British friends of Merchavim
Merchavim educates Israelis of all backgrounds to build a more successful shared future by learning about their fellow citizens, appreciating the diversity that characterizes Israeli society and working together to make their classrooms, schools, organizations, and communities FAIRER – for the benefit of all.
BFM Core Values
BFM Upcoming events
To be announced
(by invitation only)
BFM is grateful for the generous support of our donors in the UK:
“I am passionate about Merchavim’s ongoing mission to strengthen the fabric of Israeli society.”
Brian is currently the Finance Director at the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Additionally, he is a Trustee at London Board for Shechita, March of the Living UK, Chair of his local Synagogue and associate governor at Sinai Jewish Primary School.
“I founded Merchavim as a passionate Jewish-Zionist Israeli, with the conviction that as national-homeland for the Jewish People Israel must continually strive to shape a fairer and more successful future for all its citizens.”
Mike founded MERCHAVIM in 1998 and directed the organization for 17 years before joining the Board of Directors in Israel and subsequently becoming a trustee of BFM. In 2014 Mike was appointed Senior Adviser for Strategic Partnerships at The Ted Arison Family Foundation where he leads social cohesion initiatives, including "The Social Cohesion Leadership Program", run in partnership with Merchavim. As part of a broader analysis, Mike’s 2017 book "A Place for Us All - Social Cohesion and the Future of Israel", www.aplaceforusall.org – which was published in a single volume in English, Hebrew and Arabic – provides a window into Merchavim’s history, activities and innovative change-strategy.
Rt. Hon. Joan Ryan
“I am honoured and delighted to be a Trustee of BFM. To be involved with an organisation that believes in fairness and inclusion, that trains teachers and inspires young people, is uplifting and so very worthwhile'.”
Having retired from Parliament, Joan now works as a training consultant specialising in democracy building, parliamentary strengthening and resilience coaching. She served as a Minister at the Home Office and as a special envoy for the Prime Minister. Elected five times as a Member of Parliament, serving almost 18 years in the House of Commons. She was appointed to the Privy Counsel in 2007. A former teacher she has a long standing commitment to education and young people.
Dr Noga Zivan
“I joined the Board of the British Friends of Merchavim because I believe that internal divisions represent at least as big a threat to Israel's future wellbeing as external threats.”
Noga is a Third Sector professional and educator, passionate about supporting donors and organizations to maximize the good work they do. Alongside Merchavim, she sits on the Board of Congregation Hod Ve'Hadar in Kfar Saba, is a member of the Yad BeYad Community and a volunteer with Mothers Make a Difference. She completed her Doctorate at the University of Oxford and currently teaches Resource Development at Bar Ilan University, as well as running her own consultancy firm, NZ-Consulting.
“Merchavim breaks down barriers to build a civil society without prejudice; for this, it commands my respect and demands my engagement.”
After contributing to charities like the Joint Israel Appeal, CARE and the Anti-Heroin Campaign, Stuart served as Vice Chair of ORT UK, Trustee of the London Musicians’ Collective and on the Actors’ Centre Advisory Board. Currently, he is a Trustee (and Treasurer) of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Alternatives4Children and sits on the Advisory Boards of the Jewish Heritage Foundation, Israel Bonds and ROPES. Stuart runs an international corporate finance firm active across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, including Israel. Stuart is also an award-winning broadcaster, with a long running radio show on London’s Resonance FM.
“I quickly learnt that while my own liberal Zionism was core to my personal identity, the future of Israel required finding shared spaces where all Israelis could develop a sense that the country fairly addressed their needs and dreams."
Michael Wegier has lived and worked in the UK, Israel and the United States in the fields of Jewish Education, and policy planning. He was the Executive Director of Melitz in Jerusalem and recently completed a 7-year term as Chief Executive of the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UK). Appointed in March 2021, Michael is currently Interim Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Michael studied at UCL and the Hebrew University and is a Mandel Jerusalem Fellow. He has followed Merchavim’s work since its inception and had chances to engage with its work through both Merchavim and UJIA.
Susan Coller – BFM Director of Development
“Through my work with Merchavim I have been privileged and heartened to meet Israelis of all backgrounds and see first-hand their determination to build a better shared future”.
Susan has worked for many ‘not for profit’ organizations both for UK based Jewish Charities and various British Friends of Israeli organizations developing and implementing Major Gift Campaigns to help increase their income and profile. Since 2014, Susan has worked as BFM’s Director of Development. She serves as a Governor of Tel Aviv University and sits on its Standing Committee. Susan also assists as an advisor to several small charities in a voluntary capacity.
Acknowledgement of Leadership of Past Trustees:
BFM Development Director
Make a Donation to British Friends of Merchavim (BFM)
Some Activity Highlights:
Hosting Senior Israeli Delegations building understanding and bi-lateral relations
BFM Roadshows - Building Understanding and Cooperation between the UK and Israel at the Grassroots
Seminars building understanding between next generation UK Jewish community leadership and Israelis of all backgrounds:
Ever since playing a key part in Merchavim’s establishment, the UJIA has played an important role in supporting the emergence of Merchavim as a leading agency working to strengthen the fabric of Israeli society and UK Jewish community-Israeli relations. This partnership continues to thrive ensuring that the UK community’s future leaders of all denominations also have an opportunity during Israel year programs to meet Israelis of all backgrounds, to better understand the complexities of Israeli society and the society-building challenges.