Former Faculty

Erez Tzfadia
Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Fall 2018

Erez Tzfadia is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Sapir College, Israel. Erez is an alumnus of Ben Gurion University (2002), held a Lady Davis Postdoctoral position at the Hebrew University (2003), and was an Israel Institute Visiting Scholar at the Bildner Center at Rutgers University (2015-6). His field of specialization is spatial policy in Israel. He is the coauthor of Rethinking Israeli Space (Routledge, 2011); Israel since 1980 (Cambridge, 2008), and the coeditor of Abandoning State— Surveillancing State: Social Policy in Israel, 1985–2008 (Sapir and Resling, 2010). More details on his research are available at:  Erez is the chairperson of the board of directors of BIMKOM – Planners for Planning Rights – an Israeli non-profit, human rights organization (

Eran Eldar
Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Spring 2018

Dr. Eran Eldar is a historian, specializing in urbanization in Israel, the history of the Israeli politics and the Arab-Israeli conflict. His primary research interest is the geographical, cultural, and political history of the State of Israel. He is the author of By Its Own Efforts: The Urban Development of Tel Aviv in the Twilight of the British Mandate and the First Decades of the State of Israel (2013). In the spring semester, he will teach two courses: The history of urbanization and urban and culture in Israel and History of Modern Israel.

Yemima Cohen Aharoni
Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Spring 2018

Dr. Yemima Cohen Aharoni is a qualitative sociologist, specializing in Israeli society, Jerusalem’s holy sites, urban tourism, and modern Judaism. Her work deals with how collective perceptions of the past and future affect the current shape of Israeli society. In the spring semester, she will teach the course: The Holy City and the Holy Mountain: a Sociological look at the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. She is also a comedian.

Dalia Gavriely-Nuri
Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Fall 2017

Dalia Gavriely-Nuri is a research fellow at The Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace a The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and an Associate Professor at Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem. She specializes in the cultural and discursive aspects of peace and war, national security and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Her latest books are Israeli Peace Discourse (2015) (John Benjamins); The Normalization of war in Israeli Discourse (2013) (Lexington Books). This semester, she is co-teaching a course, Israeli War Discourse, with Elie Friedman.

Yair Barak
Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Fall 2017

Yair Barak’s fields of research are economic history, the history of economic thought from the middle ages till the 21st century, the history of the economic policy in Palestine-Israel and economics as culture.  His doctoral dissertation titled as “Privatization – History of a Major Shift in the Economic and Social Policy Israel (1977-2000).”   He is a manager of the Inter-University “Forum of the History of Economic Thought.” He participated in international conferences by presenting their connections between economy and theology, economy and literature, economy and visual art.  He was also an interpreter of global economy in the Israeli radio (“Kol Israel”). This semester, he is teaching The History of Economic Policy in Palestine/Israel.

Morad Elsana
Post-Doc Research Fellow

S.J.D., American University

Dr. Elsana is a post-doc research fellow at the Israel Institute, University of Maryland. Until recently, he served as a professor of Public International Law, International Human Rights Law, and International Humanitarian Law. Dr. Elsana holds a Doctorate degree of Juridical Science (S.J.D) from the American University, Washington College of Law. His dissertation is titled “The Dispossession and Recognizing Indigenous Land Rights”. Dr. Elsana also holds Masters of Law from the American University-WCL; Masters of Social Work in Social Advocacy and Community Development from McGill University; and a Bachelor’s of Law from Tel Aviv University.

Prior to his doctoral studies, he served as a senior staff attorney and director for Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights. He also worked as a legal advisor for Genesis: An Arab Jewish Community Advocacy Orgs in Israel. Throughout his career, he have received several prestigious fellowships such as the Israel Institute post-doc Fellowship; The Fulbright Outreach fellowship; The New Israel Fund Civil Rights Leadership fellowship; and the McGill University “Middle East Program for Civil Society and Peace Building” fellowship.

Daniel Zisenwine
Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies: Spring and Fall 2015

Ph.D., Tel Aviv University

Dr. Daniel Zisenwine is a research fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. He also teaches modern North African history at the university’s Department of Middle Eastern and African History and at the Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School. His research focuses on modern North African history. Dr. Zisenwine is the author of The Emergence of Nationalist Politics in Morocco (I.B.Tauris, 2010) and co-edited, with Bruce Maddy Weitzman, The Maghrib in the New Century (University Press of Florida, 2007) and Mohammed VI’s Morocco (Routledge, Forthcoming). Dr. Zisenwine was born in the U.S. and has lived in Israel since childhood. He received his Ph.D. in history from Tel Aviv University in 2005.

Eliyana Adler
Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Spring 2010

Ph.D., Brandeis University

Eliyana Adler is a former Visiting Assistant Professor and current Research Associate at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received a Ph.D in modern Jewish history at Brandeis University, where she also received her M.A. in Women’s studies and Near Eastern and Judaic studies. Dr. Eliyana Adler was a Sosland Foundation Fellow during the 2010–2011 academic year at The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.  Dr. Adler is conducting research for her project, “Jewish Education and Culture in Soviet Central Asia during the Holocaust.”

Dr. Adler is the author of the forthcoming book, In Her Hands: The Education of Jewish Girls in Tsarist Russia and co-editor with Sheila Jelen of, Jewish Literature and History: An Interdisciplinary Conversation (2008). In addition, Dr. Adler is the author of numerous articles and encyclopedia entries, including an article on “Women’s Education” for the forthcoming, Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion, second edition, “Reading Rayna Batya: The Rebellious Rebbetzin as Self-Reflection,” in Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues 16 (2008), and “No Raisins No Almonds: Singing as Spiritual Resistance to the Holocaust,” in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 24:4 (2006). She has presented her work at various conferences and workshops and is the recipient of several awards, including the Rebecca Meyerhoff Research Award at the University of Maryland (2007), the Abram and Fannie Gottlied Immerman and Abraham Nathan and Bertha Daskal Weinstein Memorial Fellowship in Eastern European Jewish Studies from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (2005-6), and the Ephraim E. Urbach Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2004-5). Dr. Adler has language skills in Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew.

Ariel Bendor
Distinguishing Visiting Professor at the Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies and the Francis King Carey School of Law, University of Maryland: 2014 – 2015

LL.B., LL.D. The Hebrew University Faculty of Law

Professor Ariel Bendor has been a Frank F. Church Professor at the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law in Israel. His major fields of interest are constitutional law and administrative law. Professor Bendor received his LL.B. (1988, Cum Laude) and LL.D. (1994) from the Hebrew University Faculty of Law. During the academic year 1998-99 he was a Visiting Scholar at the Yale Law School. During 2002-2005 he served as Dean of the University of Haifa Faculty of Law, and during 2005-2007 he served as the University of Haifa Dean of Students. He also served as the Editor-in-Chief of University of Haifa Press (1999-2000), University of Haifa Law & Government Journal (1996-1998), and Hebrew University Law Review (1998-1999). Currently he serves, inter alia, as the Head of the Center for Media and Law and the Director of the Faculty of Law Publishing House at Bar-Ilan University and the Chairperson of the sub-committee for law of the Israeli Council of Higher Education. Professor Bendor is the author of three books and dozens of articles in Israeli, American, Canadian and British law journals and books.

Yuval Benziman
Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies: Fall 2010 – Spring 2012

Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Yuval Benziman is a post-doc visiting professor in the Gildenhorn Institute for Israeli Studies. He teaches in the Tel-Aviv University in the Conflict Resolution and Mediation program. He also works for the Geneva initiative and has a weekly column in the Israeli newspaper “Israel Hayom”.
Yuval’s field of research is Israeli culture and how the Israeli-Arab conflict is seen in it. His PhD., from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, deals with the way the conflict is manifested in Israeli cultural texts of the 1980s.

Avner Cohen
Visiting Professor in Israel Studies: Fall 2011

Ph.D., University of Chicago

Dr. Cohen, widely known for his path-breaking history of the Israeli nuclear program, is an internationally recognized author and expert on nonproliferation issues, focusing on the Middle East. A consultant to a range of NGOs and governmental agencies, Dr. Cohen joined James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) after serving as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2009-10) and following a ten-year affiliation with the Center for International and Security Studies (CISSM) at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Cohen is a two-time winner of prestigious MacArthur Foundation research and writing awards, in 1990 and 2004, and in 1997-98 and 2007-08, was a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). In addition, Dr. Cohen was co-director of the Project on Nuclear Arms Control in the Middle East at the Security Studies Program at MIT from 1990 to 1995. He has been a visiting professor at a number of U.S. universities, and in 2005, was Forchheimer Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University.  As a Visiting Professor for the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, Dr. Cohen will teach a seminar in Israel Studies: Israel and The Bomb in the Fall of 2011 at the University of Maryland.

Salman Elbedour
Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Spring 2011 & Spring 2012

Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Dr. Elbedour is a Full Professor in the Department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies at the Howard University School of Education in Washington, D.C., and coordinator of its Urban School Psychology program . For many years he has also been researching, speaking, writing, and teaching on the Bedouin educational system in Israel as well as the psychological impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israeli, Palestinian, and Bedouin youth. He received his Ph.D in Clinical School Psychology from the University of Minnesota. For seven years he taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva, and at Birzeit University, in the West-Bank. He has also served as a school psychologist in Bedouin Arab schools and as a director of a center of children at risk in the town of Rahat, Israel. He has published extensively on social, political, health and identity issues related to Bedouin of the Negev and Palestinian communities.

Anat First
Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Fall 2010

PhD, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dr. Anat First served as a Dean of the School of Communication between the years 2004-2010.  Her fields of research include: Media studies, concentrating on theories and case studies of construction of reality; Mediated representations of minority groups, particularly women and Arabs; Multiculturalism as reflected in various genres on prime-time television and Israeli culture in general, and advertising as the locus of the Americanization process of Israeli society in particular.  Prof. First has published extensively on Israeli society, media and culture. Among her publications are: America in Jerusalem: Globalization, National Identity and the Israeli Advertising (2009, with E. Avraham);  Communication and Democracy: Mutual Perspectives (with P. Frosh, 2009) and Structural Dilemmas in the Consolidation of Communication Research and Teaching: The Case of the Department of Communication at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. (with H. Adoni, 2006).

Dr. As’ad Ghanem
Visiting Professor & Researcher: Fall 2009

He is a senior lecturer at the School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa and the head of board of Ibn-Khaldun Association in Tammra and the Head of board of the Civic forum in Ramallah and an active member of the board of the Jewish-Arab center at Haifa University. Until July 2008 he served as the head of the Government and Political Philosophy department at the University of Haifa. Ghanem’s theoretical work has explored the legal, institutional and political conditions in ethnic states. In the context of Israel/Palestine, Ghanem’s work has covered issues such as Palestinian political orientations, the establishment and political structure of the Palestinian Authority, and majority-minority politics in a comparative perspective. He has been the initiator and designer of several policy schemes and empowerment programs for Palestinian-Arabs in Israel.

Leon Hadar
Lecturer in Israel Studies

Ph.D. in International Relations, American University, School of International Service; M.A. in International Affairs, Columbia University, School of Public and International Affairs; Certificate, Columbia University, School of Public and International Affairs, the Middle East Institute; M.S. in Journalism, Columbia University, School of Journalism; M.A. in Communication, Hebrew University; B.A. in Political Science & Hebrew University, International Relations.

Dr. Leon Hadar is a senior analyst with Wikistrat, a geo-strategic consulting firm and a former research fellow in foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, where he specialized in U.S. foreign policy, international trade, the Middle East, and South and East Asia, Dr. Hadar has contributed reports and commentaries on political, economic and military issues to major foreign policy publications and to a variety of American and international media outlets. A former United Nations bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post, Dr. Hadar currently covers Washington for Southeast Asia’s leading financial daily, Singapore Business Times. He has also written regularly for Israel’s Haaretz and Beirut’s Daily Star, and he blogs at the Huffington Post, the National Interest (Online), Snapshot (, The Middle East Chanel (, and Asia Times Online. His analyses on global affairs have appeared in many newspapers, including New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Christian Science Monitor and in magazines like  Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, World Policy Journal Current History, Middle East Journal,  Middle East Policy, Mediterranean Quarterly, and Columbia Journalism Review. And he was interviewed by broadcast media like CNN, Fox News, CBC, BBC, NPR, and VOA. Dr. Hadar has also taught political science, international relations and journalism at American University and Mount Vernon College — where he served as Director of International Studies, and has been affiliated as a research fellow with the Independent Institute in California, the East-West Institute in New York and the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, College Park.

He is the author of Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).and Quagmire: America in the Middle East (Cato Institute, 1992), and contributed chapters to Handbook of U.S.-Middle East Relations: Formative Factors and Regional Perspectives (Routledge, 2009) and The Persian Gulf After the Cold War (Praeger, 1993).

Dana Hercbergs
Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies: Fall 2013

Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, 2009

Dr. Hercbergs is a folklorist specializing in the intersection of personal narrative, urban history and national memory. Her research focuses on Arab and Jewish encounters and identities in Palestine/Israel particularly in Jerusalem, and on mobilities associated with tourism and travel. She is writing a book on Jerusalem’s social history based on oral narratives, tourism and architecture.

Neta Oren
Visiting Professor in Israel Studies: Fall 2011

Ph.D., Tel Aviv University

Neta Oren has been a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and
Resolution at George Mason University.  She completed her
doctoral studies in political science at Tel Aviv University. Her areas of research
include conflict resolution, political psychology, political communication, public
opinion, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She has presented her research
findings at several conferences in the United States and Europe and has published over 20 articles and book chapters.  As a Visiting Professor for the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, Dr. Oren will teach Issues and Trends in Israeli Public Opinion in the Fall of 2011 at the University of Maryland.

Yaniv Reingewertz
Visiting Professor in Israel Studies; Adjunct Professor, Department of Economics, George Washington University

Ph.D., 2011, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dr. Reingewertz is an adjunct professor of Economics. His research interests include the areas of political economy, macroeconomics, urban economics and environmental economics. He enjoys teaching microeconomics and topics related to the Israeli economy. He is currently visiting the Department of Economics at the George Washington University, and will be teaching a course on Israeli Economy during the fall of 2012 at the University of Maryland for the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies.

Joseph Ringel
Visiting Professor in Israel Studies

Ph.D., 2011, Brandeis University.

Joseph Ringel is an associate professor of Israel studies at the University of Maryland this academic year, and previously taught in the Jewish studies program at Drew University’s Department of Religious Studies. He received his PhD from the Dept. of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, where he served as a fellow at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, in August of 2011. His dissertation, entitled The Sephardic Rabbinate, Sephardic Yeshivot, and the Shas Educational System, deals with the reconstruction of Sephardic identity in Sephardic religious schools that service Jews of Middle Eastern origin in the State of Israel. His articles have appeared in The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (edited by Norman Stillman), among other publications. He is currently working on publishing articles based on his dissertation and on a manuscript for a book on the social-intellectual history of Sephardic religious culture in Israel. Prof. Ringel’s research interests include the Jewish communities of Islam, rabbinic responses to modernity, and the experience of Sephardim and Mizrahim in the State of Israel.

Jacques Roumani
Visiting Professor in Israel Studies: Spring 2012

Ph.D., Princeton University

Dr. Roumani’s career covers academic and policy work in comparative international development, as senior lecturer, research fellow, and international official and consultant, respectively at Bar-Ilan University and the Truman Institute of the Hebrew University (1986-1990), the Inter-American Development Bank (1991-2006) and the World Bank 1970-1985).

He has taught courses on International Political Economy, Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa, Comparative Politics of Development, and Public Sector Management.  Dr. Roumani has also taught seminars and workshops on institutional issues in different economic sectors. In addition, he has lectured at the World Bank’s Economic Development Institute, Indian Institute of Management at Bangalore, and at the Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.

Sandra Scham
Visiting Assistant Professor: Fall 2014

Ph.D., The Catholic University of America

Dr. Scham is a specialist in artifacts of the Near East from the Neolithic through the Byzantine Period and has long been active in educational exchange and teaching about Near Eastern Archaeology. She taught at Jerusalem University College and was an associate curator at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem before returning to CU and the University of Maryland. She has worked at Teleilat Ghassul and Wadi Adrafa in Jordan, Caesarea in Israel and on the Mopsos Survey Project in the Hatay Region of Turkey. She has also coordinated academic exchanges on heritage conservation in Israel and Palestine under the Wye River People to People Program of the US State Department. She served as editor of Near East Archaeology, published by the American Schools of Oriental Research, and is one of the faculty for Penn State’s field school in Cilicia in Turkey, which several CU students have attended. In 2010 she will be on the faculty of the Akko World Heritage Conservation Project in Israel, and she is also currently working as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in the Asia and Middle East Bureaus of USAID.

Sammy Smooha
Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Spring 2010

Sammy Smooha is professor of sociology and former dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Haifa, as well as former president of the Israeli Sociological Society. He is spent the 2009-2010 academic year as a Senior Research Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. and was be a visiting professor University of Maryland for the fall 2010 semester. The Israel Prize laureate for Sociology in 2008, Smooha specializes in ethnic relations in the world and Israel. He has published widely on the internal divisions and conflicts in Israeli society, especially on the relations between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim and between Arab and Jewish citizens. His books include Israel: Pluralism and Conflict (1978); Arabs and Jews in Israel (1989, 1992); and The Fate of Ethnic Democracy in Post-Communist Europe (2005, co-editor). He is currently writing a book on how Israel treats its Arab minority compared to how Northern Ireland, Estonia, Slovakia and Macedonia treat their national minorities. At University of Maryland he will taught a course on Israeli society.

Nina Spiegel
Visiting Professor in Israeli History: Fall 2007 – Spring 2009

Ph.D., Stanford University

She holds a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University and a B.A. in Judaic and religious studies from Brown University. She has previously taught at the University of Maryland and Stanford University and has served as Curator at the National Museum of American Jewish History. She is currently completing a book, The Creation of Israeli Culture: Hebrew Dance, Sports, and Beauty in the British Mandate, which examines the evolution of Israeli culture while uncovering its connection to the country’s social and political dynamics. Her research explores topics such as Jewish public culture in Israel and the United States, museums and the construction of memory, and Jewish dance. In 2004, she received Honorable Mention for the Raphael Patai Prize in Jewish Folklore and Ethnology for her article “Cultural Formulation in Eretz Israel: The National Dance Competition of 1937.” At American University, she will be teaching courses on the history of Israel, modern Jewish civilization, American Jewish popular culture, and the construction of memory in Jewish museums.