Our outgoing president, Dr. Naomi Chazan, is a leading human right activist, distinguished academic and former Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset. Chazan served on the NIF Board from 1992-93, resigned upon being elected to the Knesset for the Meretz party, and rejoined the NIF Board in January 2007. She is Professor Emerita of Political Science and African Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she served as Chair of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, and has been a Visiting Professor of Government at Harvard University. Chazan currently serves as Head of the School of Government and Society at the Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo and spent the academic year 2004-2005 as the Wilhelm Fellow at the Center for International Studies at MIT. She has spent her career giving heart and soul to the cause of a democratic Israel, often at great sacrifice. Noami has taken the New Israel Fund through the most controversial and high profile four years of its existence, providing a clear and outspoken voice for democratic and pluralistic values.
Rabbi Lurie has spent his career leading the causes that have meant most to the Jewish community on the local, national and international level. He served for seventeen years as Executive Director of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties and for five years as President of the San Francisco Jewish Museum. He has worked in Israel and America to promote equality for Israeli Arabs and as Executive Vice President of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), he was instrumental in launching the second phase of Operation Exodus and provided the vision and strategic direction under which UJA has begun to broaden its mandate. Rabbi Lurie developed the concept of "The Living Bridge", a metaphor which is redefining the broad range of relationships and the partnerships, as equals, of American Jews and Israelis. A longtime champion of democracy and equality in Israel, Rabbi Lurie has been instrumental in strengthening the ties between Israel and diaspora Jewry.