Category Archives: About -> Researchers & Staff

Elon Seela

Elon Seela is a research assistant in the Taub Center. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prior to joining the Taub Center, Elon engaged in research of the Israeli labor market as part of the research team of the Department of Policy Planning and Strategy in the Labor Department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

Carmel Blank

Dr. Blank is a faculty member in the Behavioral Sciences Department at the Ruppin Academic Center and a researcher in the Taub Center Initiative on Early Childhood Development and Inequality. She has a BA in sociology and communication (with high honors), an MA in sociology (with honors), and a doctorate in sociology from Tel Aviv University.

In addition, she did her post-doctoral work at the University of Durham in England. Her central area of research is in educational inequality and her doctorate dealt with the link between disciplinary infractions in class and student achievement. Among other things, she looked at how different classroom disciplinary climates contribute to achievement gaps between students. Today, in addition to her work on inequalities in early childhood, she investigates gender gaps in learning the STEM subjects at the bagrut level and the way in which strong students are able to use the “second chances” tracks (like pre-university mechinas) to their advantage in gaining higher education.

Yael Navon

Dr. Yael Navon is a researcher in the Taub Center Initiative on Early Childhood Development and Inequality. Yael completed her second and third degrees in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and her first degree in economics and philosophy, from Tel Aviv University. Her doctorate, under the supervision of Prof. Yossi Shavit, dealt with the relationship between sibling characteristics and academic achievement of children in Israel. The findings from her research indicate the social and cultural context role in these relations, and point to the uniqueness of these correlations in blended families.

Yael has worked as well on applied research for the Cyber Education Center established by the Rashi Foundation. The Center has a goal of narrowing social gaps in Israel through advancement of cyber and technological education and training.

Currently, Yael researches various perspectives of teacher training and teachers’ dropout.

Michael Debowy

Michael Debowy is a research assistant at Taub Center for Social Policy Studies. He graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University with a Bachelor’s in Economics, and is currently pursuing his Phd at Ben-Gurion University. His previous academic research focused on the impact of cultural and social institutions on macroeconomic growth, while his current work investigates the aggregate impact of microeconomic imperfections on countries’ wealth. Before joining Taub Center, Michael was an analyst in the private sector.

Gil Epstein

Gil S. Epstein is a Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics at Bar-Ilan University, Israel.


After completing his doctorate in Economics and Statistics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Gil did his post doctorate  at the University of Pennsylvania.


Gil is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Population Economics and is an Associate Editor for Economics. In addition, he is a Research Fellow at IZA (Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn), CReAM (Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, London), GLO (Global Labor Organization, Germany) and Ld’A (Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, Milano).


Gil’s research interest are in Labor Economics, Migration, Public Economics, Public Choice and Public Policy.

Benjamin Bental

Prof. Benjamin Bental, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota, is a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Haifa. He has been a visiting professor at several universities around the world, including: the University of California San Diego, Humboldt University in Berlin, the New Economic School in Moscow, the Tongji University in Shanghai, and Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú.

His research interests include macroeconomics and economic growth. In recent years his research has focused on the impact of contractual frictions stemming from asymmetric information, especially in the labor market, on macroeconomic policies.

Labib Shami

Labib Shami is a senior researcher at the Taub Center, a staff member in the Department of Economics at Western Galilee College and a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Haifa. He holds a doctoral degree in Economics from the University of Haifa. His research interests lie in the area of macroeconomics, monetary policy and non-observed economies. Labib has published two Guide-Books: “Fundamentals of Economics” for finance students, 2018 (in Hebrew) and “Introduction to Statistics” for finance students, Michlala Leminhal Press, 2015 (in Hebrew).

Labib lives with his wife, also an economist, and their two children – Emily and Leon Camal.

Michal Pozmanter

Michal Pozmanter is Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Taub Center, and is responsible for cultivating new partnerships and expanding the Center’s base of support through strategic engagement of the lay leadership, membership and staff. Michal is empowered by the Center’s high-quality research which offers a comprehensive analysis of the most severe domestic challenges facing Israel today. Previously, Michal worked at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) Northeast Regional Office as Area Director for Brooklyn and Queens, New York, and Area Director for Westchester, New York. Most recently, she was Director of Development for Berman Hebrew Academy in Maryland, responsible for fulfilling the school’s annual development campaign. Michal holds a B.A. from Brandeis University in Economics with a Minor in International Business. She lives in Ra’anana with her husband and children.

Noam Zontag

Noam Zontag is a researcher at the Taub Center. He holds a B.A. in Economics and International Relations and a M.Sc. in Environmental Economics and Management, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His thesis utilizes game theory to examine the way individuals choose for others between probabilistic alternatives that involve risk.

Prior to joining the Taub Center, Noam was a researcher at the Geocartography Knowledge Group (economic department) and at the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research. He also served as an economist for the Budget Department of the Council for Higher Education.


Anat Sella-Koren

Anat is the director of marketing, communications and government relations at the Taub Center. Anat is responsible for acting as spokesperson and managing public relations, contact with Members of Knesset and government offices, and partnerships with other organizations.
Before joining the Taub Center, Anat worked as the director of marketing and spokesperson of the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, as the advertising and public relations coordinator for the Israel Festival and the marketing and advertising coordinator at Beit Avi Chai. She holds a BA in Communications and Art History from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Arielle Avraham

Arielle serves as the grants and donor relations coordinator at the Taub Center.  In this role, she manages ongoing contact with foundations, donors and other generous supporters of the Taub Center, and supports the Strategic Partnership team’s work of bringing Taub Center content into Jewish communities around the globe.


This includes writing materials such as grant applications and reports; managing the database and deadline schedules; creating relevant marketing materials and other written content for events, webinars, and mailings; and involvement in organizing events, talks, and meetings in Israel and abroad.


Previously, Arielle worked as a resource development associate at Laurie Heller and Associates, a philanthropic consulting firm, where she managed grant writing, PR writing, and donor communications for three Israeli non-profits. She also has experience in start-up client management and content writing, and held various roles within organizations such as Nefesh B’Nefesh and The Israel Museum.


She studied English Literature at Bar Ilan University after making Aliyah in 2008. Arielle’s passion for storytelling and her experience in donor and client management help her craft the Taub Center’s message to our partners, donors, and the global Jewish community.


Arielle lives in Jerusalem with her husband and two children.

Avi Weiss

Prof. Weiss is the President of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. He holds a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago. He has presided as a member of the senior faculty of Bar-Ilan University since 1988 and served as Chair of the Economics Department between 2005 and 2008. His area of expertise is Applied Economics and his research focuses on industrial organization, antitrust, labor economics, law and economics, and behavioral and experimental economics. Weiss is the editor of The Economic Quarterly – the journal of the Israel Economic Association – and is an associate editor of Economic Inquiry.


In the public domain, Prof. Weiss served as Chief Economist and Deputy Director of the Israel Antitrust Authority between 2003-2005; was a member of the Anti-Dumping Commission of the Ministry of Industry and Trade between 1999-2003; served as a member of the Subcommittee on the Cost of Living and Competition of the Trajtenberg Commission on Social and Economic Change; and acted as a consulting member of the Bachar Intra-Agency Committee for Reform of the Financial Sector. Today he is the academic representative on the Appeals Committee for the Regulation of Prices of Goods and Services Law. He is also a member of the Competition Task Force of Israel’s Grand Strategy Forum. Prof. Weiss has been a research fellow at IZA (a labor market research center) in Germany since 2000.


Throughout his academic career, Weiss has published more than fifty articles in refereed journals and professional books.

Suzanne Patt Benvenisti

Suzanne (Suzie) Patt Benvenisti is Director General of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel.


Suzie’s previous work experience includes serving as Director of Public Policy at Aetna, a US-based Fortune 100 health insurance company, where she advised senior management on issues relating to health care reform.


She has also worked for several non-profit organizations in the areas of programming and resource development and has provided management, strategy and operations consulting to a range of clients in the US, Israel, and Rwanda, including MIT’s Middle East Education through Technology (MEET), the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, Maine’s Community Partnership for Protecting Children, and the Judge Baker Children’s Center at Harvard Medical School.


In 2010, along with her husband, Suzie volunteered with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Jewish Service Corps at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, where she developed business plans for revenue generation, taught piano and singing, and mentored teenage orphans of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.


Suzie holds a Master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College, Columbia University with a B.A. in political science.  Suzie lives in Jerusalem with her husband and three children.

Casey Girard

Casey serves as the Taub Center’s Deputy Director of Strategic Partnerships. In this role, Casey is responsible for building key relationships through the Center’s growing global network, cultivating and expanding the institution’s donor base, and conveying the Center’s research findings to communities around the world.


Previously, Casey was the Director of Resource Development at Ruach Hadashah in Jerusalem. Prior to moving to Israel in 2016, Casey worked at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for 11 years in Washington D.C. and San Francisco. During her tenure, she served in various capacities including fundraising, lay leadership training, speech writing, video producing, and event production. Casey graduated in 2005 with a BSc in sociology from Bristol University, England where she also grew up.


Casey made Aliyah in 2017 and is committed to finding ways of improving opportunity and prosperity for all of Israel’s citizens. Today, she is thankful to work for an organization whose mission is aligned with her values, and that serves as a critical tool to achieving this goal.

Nachum Blass

Nachum Blass is the Education Policy Program Chair at the center,  and has been conducting research in the field of education for the past 45 years.

During these years, Nachum held various positions, including Assistant Director of the Ministry of Education, Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Education, and Director of the Institute for the Development of Education and Welfare.  Since 1989, he has been an independent researcher.

Nachum has coordinated various projects, such as education planning for the 1980s, preparation for absorbing the influx of Russian immigrants, and planning for extended school days, as well as participating in the Shoshani Committee for funding primary education and two other subcommittees in the national task force for the education system.


Dov Chernichovsky z”l

Professor Dov Chernichovsky passed away on January 2020 he was a Professor Emeritus of health economics and policy in the Department of Health Administration at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and a state-appointed chair of the Israeli National Nutrition Security Council.


Dov headed the Health Policy Program at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, and served on the boards of the Israeli Cancer Society and the Association for the Advancement of Education in Israel. Dov was a retiree and consultant for the World Bank, and was a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). He has also worked as a consultant with major pharmaceutical companies including Teva, Abbvie, and Takeda on innovative approaches for navigating rapidly changing social and medical environments.


Mainly on behalf of the World Bank, Dov worked in Australia, Botswana, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Romania, and Russia.


Dov was a leading writer on health system finance, organization, and reform. Dov has published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, The Milbank Quarterly, and other major scientific journals. He was on the boards of several such journals.


Dov was a member of the State Commission of Inquiry into the Israeli Health Care System that led to the national health insurance legislation enacted in Israel in 1995, served on other national committees, and was an adviser to the Israeli parliament on health system issues. Dov maintains a leading role in the health policy dialogue in Israel and internationally.


His latest major work involved proposals to institute national long-term care insurance in Israel, to improve healthcare in the Israeli Arab population, to reform hospital reimbursement and finance, to use Fuzzy Logic for prioritization of new technologies, to employ Big Data and Machine Learning for risk adjusted (capitation) allocation mechanisms, and to finance and organize the Israeli healthcare with a view towards the future.

John Gal

Professor Gal is the Chair of the Social Welfare Policy program and a Principal Researcher at the Taub Center. He is at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and served as Dean of the school. He serves as Director of the research program in the field of social welfare policy. Professor Gal was a member of the Tamir Commission (2002), which recommended implementing the Wisconsin Plan in Israel. In 2007, he served in the public committee appointed by the Israel Academy of Sciences to assess the Wisconsin Plan’s achievements and failures. He was recently a member of the Committee for Combating Poverty (2014) and headed the sub-committee on social security and welfare. Professor Gal has a PhD in social work from the Hebrew University (1996). He has published many articles and books, including: A Voluntary Burden Indeed? The Story of Dealing with Unemployment (2002), Social Security in Israel (2004), and Policy Practice in Social Work (2011). He also edited Professional Ideologies and Preferences in Social Work: A Global Study (2003) with Idit Weiss and John Dixon, and Social Workers Affecting Social Policy (2013) with Idit Weiss-Gal,. Two additional books were published by the Taub Center: . Aviram, U., Gal, J. and Katan, Y. (eds.), (2007).  Formulating social policy in Israel: Trends and issues (2007) with Uri Aviram and Yossi Katan and Access to Social Justice in Israel (2009) with Mimi Ajzenstadt  His academic focus is primarily on comparative analysis and implementation of social policy and social security in Israel and around the world. His current research topics include Mediterranean welfare states, religion and social policy, immigration and social policy, policy practice as well as a historical perspective on the social work profession.

Yossi Shavit

Yossi Shavit is the Weinberg professor of sociology at Tel Aviv University. He is now the Chair of Early Childhood Initiative at the Taub Center. He specializes in the study of stratification processes with an emphasis on education and educational policy. He is also studying ethnic relations and immigration.
Shavit has also led several internationally comparative studies on social inequality. These include a study of stability and change in inequality of educational opportunity (Persistent Inequality, 1993); a study on country differences in the way young people make their way from school to the labor market (From School to Work, 1998), and on inequality in higher education (Stratification in Higher Education, 2007). He has also published many research papers on social inequality, ethnic relations and education in Israel and elsewhere.
Shavit completed his doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and won Alon and Spencer fellowships. He has previously served as Professor at the European University Institute, has served as the President of the Israeli Sociological Association, and heads Taub Center’s Initiative on Early Childhood Development and Inequality


Alex Weinreb

Professor Alex Weinreb is the Research Director at the Taub Center. He is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Health and Society undergraduate major at the University of Texas in Austin. Prior to his move to UT, he was a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Hebrew University.


Professor Weinreb is a social demographer whose work has focused primarily on population change in developing countries—he spent lots of time running NIH-funded research projects in sub-Saharan Africa. He has also worked extensively on cross-cultural measurement issues and, most recently, on Jewish population issues. Professor Weinreb has published many journal articles, co-authored Religion and AIDS in Africa (OUP, 2012) and is currently finalizing a second book manuscript The Mismeasure of Society: How Western Survey Traditions Misrepresent Poor Countries.


Professor Weinreb received his PhD in Demography and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, and was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Demography at the Population Research Center at the University of Chicago. He has a BA in Philosophy and Politics from the University the Durham (UK).


Dana Vaknin

Dana is a researcher in the initiative on early childhood development and inequality at the Taub Center. She has a BA and MA from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. Her thesis explores how economic status during early childhood affects later academic achievements. In addition, Dana is an editorial assistant for the journal Israeli Sociology and works as a TA in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University.

Haim Bleikh

Haim holds a Master’s degree in Economics from Bar Ilan University, focusing on the topic of “Time Series Analysis and Adjustment: Measuring, Modeling and Forecasting for Business and Economics.”


In 2009, Haim joined the Taub Center research team. Since then, he has participated in research on the subject of poverty and inequality. In addition, he has participated in research on demographics within the education system.

Yuval Levy

Yuval Levy is a research assistant at the Taub Center. Before joining the Center, he worked for the international credit rating agency, S&P Global Ratings, as part of the financial institutions division. His job included market and industry research, making economic and financial projections and issuing credit ratings for all major firms in the domestic market.

Yuval holds a B.Sc. in Statistics, Operations-Research and Economics from Tel-Aviv University.


Shavit Madhala

Shavit Madhala is a researcher at the Taub Center since 2014. She holds a BA (with honors) and MA in the research track of the Environmental Economics and Management Department in the Faculty of Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Amirim Program – a research program for honor students. Her research at the Taub Center has included the areas of welfare and the Israeli labor market.

In 2015, Shavit published an original work on the future of the Israeli labor market, and following that, she has lectured and spoken to numerous organizations and government agencies on the subject. Since then, she continues to be a member of various committees dealing with welfare and work like the Israel Democracy Institute, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and other government committees.

In the past, Shavit has been a teaching assistant for BA and MA students and a research assistant in the Economics Department of the Faculty of Agriculture, The Hebrew University, and worked as an economist in Zenovar, a company offering economic, financial, and strategic consulting services.


Kyrill Shraberman

Kyrill and his family immigrated to Israel from Lviv, Ukraine in 1992.


Kyrill began his studies at the Hebrew University in 2001, and graduated in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics and Agriculture Management. In 2009, Kyrill joined the Taub Center. His fields of research include the labor market, income inequality and taxes.


Kyrill’s current work is related to general household expenditures and household spending on education in particular. He also conducts research on the relationship between education and economic growth.

Liora Bowers

Liora Bowers is the

Chief Financial & Operating Officer at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. Liora’s work areas include finance, budgeting and HR, and she is also responsible for developing policy briefs providing context and policy recommendations on current socioeconomic issues.  Several recent areas of focus include flexicurity labor policy, privatization in the healthcare system, pensions and social security, and health system priorities. Before joining the Taub Center, Liora was the Director of Health Policy and Practice for the Berkeley Forum project, a major health reform initiative involving the largest private and public sector healthcare organizations in California.  Liora has policy, strategy and finance experience with various for-profit and non-profit organizations, including Deloitte Consulting, Onyx Pharmaceuticals (now Amgen), the Clinton Foundation and Stanford Financial.  Liora holds an MBA with honors from the Haas School of Business and an MPH from UC Berkeley.  She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in International Economics from Georgetown University, where she played #1 singles on the women’s Division I tennis team.

Ayelet Kamay

Ayelet Kamay is the head of publications at the Taub Center. In the framework of her position, she is responsible for editing the Center’s publications and overseeing the publication process. Ayelet has a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew language and the Land of Israel studies as well as a certificate in editing from Bar-Ilan University, and a Master’s degree in environmental studies from Tel Aviv University.

In the past, Ayelet has worked as an editor and publisher for the Van Leer Institute and the language consultant at the news department of Israel’s TV Channel One.

Laura Schreiber

Laura Schreiber has been working at the Taub Center since 2000.  She considers herself the “utility player” of the Center having filled various roles from personal assistant to the director to editing and lay-out of the English version of the annual State of the Nation Report.


Laura has a BA in psychology from Stanford University (phi beta kappa) and an MSc in Social Psychology (thesis with honors) from the London School of Economics.  Her other employment positions have included human resources at Luz Industries (solar energy), researcher at the Falk Institute of Mental Health Studies, and research assistant at the Brookdale Institute of Adult Human Development (now Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute).


Laura has lived in Jerusalem since 1977 and has 3 children of whom she is inordinately proud and beautiful grandchildren and more on the way.

Lior Morag

Lior Morag manages the Taub Center’s Online Media presence. He manages the Center’s social media activity, responcible for producing various publications like texts, short videos and podcasts,  and on maintaining the website. Before working at the Taub Center, Lior worked as an editor for the iPad edition of the Calcalist Daily Newspaper, head of the Technology Desk for  Calcalist and a tech reporter and Editor for the “Nana10” website. Lior has a BA in Literature and Film from Tel Aviv University.

Tova Cohen

Tova is responsible for managing the activities and ensuring excellence in the realm of governance at the Taub Center. The core of her work involves coordinating with and carrying out decisions of the organization’s lay leaders. She is also involved in implementing strategy, tracking and reporting on the Center’s impact, disseminating the Center’s research to policy makers, and a number of other special projects.


Tova moved to Israel in 2014 after completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder). Both during and prior to university, Tova followed her passion for policy and community organizing. While at CU Boulder, she interned in the office of United States Congressman Jared Polis (now Governor of Colorado), volunteered for a US Presidential Campaign, and was involved in a number of student groups on campus. At 17 years old, Tova was among the founders of Garin Tzedek, a group of gap year students volunteering with African asylum seekers in Israel, and at 18, Tova was the leader of this program.


In 2019, Tova completed her Master’s Degree in Political Science and Political Communication at Tel Aviv University, where she developed an expertise in the effects of modern technology and new media on the political process. She lives in her favorite city in the world, Tel Aviv.

Tamar Friedman Wilson

Tamar is responsible for creating and executing The Taub Center’s strategy for developing short content that is accessible to a wider audience. She is charged with developing engaging and impactful ways for the public to learn about the socioeconomic trends revealed in the Center’s research.


Tamar graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015, where she earned her B.A. in Political Science, with a minor in Modern Middle Eastern Studies. Prior to her current position, Tamar worked as a Marketing Associate at the Taub Center. Before moving to Israel, Tamar was a Junior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and interned at the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Hedva Elmackias

Hedva Elmackias has served as the Taub Center’s office manager since 2009. Hedva is responsible for the administration of a number of areas at the Center including HR, payroll, purchasing, operations, event and conference planning, distribution of publications, and more.


From 2004 to 2008, Hedva was responsible for marketing and logistics at a food additives company, prior to which she worked for many years as the office manager at Renato Jarach law firm in Jerusalem.


Between 1991-1993, Hedva studied in the Department of English Literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In addition, Hedva is a certified travel agent and travel consultant.


Hedva lives with her husband Yossi and their three children in Ma’ale Adumim.

Dudu Barazani

David Barzani is responsible for maintenance and deliveries at the Taub Center. Dudu (as he is fondly known) worked as a taxi driver and then as a head of maintenance at a school in Givat Ze’ev. He joined the Taub Center in 2015. Dudu has 4 children and 6 grandchildren and lives in Givat Ze’ev.