Israel National Office, Jerusalem
Shalom (Shuli) Dichter, executive director
A long-time civil-society activist in Israel, Shuli joined Hand in Hand in January 2011. From 1998 to 2008, Shuli was the co-executive director of Sikkuy, The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, a Jewish-Arab advocacy organization. There he worked to advance equality via government-policy change, municipal cooperation and mobilization of public opinion. His op-ed articles and essays on equality and Arab-Jewish relations are frequently published in Israel and abroad. In 2001, he was invited to give expert testimony before the Or State Commission of Inquiry examining the status of Israel’s Arab citizens following the killing of 13 Arab demonstrators in October 2000. As of 2009, Shuli has been writing and consulting, for the officer of the Israeli prime minister and others, in his fields of expertise. He lives in Kibbutz Ma'anit near the Kfar Kara school and is married to Avital, an art teacher. They have three children.
Rebecca Bardach, director of resource development & strategy
Rebecca has worked for more than 17 years in migration, development and foreign aid. She directed refugee assistance programs in Hungary and in Bosnia (1994-1998). She moved to Israel in 1998, where she has worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with asylum claimants and government policy makers on refugee issues, and then with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to establish its Center for International Migration and Integration (CIMI), which works with a wide range of international migration issues in Israel and abroad. In her 13 years at JDC, Rebecca also established their tsunami relief efforts in Sri Lanka and directed the Middle East Program, which conducts cooperative programs between Israelis and Palestinians in health and welfare. She earned an MPA in Public Policy and International Development from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, and a BA in English Literature from Columbia University. She is originally from Berkeley, California, and is married with three kids. Two of them are enrolled at Hand in Hand's school in Jerusalem.
Inas Deeb, director of education department
Inas supervises pedagogy, program development, curriculum development and teacher training at Hand in Hand's four schools. She holds an undergraduate degree from Haifa University and advanced education degrees from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and St. Joseph University in Pennsylvania. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. research in the language and psychology of development at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv. Most recently, she worked as a teacher, counselor and language advisor at the Pedagogical Center of East Jerusalem, and has served as an assistant professor and chief research coordinator at Bar-Ilan's Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center. Inas has twins, a boy and a girl, who are ninth graders at Hand in Hand's high school.
Mohamad Marzouk, co-director of the community department
Mohamad has been a social-political activist for 20 years, and is one of the founders of the Hand in Hand school, Bridge over the Wadi.
Most of Mohamad’s work has focused on social change and the advancement of civil society in Arab communities in Israel as well as on peace education through Jewish-Arab dialogue. In addition to establishing the Hand in Hand school in Kfar Kara, Mohamad established and directed the branch of Shatil in the Triangle area in Israel, which works for the advancement of local Arab social initiatives and organizations. He also initiated a program for Arab communal leadership, which worked to strengthen the Arab community in Israel. In addition to his experience in Community organizing, Mohamad has also spent many years in advancing Palestinian-Israeli dialogue, facilitating and coordinating dialogue programs, which brought together groups of politicians, teachers, university students, and children.
Mohamad lives in Kfar Kara with his wife and three children, two of whom are graduates of the Hand in Hand Bridge over the Wadi school, and one now a student in the first grade there.
Ayelet Roth, chief operating officer
Ayelet has extensive experience in the fields of education and Jewish-Arab coexistence, with an emphasis on planning and implementing educational programs and developing courses and seminars focused on multiculturalism and peace promotion. Ayelet has served as director and consultant in both the formal and informal education systems in Northern Israel, including co-manager at the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace, Givat Haviva; head principal at Amirim high school in Kfar Vradim; director of the education department at IPCRI (Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information); and long-term research project manager at the Center for Research on Peace Education at Haifa University. In addition to holding an M.A. in Education and a B.A. in Middle East Studies and History Education from Haifa University, Ayelet is also a certified professional mediator. She has led seminars for groups from EU conflict-affected regions (Balkans, Spain) and has founded and acted as the CEO of her own business for mediation and social educational projects. Ayelet is married and a mother of 3, and lives in Adi in the Western Galilee.
Amir Starnes, co-director of the community department
Amir is an educator and activist who has been committed to social change through education and entrepreneurship for over 20 years.
Amir began his life as a social activist while coordinating informal education programming for youth movements, youth at risk and university students, after which he founded and directed the “Aman Project”, an organization which created opportunities for groups of youth volunteers in 40 communities throughout Israel. Amir was also the director of “Alon”, an organization working to engage Jewish and Arab youth in social activism, where he oversaw over 500 volunteers and 100 staff members. Most recently, Amir founded and was the executive director of “Omifar”, an organization that supports social entrepreneurship in Israel, where he was a consultant for educational and social change organizations, and also created and directs “Something Good” a website promoting sustainable and socially just consumerism.
Amir currently lives in Kfar Saba with his wife and two children.