Professor Daniel Friedmann, who served as justice ministerin Ehud Olmert’s government and accused the judicial system of damaging governance, hopes that the Supreme Court will intervene in the Knesset Speaker’s decisions.
The Knesset is not meeting, the will of the people is being ruthlessly trampled, there are no checks on the executive branch, the General Security Services are being given dangerous powers, the public is frightened. Speaking to Shomrim, Professor Michael Birnhack, one of Israel’s leading jurists on issues of privacy, raises the red flag.
How do you do investigative journalism at a time when media is out of money? How do you ensure that investigative journalists come back with the story? Richard Tofel and Stephen Engelberg, The president and the editor in chief of the largest investigative journalism organization in the U.S., in a special interview.
Come do investigative reporting to strengthen our democracy
The Center for Media and Democracy is offering financial and editorial support to individual journalists and news outlets promoting democratic discourse in Israel through in-depth and investigative reporting and documentary projects.
The Center for Media and Democracy in Israel, Shomrim (the Guardians) is a nonprofit and non-partisan independent news organization. We empower the public and promote democratic discourse in Israel through investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling that sparks action.
Alona Vinograd served as CEO of the Israeli non-profit organization The Movement for Freedom of Information from 2011 to 2015. The campaigns she led during her tenure helped bring the issue to the top of the public agenda inspiring greater public transparency and propelling the fight against corruption in education, healthcare, transportation, and other areas of government.
In 2015, Vinograd received the Rappaport Prize for Women Generating Change in Israeli Society, awarded to Israeli women who have accomplished outstanding achievements in public, social, community, or economic fields. Commenting on their selection, the judging committee said that Vinograd "has worked effectively and successfully to promote government transparency in Israel," has "successfully assisted dozens of social organizations in achieving their goals and empowering the populations they represent," and has "promoted the principles of transparency and freedom of information, which thanks to her efforts have become key issues on the public agenda."
From 2017 to 2019, Vinograd led the Center for Democratic Values and Institutions at the Israel Democracy Institute. In this role, she worked to safeguard the independence of Israel's judiciary system, helped bolster government institutions, and increased government transparency as an engine of trust.
Vinograd holds a Bachelor of Law from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and a BA in English literature from Tel Aviv University.
Senior journalist Eyal Abrahami has held a number of key reporting and editing roles in Israeli media. He served as a police reporter in Jerusalem, a news editor at the now-defunct Jerusalem weekly Kol Ha'ir, a reporter coordinator at the national daily newspaper Haaretz, and an investigative editor at the weekly magazine Sheva Yamim (seven days), part of the Yedioth Ahronoth media group.
From 2009 to 2018, Abrahami was the editor of G Magazine, published by the financial daily newspaper Globes. Together with the rest of the G editorial team, Abrahami defined a new and outstanding concept for a weekly economic magazine, one that included both news articles and long-form magazine pieces that delved into topics of economy and culture, tied together with unparalleled graphic design.
During his career, Abrahami covered significant news events, including the widespread protest against the Oslo Accords, the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the era of suicide bombings in Jerusalem in the 1990s, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. Abrahami has written news reports and long-form articles on a wide range of topics, from taxation and economic analysis to vehicles and transportation.
Abrahami holds a BA in political science and international relations from the Open University of Israel.
Ron Schwartz has been a senior editor and writer for nearly two decades in the Israeli media.
He began his journalism career as a website news Editor on the Israeli sports channel, and as Chief Editor of his college student newspaper.
After graduating in 2004, Schwartz was part of the founding team of Globes G Magazine, which brought an innovative and unique mix of content to Israel's magazine scene.
At Globes, Schwartz served as G Magazine Editor in Chief from 2018-2019, overseeing hundreds of stories and special projects.
As the theatre critic and culture editor at Globes, Schwartz published a high profile weekly column for a decade.
Schwartz has a BA in Journalism, Communication and Management from the College of Management Academic Studies. He studied Screenwriting and Play writing, as well as Product Management at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.
Before joining the Center for Media and Democracy, Doron Sela served as head of government relations at the Israel Democracy Institute. As part of her role there, Sela was responsible for promoting and implementing the institute's policy recommendations through strategic partnerships with government bodies and local organizations.
Sela holds a BA in journalism and communications and international relations, as well as a Master's degree in international relations from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Laura Lauder is a native of Canton, Ohio, and journeyed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Seville, Spain for her undergraduate education. In 1992, she joined her husband Gary in their venture capital partnership, Lauder Partners, specializing in Internet and media investment.
Lauder now primarily focuses her efforts on strategic grant-making through the Laura and Gary Lauder Family Venture Philanthropy Fund and in numerous leadership capacities at local and national nonprofit organizations.
Lauder is a nonprofit entrepreneur. She is the founder of DeLeT: Day School Teaching through Leadership, a national Jewish Teach for America program that is a selective fellowship to recruit, train, and retain Jewish day school teachers in the U.S. DeLet is modeled on Lauder’s experience as a fellow in the Wexner Heritage Foundation. She is co-founder of the Jewish Teen Funders Network’s Foundation Board Incubator, which brings the success and impact of Jewish teen philanthropy programs across North America into cities around the world. Laura and Gary co-founded the Socrates Program of the Aspen Institute in 1996, which has convened over 6,000 young leaders worldwide to Aspen to participate in seminars and salons on the most challenging issues of the day. Lauder is the founder of a new gap year program at Duke University that seeks to encourage young people to take a gap year between high school and college to grow, explore, and serve.
Lauder also serves on numerous nonprofit boards. She is chair of the $2.1 billion Jewish Community Endowment Fund of San Francisco, on the board and executive committee of the San Francisco Jewish Federation. She serves on the advisory board of directors of Service Year Alliance, which creates opportunities for young adults to serve their country through a year of full-time community service. She serves on the board of trustees of the Aspen Institute, and the National Constitution Center board of directors. She has previously served on the boards of the National Public Radio Foundation and Spark Networks — an NYSE Amex Company and parent of JDate.
Lauder is active with the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO/WPO), a global leadership network, and is a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was named one of “10 Women to Watch” by Jewish Woman magazine in 2004. She has won numerous awards, including Volunteer of the Year from the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation in 2011, the Jim Brooks Achievement Award in 2004, and the San Francisco Bay Area Dinkelspiel Young Leadership Award in 1999.
Laura is an avid cyclist and won a bronze medal in the Maccabi Games in Israel in the cycling time trial in 2009. While she is a political junkie, she hopes to never run for political office but is willing to climb any mountain on a bike. She lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, Gary. They are empty nesters as both of their children have graduated from college.
Gary Lauder is the managing director of Lauder Partners LLC, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm investing primarily in information technologies. He has been a venture capitalist since 1985, investing in over 125 private companies. In the 1980s, he worked at the venture firms of Aetna, Jacobs & Ramo Technology Ventures, as well as Wolfensohn Associates.
Lauder serves on the advisory board of Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and the Board of Governors of Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. He is the co-creator of the Aspen Institute's Socrates Society with Laura, his wife. He is a member of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute's Henry Crown Fellowship Program.
Lauder holds a BA in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania, a BS in economics from the Wharton School, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Oded Hermoni's path into journalism began with his military service at the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. Following his release from the military, he took on several writing and editing roles in local newspapers in Jerusalem. One of his earliest published works, in 1996, covered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Other published work later led to several investigations and indictments in the field of real estate and business. Hermoni then joined the team of economic reporters at Haaretz and later, The Marker, as a tech reporter and editor.
In 2006, Hermoni retired from journalism and entered the field of tech and venture capital. He founded and led the Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) organization, and later became a partner at private investment firm Rhodium. Today, Hermoni manages U.S. venture capital firm J-Ventures, which invests in companies in Israel and the U.S. To date, he has worked with dozens of tech companies as an investor, entrepreneur, adviser, and board member.
Among other public roles, Hermoni is a member of the board of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco (JCF) and of the executive committee of the American Friends of the Hebrew University.
Hermoni has a Bachelor's degree in history, sociology, and anthropology, as well as an MBA, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a Wexner Fellow.
Yoel Esteron is the founder and publisher of the Israeli economic daily newspaper and website Calcalist.
Esteron began his career as a military and political correspondent for Israeli army radio, Galei Tzahal. He later worked as a broadcast reporter, TV news editor, and as a Washington, D.C.correspondent for Israeli media. Esteron served as editor in chief of the local newspapers Kol Ha'Ir (Jerusalem) and Ha'Ir (Tel Aviv). He was the editor in chief of the now-defunct newspaper Hadashot, and served as managing editor of two of Israel's leading daily newspapers, Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth.
Ethan Bronner is a Senior Editor at Bloomberg, where he writes and edits pieces on international politics.
Before Bloomberg, he spent 17 years at The New York Times, where he was Jerusalem bureau chief and deputy foreign editor. Bronner worked previously at the Boston Globe and Reuters. He was Jerusalem bureau chief for both.
Tamar Prizan-Litani has more than 30 years of experience in a variety of editorial roles at Haaretz. In her last role, until 2009, she served as the newspaper’s deputy editor in chief. Prior to that, she edited Haaretz’s op-eds and the weekend edition, served as deputy editor in chief of Haaretz’s weekly magazine, and worked as a news editor and translator.
Following her retirement from Haaretz, Prizan-Litani joined Keter Publishing House as an editor, and taught at the communication department at Sapir Academic College.
In 2010, she joined a volunteer mission to Katmandu, Nepal, where she worked with future work migrants, documented child labor, and taught communication and journalism to local youths.
In recent years, Prizan-Litani joined the board of the Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival in Tel Aviv.
A graduate of HaMidrasha art school, Vardi Kahana is a photographer, lecturer, and curator. She began her career in the early 1980s as a photographer for the now-defunct magazine Monitin, later joining the daily newspaper Hadashot, until it shut down in 1993. Since then, her work has been published by Haaretz, Yedioth Ahronoth, and other publications in Israel and abroad. As a photojournalist and as an artist, Kahana’s portraits express a highly local, socially-minded, and anthropological perspective.
Kahana received the Sokolov Prize in 2011, the first year it was extended to photojournalists. Commenting on her selection the award committee said, “Several of her photographs have become milestones of photojournalism in Israel.”
In 2012, Kahana was honored by the Israeli Ministry of Culture, and in 2019, she received the lifetime achievement award in photography from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Kahana has published two photography books, Israeli Portrait and One Family. Her work is included in the collections of the Israel Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, as well as in private collections worldwide.
Moshe Zviran is a professor of information technology at the Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University, serving as the Dean of the School since 2014. He is the holder of the Isaac Gilinsky Chair of Entrepreneurship, Technology, Innovation, and Management and also serves as the academic director of the Coller Institute of Venture and the Eli Hurvitz Institute for Strategic Management.
Prof. Zviran holds a BSc degree in mathematics and computer science and MSc and PhD degrees in management, all from Tel Aviv University. He held academic positions at the Naval Postgraduate School in California, the Claremont Graduate University in California, and Ben-Gurion University in Israel. His research interests include entrepreneurship and innovation, information and cyber security, and information systems planning and policy. Prof. Zviran has published numerous articles in leading academic journals and authored two books on information systems. He is also a consultant for leading organizations in Israel and serves as a board member on several publicly-traded and private companies.
In addition to his academic career, Prof. Zviran launched the idea of conducting comparative compensation surveys as a management tool for organizations. He founded "Zviran Salary Surveys," focusing on information technology and the tech industry in Israel. Over the years, Prof. Zviran has broadened the scope of his surveys to include a wide range of new industries and became the leading expert in this field of compensation and executive compensation in particular.
In 1977 Altabef joined CBS, the American television network, where he served as legal adviser to CBS News, counseling 60 Minutes and CBS News' other broadcasts, specializing in investigative reporting. In the three decades in which he served as 60 Minutes' legal adviser, the hard-hitting program never paid out a penny in settlements, judgments or legal claims.
In 2011, after 12 weeks of retirement, Rick became the legal adviser to Univision News, the primary news source for Hispanic Americans. Rick stayed with Univision for seven years, working with award-winning investigative reporters on news stories of particular relevance to a vast Spanish-speaking audience. And again, during this time, Univision News did not pay out a penny in settlements, judgments or legal claims.
Rick was born in the Bronx in 1947, educated in the New York public schools, and attended Columbia College and Columbia Law School.
Ilana Dayan is a luminary of Israeli media, and her work has had a significant impact on public discourse in the country.
Dayan began her career during her military service, as a correspondent, producer, and editor for Israeli army radio, Galei Tzahal. Among other notable achievements, she was the first woman appointed parliamentary correspondent in the station's history. After her release from mandatory service, Dayan continued broadcasting for Galei Tzahal, where she still hosts a weekly current affairs broadcast.
Since 1993, Dayan has hosted Israeli investigative journalism show Uvda on Channel 12 (formerly Channel 2). In 2015, Dayan was awarded the Sokolov Prize. According to the prize committee, Dayan was honored for "a host of thorough, groundbreaking investigations, for her pioneering contribution to televised investigative journalism, for creating a new investigative language, and for serving as a paragon for a new generation of investigative journalists."
In 2009, Dayan received an award from the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, and in 2018, she was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television.
Dayan holds a PhD in law from Yale University.
Drucker is one of Israel's leading investigative reporters. As the host of investigative television show Hamakor, aired since 2009, he has uncovered multiple cases of injustice and corruption within Israel’s government that resulted in a number of police investigations and indictments. Hamakor is a six-time winner of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television's award for best investigative television show. In 2011, Drucker received the Sokolov Prize, an honor granted to digital journalists. According to the prize committee, Drucker was honored for his collected works "conducted with depth and courage, and for investigations that uncovered alarming flaws and corruption in the Israeli political system in all its forms."
Drucker began his career as a journalist for daily newspaper Maariv. In 1998, he was appointed the political reporter of Israeli army radio, Galei Tzahal. Since 2003, he has held multiple roles at Israeli Channel 10 News (now Channel 13), including political commentator, reporter, and editor. In 2004, Drucker co-founded not-for-profit organization the Movement for Freedom of Information, and served as its chairman until 2016.
Drucker has published two books: Harakiri (2002), which analyzes former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's government, and Boomerang (2005), which he co-wrote with politician and former journalist Ofer Shelah, which investigates the failings of Israel's leadership during the period of the second Intifada.
Drucker has a Bachelor of Law from Tel Aviv University.
In 2012, Horovitz founded news website The Times of Israel, where he serves as editor in chief. The site covers news from Israel, the Middle East, and the Jewish diaspora, and employs an international team of bloggers. The website is available in English, Arabic, French, and Farsi. In 2019, Times of Israel launched a separate Hebrew website.
Horovitz previously served as a correspondent and later editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post. Horovitz has also reported on Israel for newspapers such as The New York Times, L.A. Times, and the Irish Times. He frequently appears as a commentator on international TV and radio newscasts, including on BBC, CNN, and NPR.
In 1995, Horovitz was honored with the B'nai B'rith World Center Award for Journalism. In 2015, the organization honored him with a lifetime achievement award.
Harel is a leading commentator and one of the most distinguished figures in Israeli media. Since 2007, he has served as the military commentator for Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. For this role, he was awarded the Sokolov Prize for journalism in 2015.
Prior to his current appointment, Harel has served in several reporting and editorial roles at Haaretz, including as a military correspondent and night editor.
Harel has published three books. The Seventh War: How We Won and Why We Lost the War with the Palestinians (2004), co-written with Avi Issacharoff, deals with the second Intifada; 34 Days: Israel, Hezbollah and the War in Lebanon (2008), also co-written with Issacharoff, about the second war with Lebanon; and Te’da Kol Em Ivriya (in Hebrew: Let Every Israeli Mother Know), published in 2013, which deals with how the IDF trains new combat soldiers.
Harel is the editor and host of the Soul Food podcast broadcasted by Tel Aviv Radio, which is dedicated to soul music.
Harel has a Bachelor of Law from Tel Aviv University.
Ellen Weiss has been Chief of Washington Bureau and Vice President of The E. W. Scripps Company since February 2013. She oversees a staff of journalists producing original investigative and long-form documentary stories and series in video and audio.
Before she joined Scripps, Weiss was the executive editor at the Center for Public Integrity. She served as senior vice president of news at National Public Radio until 2011. At NPR, she oversaw the global expansion of NPR News, the creation of an investigative unit, podcasts, and the digital integration of the newsroom. Weiss joined NPR News in 1982. For 12 years, she was executive producer of the daily NPR news magazine All Things Considered.
In 2015, Weiss received her fourth Peabody Award for the Under the Radar investigative series exposing the issue of convicted military sex offenders who return to civilian life. The story led to the passage of a new law closing the military sex offender loophole.
Zohar began his career as a reporter for Israeli army radio Galei Tzahal, and later moved on to print media. In 1993, he became one of the founding members of the Channel 2 News Company. In 2001, he joined then-newly formed Channel 10 News Company, where he went on to assume a variety of roles. Among other things, Zohar hosted the channel’s nightly news show, where he crafted and honed the unique hosting style associated with him until today.
Zohar currently hosts KAN 11 channel’s current affairs show Me’hatsad Hasheni (from the other side), which deals with questions of media bias and the gap between reality and its media representation.
Ghada Zoabi is the founder and CEO of Bokra.net, a popular online news outlet and social platform for Israeli Arabs. Bokra offers a comprehensive and wide range of news, covering local, national, and global stories.
Under Zoabi's management, Bokra.net aims to provide news content that could help connect the local Arab society to the state of Israel. Today, Bokra.net, has a significant influence on the agenda of the Arab community in Israel.
Before establishing Bokara, Zoabi worked at the Israel Broadcasting Authority and at Channel 1 television station. During this time, she also served as a coordinator at a youth movement for Arabs and Jews in Haifa.
Zoabi was born and raised in Haifa and holds bachelor's degrees in journalism and education from Haifa University.
Among her philanthropic work, Zoabi is a member of various organizations promoting awareness of topics such as home safety, breast cancer, and the empowerment of people with disabilities. In recent years, she has focused on advancing co-existence between Arabs and Jews, initiating the first Arab and Jewish shared community center in Nazareth. Zoabi supports various organizations and institutions such as Umm El-Fahem Art Gallery, Celiac Foundation for Arab Sector, the Miriam Foundation for women with breast cancer in Israel, and the Jasmine Organization for women in business.
Richard Tofel was the founding general manager of ProPublica from 2007 to 2012, becoming president in 2013.
He was formerly the assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal and, earlier, an assistant managing editor of the paper, vice president, corporate communications for Dow Jones & Company, and an assistant general counsel of Dow Jones. More recently, he served as vice president, general counsel and secretary of the Rockefeller Foundation.
He is the author of several books including: A Federal Offense of the Highest Order: The True Story of How the Joint Chiefs Spied on Nixon, And How He Covered It Up (2019); Speaking Truth in Power: Lessons for Our Sorry Politics from Our Inspiring History (2018); Non-Profit Journalism: Issues Around Impact (2013); Why American Newspapers Gave Away the Future (2012) and Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism (2009).
Lee is the founder of EXILE, a media company acquiring and developing original premium content for audiences across the U.S.and Latin America. Previously, Lee served as the chief content officer for Televisa, the leading Spanish media company, and Univision.
For almost eight years, Lee ran the news department at Univision. Prior to this, he founded AnimalPolitico, the leading political and investigative news site in Mexico. He also founded and led PageOne Media, publisher of PODER magazine in the U.S., Mexico, Colombia,Chile, Peru, Venezuela, which was sold in 2006.
At 25, Lee was appointed editor in chief of Cromos, the oldest magazine in Latin America. At 26, he was editor in chief of Semana, Colombia’s most influential magazine.
Lee produced the feature film Paraíso Travel, three seasons of El Chapo for Netflix, as well as the TVE mini-series Operación Jaque, which was nominated for an International Emmy. He made the first deal with Amazon in Mexico and has developed five series for Netflix. Lee has also produced several documentaries, including the award-winning documentary Science Fair (NatGeo), Outpost (HBO), Residente (Netflix), Jaque (NatGeo), and When Lambs Become Lions.
Lee is a board member of the Associated Press, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Columbia Journalism Review, the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, and the Hirshhorn Museum. He is an advisory board member for the Peabody Awards and an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Bret Stephens is an op-ed columnist with the New York Times, a position he took in April 2017. He was previously deputy editorial-page editor for The Wall Street Journal and, for 11 years, its foreign affairs columnist. Before that, Stephens was editor in chief of the Jerusalem Post. He has reported stories from around the globe and is the recipient of many prizes, including the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, the 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and three honorary doctorates.
Stephens was raised in Mexico City and holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics. He is a co-founder, with Garry Kasparov, of the Renew Democracy Initiative, and sits on many trustee and advisory boards.
Rosenthal joined CIR as Executive Director in 2008, a position he held until 2017. When Rosenthal joined CIR it had a staff of 7. When he stepped down as executive director, CIR had a staff of over 70 and was widely recognized for the quality and credibility of its journalism and its constant innovation around story telling and distribution.
Rosenthal spent the bulk of his nearly 50-year career in journalism at The Philadelphia Inquirer, starting as a reporter and becoming its executive editor in 1998. He became managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle in 2002. Rosenthal has worked for some of the most respected newspapers, including The Boston Globe and The New York Times, where he was a news assistant on the foreign desk and an editorial assistant on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pentagon Papers project. As a reporter, Rosenthal won numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club Award for magazine writing, and the National Association of Black Journalists Award for Third World Reporting.
Rosenthal is currently on the board of CIR and several other journalism nonprofits, or acting as an advisor. In 2018, Rosenthal was honored for his work as a Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists for his "extraordinary contribution to the profession of journalism."
Schiller is a longtime executive at the intersection of journalism, media, and technology. She recently joined the Aspen Institute in a new position heading up programs across media, technology, and cybersecurity.
Before joining Aspen, Schiller served as the founding head of the Civil Foundation, an independent not-for-profit committed to the sustainability of trustworthy journalism around the world. She is also a strategic advisor to Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
Over the last 30 years, Schiller has held executive roles at some of the most respected media organizations in the world. She was president and CEO of NPR; global chair of news at Twitter; general manager of NYTimes.com; chief digital officer of NBC News; chief of the Discovery Times Channel, a joint venture of The New York Times and Discovery Communications; and head of CNN documentary and long-form divisions. Documentaries and series produced under her auspices earned multiple honors, including three Peabody Awards, four Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, and dozens of Emmys.
Schiller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and a director of the Scott Trust, which owns The Guardian.