyaid is an accountant, tax consultant and government certified financial consultant with over 10 years of experience working in the non-profit sector.

    He holds a BA in economics and MBA in Business Management from Ben Gurion University (BGU), and is currently finishing an MBA in Law from Bar-Ilan University. Eyaid heads an accounting office in Beer Sheva, and has been teaching tax and accounting at Sapir college for 10 years. Since 2009, he has also been lecturing for the BGU Management School's MBA program. Highly involved in the research sector, Eyaid’s research proposal recently won an Excellence Award from the Israeli Center for Third Sector Research in Israel. He is also about to start his PhD studies at the School of Management, where he is hoping to focus on "Employment in the Arab sector in Israel".

  • Ben Gido

    WASH Sector Coordinator

    Ben is an Environmental Engineer, experienced in WASH interventions and water projects in challenging environments.

    Ben began working in challenging environments in 2007 as a field coordinator for an agriculture company in East Ethiopia. The severe water concerns the population faced led to Bens' passion and extensive knowledge of water science and technology. Ben holds a B.Sc. in Soil and Water Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an M.Sc. in Environmental Science from the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Technion, Israel. His wide-ranging knowledge on this topic brought him to IsraAID to establish the WASH department. Ben has been working with IsraAID since 2013. Currently, he is working on developing a combination of low-tech and suitable high-tech solutions, facility construction and technology transfers of short term interventions as well as long term development projects.

  • Molly Bernstein

    Development & Communications Manager

    Molly Bernstein began working with IsraAID as the Head of Mission in Lesvos, Greece, providing support and services for refugees on the island. Upon finishing her tenure in Lesvos, Molly joined the IsraAID HQ team as Development and Communications Manager.

    Raised partially in Kfar Saba and partially in Philadelphia, Molly holds an MA in Contemporary Middle Eastern History from Tel Aviv University, and BAs in Arabic Studies and Government & Politics from the University of Maryland. In 2015 she moved back to Tel Aviv and worked as an editor and contributor at the Haaretz newspaper and at an Arab-Jewish NGO. Molly has lived in a smattering of strange places, learning Arabic and Persian along the way. In her spare time, Molly is an aggressive runner, a mediocre potter, and soon to be a PhD candidate with research focusing on the intersection of narrative and media in the Middle East.

  • Niv Rabino

    HR Manager

    Currently HR manager at IsraAID HQ, Niv was formerly the Director of Programs and Outreach at IsraAID US and Head of Mission in Texas, as well as the Head of Mission in Lesvos, Greece.

    Niv was responsible for the immediate operations after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and implementing short- and long-term programs in the US to mitigate and reduce disaster risks and enhance community response. In Greece, Niv ran psychosocial and medical programs on Lesvos, supporting relief efforts for the refugee population on the island. Prior to his role in IsraAID, Niv served as Tzedek (UK) Program Manager in Ghana, working in volunteer management and long-term development projects with local NGOs. An Israeli-American citizen, in 2013 Niv graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Sustainable Development program, including research in five countries concentrating on Global Public Health. Born in Haifa, Israel, after graduating from high school Niv served for four years in the Paratroopers special forces reconnaissance unit.

  • Liora Singer Gefen

    Finance Manager

    Liora joined IsraAID HQ in 2019.

    Liora holds an M.A in Law from Bar Ilan University and a B.A in Economics and Management from Ben Gurion University. She has over 13 years of experience in budget control and procurement management, both in the private and public sectors. Liora served as an education officer in the IDF and has been involved in various community volunteer projects. She recently decided to enter the non-profit sector, bringing together her professional experience and personal values. Liora lives in Givatayim with her husband and three kids.

  • Charlotte Geva

    Institutional Grants Manager

    Charlotte joined IsraAID's HQ in 2019 as Institutional Grants Manager.

    Originally from Germany, Charlotte worked at GIZ - the German Corporation for International Cooperation - for many years, specializing in the MENA region with a professional focus on donor relations, gender mainstreaming and good governance, and has completed field placements in Sanaa and Amman. Charlotte holds an MPA in Public Policy and International Development at the University of York in England.

  • Tali Sammstein

    HR Director

    Tali joined IsraAID in 2016. She has over nine years of experience in general management and human resources management.

    Tali has a bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy from Tel Aviv University. Prior to joining IsraAID, Tali held Human Resources leadership positions for several organizations, including international experience in Belize and Roatan. She also has a background in the para-medical field and worked with children for two years. Tali lives in Oranit with her husband and three children.

  • Kym Donnelly

    HR Manager

    Kym is an HR professional with over 10 years’ experience in general HR, with a passion for training and development.

    Kym is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, where she studied Industrial Psychology. She has worked in Human Resources in South Africa, Israel and the UK in manufacturing, banking, retail and call centers, taking care of Human Resources and Training. She’s passionate about people, learning and development. Kym lives in Tel Aviv with her Husband.

  • Chava Mugrabi

    Accounting Officer

    Chava is the Accounting Officer at IsraAID and a certified bookkeeper with over five years of administrative experience in the Israeli education system.

    Chava was born and raised in Israel. Following a military career as an HR officer, she went on to study Leadership and Educational Management at Bar-Ilan University and then she worked in the informal and special education system for several years. In 2019, Chava made a career change and went on to study bookkeeping at Mishlav college, graduating with excellence. Chava lives in Modiin with her husband and three kids.

  • Ethan Schwartz

    Media & Communications Manager

    Ethan is IsraAID’s Media & Communications Manager.

    Ethan supports IsraAID’s missions around the globe with communications strategy and led media work on the ground during the 2019 Cyclone Idai emergency response in Mozambique. He joined IsraAID in 2018 after several years as Digital Campaigns & Press Officer for Yachad, the UK-based pro-peace advocacy organization. Ethan has worked previously as a freelance journalist for publications focusing on international finance, markets, and philanthropy, and as the English Web Editor of a London-based magazine covering Israeli politics and culture. Ethan studied Religion, Philosophy and Ethics at King’s College London. Born in New York and brought up in London via Harare, Zimbabwe, Ethan moved to Tel Aviv in 2017.

  • Yahel Shemesh

    Protection Sector Leading Coordinator

    Yahel leads IsraAID’s Protection Sector at IsraAID HQ in Tel Aviv. She has over 13 years’ experience in child protection.

    Yahel has degrees in social work from Ben Gurion University and Tel Aviv University, and extensive experience working with youth at-risk in Israel, specializing in providing psychotherapy for child survivors of violence and sexual abuse. She first started at IsraAID as part of the emergency response team deployed to Nepal following the 2015 earthquake, subsequently working in South Sudan as a child protection consultant. In her role at IsraAID, Yahel oversees the professional sector’s strategy, training programs, and content development, and supervises protection programs in IsraAID’s ongoing countries of operation.

  • Anva Ratzon

    Protection Sector Coordinator

    Anva Ratzon is a social worker specializing in Disaster Risk Reduction and Community & Organizational Development. Anva works at IsraAID and as a freelance consultant focusing on social protection issues for the government, NGO, and private sectors.

    Since 2012, Anva has led emergency response and international development programs in Israel and around the world, including in Nepal, India, the Philippines, Mozambique, the US, and more. Before joining IsraAID, Anva was the Central Regional Manager for the Israeli Trauma Coalition, working in municipality and professional emergency preparedness, specifically on the mental health and psychosocial aspects. Anva holds a B.A. in social work, and 2 M.A. degrees – one in Emergency and Disaster Management in Public Health, and one in Organizational and Community Development – and she will soon begin her doctorate in Emergency and Disaster Management. She is a yoga instructor and has a diploma in Focusing Therapy with a specialization in trauma. Anva is a reserve officer for the Home Front Command in the Israeli Army, where she has served as a Population Behavior Officer for the last decade.

  • Michal Bar

    Emergency Coordinator

    Michal leads IsraAID's response to disasters and emergencies worldwide.

    Born and raised in Israel, Michal has over 15 years of experience working in the public sector, including the IDF, the state attorney’s office, the Knesset, and civil society organizations. She studied Law and Government at the IDC and has a master’s degree in international and community development from the Hebrew University. Michal joined IsraAID as the Head of Mission to Dominica, where she lead operations after Hurricane Maria. For the last two years, Michal has been the Emergency Response lead at IsraAID, dividing her time between disaster-affected areas around the world and Tel Aviv, the city she loves to call home.

  • Michal Strahilevitz

    Regional Director

    Michal Strahilevitz is IsraAID's Regional Director for the Americas, with over fifteen years of experience managing aid and development operations across the globe.

    Over the years, Michal has focused on supporting vulnerable communities, particularly those affected by disasters and conflicts, in countries such as Mexico, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Israel. She has led a wide range of projects in areas including economic development, livelihoods, women's empowerment, community development and resilience, DRR, capacity building and peacebuilding. Prior to joining IsraAID in 2019, Michal worked for the International Labour Organization (ILO), supporting the development of industry-wide initiatives promoting responsible business practices while improving labour standards. At IsraAID, Michal oversees and directs the organization's operations in the Americas. Michal holds a BBA in Business Administration (ESGCI-Paris), MA in International Development Studies (University of Amsterdam) and an MSt in Human Rights Law (Oxford University).

  • Laura Di Castro

    Regional Director

    Laura Di Castro is the Regional Director for Asia and Pacific at IsraAID.

    Before joining IsraAID, Laura spent two years in West Africa managing awareness-raising campaign programs on the risks of irregular migration, working for the Italian Development Agency and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Laura has also worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization for the UN (FAO) in Rome, focusing on REDD+, deforestation and environmental protection. She has experience as a social entrepreneur, co-founding and leading educational programs for youth at risk in Guatemala under ExpresARTE Iniciativa, an association that promotes social change through arts. Laura holds an MA in International Development from the Sciences Po, Paris. Born and raised in Italy, today Laura is happily based in Tel Aviv.

U.S.

  • Seth Davis

    CEO, IsraAID U.S.

    Seth is the Chief Executive Officer of IsraAID U.S.

    An Israeli-American, Seth grew up in Ashkelon, Israel, and is now based in New York City. Seth has extensive experience in the non-profit world, most recently at the Center of Entrepreneurial Jewish Philanthropy, where he was VP Philanthropic Advisor. He has previously worked for Hashomer Hachadash, an Israeli NGO focused on connecting young people to land, and the Israel Tennis Centers.

  • Sarith Honigstein

    Senior Director of Operations, IsraAID US

    Sarith is the Sr. Director of Operations for IsraAID US. She is responsible for the daily operations of the organisation’s US-based activities.

    Sarith is a seasoned marketing and programs professional with 15 years of work experience for technology companies and nonprofit organizations. She holds a BA in International Relations from Hebrew University, Jerusalem and a MSc in Marketing from Baruch College, New York. Originally from Germany, Sarith lived in the UK and Israel before relocating to the Bay Area in 2012. Before joining IsraAID in early 2017, Sarith set up and ran a community outreach program for Jewish families in the Bay Area as well as consulted for various local non-profits on marketing and outreach.

  • Farah Shamolian

    IsraAID Humanitarian Professionals Director, IsraAID US

    Farah directs the Humanitarian Professionals Network (IHPN), a program that trains professionals in disaster response and deploys them around the world.

    Farah worked with IsraAID Greece implementing programs for refugees (2017-2018), and headed IsraAID's emergency response mission following the Volcán de Fuego eruption in Guatemala (2018).

  • Rachel Wallace

    Director of Outreach & Engagement, IsraAID US

    Rachel oversees IsraAID US’s community and university partnerships, programs, and events.

    She brings to the role her background in nonprofits, interfaith/international relations, and young professional and youth leadership development.

  • Rachael Sonntag-Bloom

    Resource Development Director, IsraAID US

    Rachael is the Resource Development Director for IsraAID US, based in Los Angeles. Rachael brings over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector at a variety of Jewish communal, medical and philanthropic organizations.

    Prior to joining IsraAID, Rachael was the Director of Development at Jewish World Watch and the former Director of Membership & Development at Sinai Temple. She also served as a consultant for a local humanitarian aid start-up Save the Syrian Children, which provides medical supplies to Syrian hospitals to treat victims of war. Rachael first got her start in the field of philanthropy managing fundraising projects at USC's Keck School of Medicine as a Development Project Manager and assisted in community engagement and strategic communications projects at California Community Foundation, specifically around local immigrant integration and community development initiatives. Rachael is a member of both the LA World Affairs Council's Young Professionals Program and the Los Angeles Chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. She is also a former OTZMA Fellow with the Jewish Federations of North America, where she volunteered in Israel for a year working with immigrant communities. She is a recent graduate of the Jewish Federations of Greater Los Angeles' Rautenberg New Leaders Project (NLP). A graduate of the University of Southern California, Rachael holds a BA in Political Science, with a specialization in Communications and Nonprofit Management.