The Social Cohesion Leadership Program

Leading organizations work to strengthen the cohesion of Israeli society

The program was launched in 2019 by The Ted Arison Family Foundation, in partnership with Merchavim and Ruach Tova.


Strengthening the cohesion of Israeli society is a central challenge for Israel and its future. Alongside its success in many areas, Israel scores very low on international measures of social cohesion,’ relative to most developed democratic countries. The objective of the program is to advance social cohesion through leading 1st, 2nd and 3rd sector organizations. Participants formulate long term plans to advance the goals of their organization and aspects of social cohesion across Israeli society at large. 

The program’s activities:

Each cohort has approximately 20 representatives from 20 private companies, non-profits, and government agencies. Organizational representatives are selected based on their ability to lead organizational change that serves both their organization and Israeli society. The ten-day initial program includes lectures, workshops, and visits that strengthen the bonds between the group’s members and their understanding of social cohesion. Additionally, the program’s leadership team works with each organization to create a long-term plan of action to advance the organizational plans and aspects of social cohesion. Participants also join their 190 colleagues in the program’s growing alum community to continue their learning, collaboration, and networking to increase social cohesion.

Who do we work with?

We work various organizations including corporations, government organizations, educational institutions (schools, higher education etc.), municipalities and civic organizaitons.


The content in the program expanded our horizons and I met wonderful people, both the team and instructors and the other participants. The discussions were interesting and respectful of differing opinions. The meetings led each of us to think about where we are today as far as diversity, equality and effective management of the organization, and where we want to be. I think this program is a must for everyone working in diversity management in organizations.

Orna Golan
HR Division, Head of Gender Equality, Israel Electric

“The Program helped me to look more critically and deeply at the different identity groups in Israel and to challenge the way we think about things at Gesher.”

Alon Ziv

“For me the program was an opportunity to hear a variety of different voices from Israeli society, and to create a common voice that should be heard.”

Alias Mahari
The municipality of Netanya

The program in numbers


Participants in 9 cycles




Meeting days and tours

The people who make it happen

Ilana Sarig Hughes
Director of the Fellowship Programs

Ilana was born in Israel on Kibbutz Ramot Menashe and today, lives on Kibbutz Evron. She holds a BA in Political Science and Sociology and an MA in Organizational Sociology. She worked for many years as VP of Human Resources in Industry and Organizational Development. In 2012, she changed her professional direction and transitioned into the social arena and took on the leadership of Ahada – an organization supporting the families of children with special needs in the Kibbutz movement. She graduated from the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, where she focused on the lives of people with disabilities in the community. Ilana has extensive experience in leading organizational processes and social change. She joined Merchavim in 2018.

To contact Ilana:

ילידת ישראל, קיבוץ רמות מנשה, מתגוררת בעברון. בעלת תואר ראשון במדעי המדינה וסוציולוגיה ותואר שני בסוציולוגיה ארגונית עבדה שנים רבות כסמנכ”לית משאבי אנוש בתעשיה ובפיתוח ארגוני. בשנת 2012 עשתה הסבה לתחום החברתי, עמדה בראש ארגון “אהדה” התומך במשפחות ילדים ובוגרים עם מוגבלויות בתנועה הקיבוצית. בוגרת בית ספר מנדל למנהיגות חינוכית שם התמקדה בחיים של אנשים עם מוגבלויות בקהילה. בעלת נסיון רב בהובלת תהליכים ארגוניים ושל שינוי חברתי. עובדת במכון מרחבים משנת 2018.

To contact Ilana:

Libby Levin
Workshop Leader

Libi was born in the FSU (Latvia) and now makes her home in Modiin. At age 15 Libi immigrated to Israel with her family. She is a group facilitator and organizational consultant. She holds a BA in Psychology and MA in Organizational Psychology. She has extensive experience in leading groups dealing with cross-cultural differences in the IDF and working with immigrant groups and religious groups. Libi joined Merchavim in 2004.

ילידת ברית המועצות, לטביה, מתגוררת במודיעין. בגיל 15 עלתה ארצה עם משפחתה. מנחת קבוצות ויועצת ארגונית. בעלת תואר ראשון בפסיכולוגיה ותואר שני בפסיכולוגיה ארגונית. בעלת ניסיון רב בהנחיית קבוצות בנושא השוני הבין-תרבותי בצה”ל, ובעבודה עם קבוצות עולים ועם המגזר הדתי. במכון מרחבים החל משנת 2004.