Prof. Eugene Kandel is the founder and the Chairman of RISE Israel Institute.

Prof. Kandel (BA, MA Hebrew University in Jerusalem; MBA, Ph.D. The University of Chicago) is an Emil Spyer Professor of Economics and Finance at the Hebrew University. Prof. Kandel published extensively in Finance and Economics.

Kandel served as Head of the National Economic Council and Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel from 2009-2015, advancing many important economic policies and reforms.

Uri Gabai is the CEO of RISE Israel Institute and former co-General Manager of Start-Up Nation Central. Prior to his roles at Start-Up Nation Central, Uri served for seven years as the Chief Strategy Officer and Head of the Strategy and Economic Division at the Israel Innovation Authority since its establishment in October 2011.

Prior to that, Uri was a Senior Economist at the National Economic Council in the Prime Minister’s Office. He earned a B.Sc. in Economics and Computer Science and a M.Sc. degree in Economics with a focus on Game Theory, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Assaf Patir is the Chief Economist at RISE Israel Institute, specializing in macroeconomics, monetary economics, and banking. Before joining SNPI, he taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was also an advisor to the Monetary Division at the Bank of Israel and held a visiting scholar position at the Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Assaf started his career as a physicist, earning a PhD for his research in String Theory from the Weizmann Institute of Science. He later shifted his focus to economics, earning a PhD from Northwestern University for his dissertation on the macroeconomic impact of consumer loan securitization.

Danny Biran is a Senior Policy Fellow at RISE Israel Institute. An experienced business and technology leader, he now serves as an advisor to several technology and medical device companies in Israel, the US, and India.

In 2017-2018, Danny served as the VP of the International Division of the Israel Innovation Authority, responsible for establishing and managing Israel’s international innovation and R&D partnerships. Prior to that, Danny had a long career in the tech industry, mainly in the semiconductor sector. Between 2005-2016 he worked for Altera before its acquisition by Intel, his last role there being Senior VP of Marketing and Strategy. Prior to Altera, Danny was President & CEO of Silverback Systems, and before that held various leadership positions at LSI Logic and National Semiconductor.

Yam Atir is the Vice President of Strategy and Policy at RISE Israel, responsible for the organization’s strategy and policy initiatives. Yam is the only Israeli to have served on the Next Generation Council of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) where she provided valuable insights and input on the challenges facing the next generation. Additionally, she previously served on the prime minister’s foreign relations team at the PMO and on the executive team of Shimon Peres, the ninth president of Israel. In 2021, Forbes magazine honored her with its prestigious 30 under 30 list. Yam holds a dual B.A. in political science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Gaya Harari-Heit is the Head of Policy and Regulation at RISE Israel. Gaya served as the senior adviser to the minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, leading cross-sector projects and initiatives to promote the Israeli high-tech industry, and working with various stakeholders on designing and promoting innovation regulation.

Before her role in the Ministry of innovation, she worked as a litigation lawyer (During which she was among the writers of one of the most significant constitutional petition received by the Supreme Court in recent years), as an intern in the Israeli supreme court (with supreme court justice Anat Baron) and with the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations.

Gaya holds a L.L.B from Bar Ilan University (Summa Cum Laude, first in her class), currently studying in M.A program in Law, Technology and Business Innovation, and published several articles on legislation and regulation in leading law journals and books.

Eynav Ehrlich is a Senior Researcher at RISE Israel. For the past two years, Eynav has led Start-Up Nation Central’s research efforts in the field of human capital and was responsible for the publication of the annual Human Capital Report. Before that, Eynav worked as a freelance researcher, focusing on finance and fast-moving consumer goods. She also worked as a Program Coordinator for the Citizen’s Empowerment Center Monitor, guiding students through their research and publications on implementing Israeli government policies. Eynav holds an MA in Financial Economics from IDC Herzliya (Reichman University) and a BA in Economics and Political Science from Tel Aviv University.

Lital Schwartz is the Head of Marketing at RISE Israel. Before joining the Institute, Lital worked as the media and communications advisor to the Minister for Environmental Protection and a Member of Knesset, and as an editor on Israel’s leading news websites. Lital holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Idit Zamir-Yaffe is an AI Policy Lead at RISE Israel. Idit is a strategy and innovation expert, leading strategic projects in fields of AI and tech. Throughout her career, Idit has worked across all sectors, including serving as an Innovation Consultant at KPMG, as a Strategy Consulting Team Lead in a domestic consulting group, and as an advisor to the Ministry of Justice’s Director General (CEO).

Idit is an MBA graduate (with honors) from Ben-Gurion University’s program, which has gained EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development) EPAS international accreditation. Idit also holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Ben-Gurion University.


Jennifer Lang is the Manager of Philanthropic Partnerships at RISE Israel. Prior to joining the Institute, Jennifer spent six years working in various Israeli nonprofit organizations, securing funding from private individuals, corporations, charitable foundations and trusts, Jewish Federations, and the United States Embassy. She hails from the suburbs of Chicago and made Aliyah in 2015. Jennifer earned a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Maayan Gishuri is the operations manager at RISE Israel. Before joining the institute, Maayan was the community coordinator at ASPER-HUJI Innovate. She is actively involved in the NGO Israel-is. Maayan holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Tigist Mekonen is a Data Analyst at RISE Israel Institute. Tigist is an economics and management student specializing in Information Systems and Big Data at the College of Management Academic Studies, with distinction. Alongside her work at the institute, she actively participates in the “I-school” project, a social initiative that assists students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds through tutoring in core subjects.

Almog Grisariu is a Data Analyst at RISE Israel. Almog is a student majoring in Economics and Political Science at Tel Aviv University. Before joining RISE Israel, Almog gained experience working at the fintech company UNIT. She is also a graduate of the ProWoman program, which aims to promote women in the Israeli economy and society by facilitating significant career development opportunities.

Shahar Cohen is the founder of Lucid Capital, a global tech fund that invests in both the public and private markets. Shahar began his career as a software engineer at Intel and has held senior positions at tech companies, including Head of Strategy at HP-Indigo, VP Product at the Cyber startup AppDome, and Head of Product Marketing at Cisco’s global headquarters in Silicon Valley.

From 2019 until the end of 2021, he served as a tech investment advisor to institutional entities and managed the “More 4D Technology Stocks” fund.

Shahar served as a board member at two non-profits and in 2011, served as the youngest member of the Trachtenberg Committee. He holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing and a B.Sc in Computer Science, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, graduating with honors.

Naomi Krieger Carmy is a Policy Fellow at RISE Israel. She also serves as a SVP at Social Finance Israel and as the Executive Director of Nova, part of the SFI Group. Before joining the Institute, Naomi was a VP at the Israel Innovation Authority and the first head of its Societal Challenges division, which funds and supports “impact tech” and aims to develop a wide and diverse pipeline of human capital for the innovation industry.

Earlier in her career, she worked as an investment banker on Wall Street, supporting tech companies on IPOs, M&A, and strategic transactions. She was the CEO of STRIVE Israel, a flagship employment program of JDC-Tevet, and helped run the UK Israel Tech Hub.

Naomi is an 8200 alumnus, earned a BA in Economics and International Relations from Hebrew University, a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard, and is a fellow at Cambridge University’s Centre of Science and Policy.

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