Since 2005 I have been studying and working on Jewish-Arab relations in Jerusalem, Israel and Palestine, combining in-depth academic knowledge with an intimate acquaintance of the field.
However, growing up in an East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood surrounded by Arab-Palestinian villages, I have been immersed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict practically all my life. I am a native Jerusalemite working as a geopolitical guide and researcher providing consultancy and Analysis, study-tours and lectures, focusing on Jerusalem, holy sites and religious nationalism in Israel and Palestine.
I have a PhD from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), studying Muslim-Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli religious nationalism in a comparative approach. As a Research Fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, a new and progressive think tank in Israel, I deal with Israeli and Palestinian affairs with a special focus on Jerusalem.
In the last years I have been exploring the religious dimension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict both academically and professionally. Starting in 2013, around American Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace initiative, I worked as a special adviser to a group of top official religious leaders, including the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the Heads of the Local Churches of the Holy Land, the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs of and the Sharia Courts of the Palestinian Authority (CRIHL.org). As a result, during 2015-16, I worked for the Holy Land pilot of the Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites at the Jerusalem office of Search for Common Ground (SFCG), a global organisation working on conflict transformation.
In 2015-2016, following the waves of inter-communal violence in Jerusalem, I was involved in forming two successful civil society initiatives that still run under the guidance of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC): I was the founding director of Window to Mount Zion, a project launched by SFCG in Jerusalem in partnership with the JICC, with initial funding by USIP. The project constitutes a highly successful model for defusing and de-escalating tensions in contested and shared holy site by incorporating different components such as: grassroots activity, working with stakeholders, municipal and state authorities and the police. Together with Michal Sherez Shilor (which came up with the idea) I founded yet another volunteer based initiative in 2015 called 0202 – points of views from Jerusalem, today a leading civil society organization which aims at bridging the language and cultural gaps between the different groups residing in Jerusalem through translation of social media. Today I serve on the organization’s board of directors.
Academic background: Between 2004-2011 I obtained my first and second degrees from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in Islamic and Middle East Studies and Comparative Religions, focusing on Palestinian history and politics, using Jerusalem as my major case study. In 2009, I worked as an intern at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research (former Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies).
Alongside my research activity I currently work as a freelance adviser, analyst, guide and lecturer. I am also a political and social activist.
Languages: Fluent in Hebrew, Arabic, English and French, I stress in my work the human dimension and see great value in direct contact and communication between people. Each language I have learned revealed to me new dimensions of the Holy Land. As an Israeli Jew dealing with Jewish-Arab relations I see great importance in mastering the Arab language in particular (both the written and the spoken dialect). This skill enriches my work on both the professional and academic levels and deepens my interpersonal connections.
Between 2011-2014 I lived in Strasbourg, France, on the West Bank of the river Rhine. In Strasbourg, a city that transformed from the symbol of conflict to the heart of the Franco-German reconciliation and the beginning of the new Europe, I have learned to be humble in front of History – a lesson I brought with me back to Jerusalem.