yoram periYoram Peri
Abraham S. and Jack Kay Chair in Israel Studies
Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies | Director

Ph.D. London School of Economics, B.A. and M.A. in Political Science and Sociology, Hebrew University

A former political advisor to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, founder and former head of Chaim Herzog Institute for Media, Politics and Society and professor of Political Sociology and Communication in the department of communication at Tel Aviv University, and former Editor-in-chief of the Israeli daily, Davar.

The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin (Stanford University Press) and Between Battles and Ballots: Israel Military in Politics, published by Cambridge University Press. His book Telepopulism: Media and Politics in Israel was published by Stanford University Press in 2004, and in October 2005 he published his latest book (in Hebrew) Brothers at War: Rabin’s Assassination and the Cultural war in Israel. For this book he was granted the 2006 award by the Presidents and Prime Ministers memorial council. His latest book, Generals in the Cabinet Room: How the Military Shapes Israeli Policy, was published in May 2006 by the United States Institute of Peace. The book has been selected as an outstanding book and as one of the best of the best by the Association of American University Press, in 2007.


paul-schamPaul Scham
Research Associate Professor of Israel Studies
Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies | Executive Director

J.D. University of California, Berkeley; B.A. Columbia University

Paul Scham has been Executive Director of the Gildenhorn Institute since 2008. Originally an attorney, with a B.A. from Columbia and a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley (Boalt Hall), he quickly tired of practicing law and has worked on issues relating to Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for more than twenty years at NGO’s, in think tanks, and at universities.


Shay Hazkani headshot

Shay Hazkani
Assistant Professor in History and Jewish Studies

Ph.D. New York University, 2016

Dr. Shay Hazkani is an Assistant Professor in History and Jewish Studies. He researches the social and cultural history of Israel/Palestine, with a focus on Mizrahi Jews in Israel and the Jewish communities of the Arab world. His current research project focuses on personal letters of Israeli and Arab soldiers from the 1948 War. His work has appeared in the International Journal of Middle East Studies and in Israel Studies Review, and he also publishes historical pieces in the Israel-daily HaaretzDr. Hazkani earned his PhD degree in History and Judaic studies in 2016 from New York University, his Master’s from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University and his B.A in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University.


Erik Zakim HeadshotEric Zakim
Professor of Hebrew Language and Culture

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1996

Before coming to the University of Maryland in 2002, Dr. Zakim was on the faculty at Duke University for six years. He teaches courses in Hebrew Language and Israeli culture, and coordinates the Hebrew language program. Dr. Zakim received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature for a dissertation on “The Project of Expression in Modernist Literature and Music: David Fogel, Arnold Schoenberg, and David Grossman.” He has published seven articles and guest-edited a volume of Prooftexts , the leading scholarly journal in his field. His book, To Build and Be Built: Landscape, Literature, and the Construction of Zionist Identity, will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in Fall 2005, and he is currently co-editing a volume of essays on culture in the Mediterranean, Mediterranean Studies: Rethinking the Boundaries of Culture, which will be published by the MLA Press.


Pnina Peri HeadshotPnina Peri
Assistant Professor of Israel Studies

Ph.D. The University of London

Dr. Pnina Peri has been a senior lecturer in the department of liberal arts of Sapir Academic College (Hof Ashkelon, Israel) and in Levinsky Teachers’ training College. She is a specialist in multicultural theories, gender, the political economy of education, social and cultural aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and cross culture communications. She has published two books, The Place of Gender in Women’s Professional Choice (2002) and Pluralism and Congruence Among Cultural Divisions  (2007) and is a frequent contributor to academic journals and literary journals.


Shirelle DoughtyShirelle Doughty
Professor of Jewish Studies and Israel Studies

M.A. Jewish Studies, University of Maryland; B. A. English Language and Literature & Secondary Education, University of Maryland

Shirelle Doughty’s research and teaching engage with questions surrounding groups’ use of representations of Others to construct their own identities, and how different socio-political positions and conceptions mold different modes of representation.  Currently, she is looking at these issues within the comparative context of photography in the United States, Israel, and Palestine in order to develop a theoretical framework that interrogates whether there are certain underlying factors that lead to particular aesthetic approaches to representing Others as a means of engaging with problems of one’s own individual and communal identity.  Her teaching engages with similar issues within the contexts of historical representations of Jews and Jewish (including Zionist) reactions and self-representations.


Scott Lasensky
Professor of Israel Studies and Jewish Studies

Scott Lasensky served as a Senior Policy Advisor on Israel, the Middle East and Jewish affairs in the Obama Administration from 2011-2017, serving in Washington and in Israel.
He represented U.N. Ambassadors Susan E. Rice and Samantha J. Power in the interagency policymaking process, including participation in the Deputies Committee and other U.S. government and U.N. policymaking and policy processes. (USG security clearance: Top Secret/SCI)
In Israel, he served with Ambassador Daniel Shapiro and was involved in all aspects of the U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship.
He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Israel Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), and previously was a resident scholar and program leader at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington and the Council of Foreign Relations in New York.

A Ph.D. from Brandeis University, Scott was awarded a Brookings Research Fellowship (BRF) in 1999-2000.
Lasensky is the co-author most recently of The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab- Israeli Peace (Cornell University Press) and Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East (USIP Press), both books co-authored with Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer.
He is married to Elise Pressma, they have three sons and live in Silver Spring, Maryland. Lasensky has a strong proficiency in Hebrew.