The New Israel Fund Board and I are proud to announce that Rachel Liel has been selected to serve as NIF new Executive Director in Israel. Throughout her twelve year tenure as Director of SHATIL, NIF’S Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change Organizations in Israel, Rachel has played an instrumental role in expanding civil society in Israel’s periphery, reaching out to underrepresented and underserved populations and empowering new leadership throughout Israel. In 2007, Ha’aretz named Rachel as one of the 40 women making the most significant contributions to Israeli society.
Under Rachel’s leadership, SHATIL opened new offices in the eastern Galilee and the Triangle; conceived and executed an ambitious plan building new civil society organizations in the North following the second Lebanon War; developed Israel’s only comprehensive program for social change in the Mixed Cities; built successful coalitions on issues ranging from health care to the rights of women divorcing under Orthodox Jewish law; and established respected programs for leadership development and conflict resolution. SHATIL has gained international respect for its innovative work and, in 2007, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) awarded SHATIL Consultative Status. This highly prestigious designation follows the UN Department of Public Information's 2005 recognition of SHATIL as an NGO that advances issues of interest to the UN.
I’ve worked with Rachel for more than five years, collegially and with enormous respect for her intellect, character and ability to motivate and engage her staff, SHATIL clients, and our donors and friends. Since Rachel’s ‘second vocation’ as a diplomatic spouse enabled her to live in Atlanta, Chicago, Turkey and South Africa, I also know that her values and her viewpoint are truly that of a world citizen, dedicated to making Israel the society it needs to be in order to survive and flourish.
At the same time as we welcome Rachel to her new position, we will soon wish a fond farewell to current NIF Israel Director Eliezer Yaari, who has served in the position for the past twelve years. A passionate and outspoken advocate on behalf of civil and human rights, Eliezer is one of Israel’s leading activists and thinkers.
Just in the last five years, Eliezer has ensured NIF’s leadership role in the fight against the route of the separation barrier, the efforts for a peaceful Gaza disengagement, the rebuilding of the North post-Lebanon war, and in securing new opportunities for Israel’s Russian population. He also has played a major role in NIF’s highly successful Kick-it-Out program, which combats racism in Israeli society through soccer.
Eliezer’s committed leadership and innovate ideas have been key to NIF’s success over the past decade plus. While he will be missed, we look forward to his continued support of NIF’s mission.