ZOA Campus works with students across the country to bring academics, activists, political figures, advocacy professionals, and more to campuses to engage communities and fight for Israel. ZOA Campus is happy to provide funding for any of the speakers below, and we are open to other suggestions as well. If you would like to bring a speaker to campus, please contact your ZOA Campus Coordinator.
Lone Soldier & Krav Maga Instructor
At the age of nineteen, Leibel Mangel left his home and family in Cincinnati, Ohio to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces as a lone soldier. As the son of a Rabbi and the grandson of one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz – serving in the IDF was not a matter of if, but rather when? Leibel served as a machine gunner in the Kfir Brigade, where he took part in numerous high profile anti-terror operations including the tragic discovery of the bodies of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrah who were kidnapped from Gush Etzion in 2014. Leibel uses his experiences to continue his service by fighting for Israel in both mainstream and social media and on campuses throughout the United States.
Leibel passes the skills learned in the IDF – to civilians as the head instructor of Cincinnati Krav Maga, so they too can learn to protect and defend themselves and their loved ones. Leibel is also the recipient of a 2017 Jewish People’s Choice Award.
Yemenite Jewish Refugee & Advocate
Manny Dahari was born in Yemen and moved to the United States at the age of thirteen. After ten years of not being able to return to Yemen to see his own parents and the rest of his family, this year, he aided the Jewish Agency in Israel in coordinating their escape from Yemen. Today, Manny’s family lives in Be’er Sheva, Israel.
Manny is a marketing and political science major at Yeshiva University. He is passionate about Israel advocacy in the United States. He is also an advocate for the 850,000 Jewish refugees who were forced out of their ancient homes in the Middle East and North Africa after the re-birth of the Jewish State of Israel. He works with organizations that aim to achieve universal recognition for the Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands.
Harvard Professor (ret.) Specializing in Iranian & Armenian Studies
Professor Russell is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University. He has taught and lectured in many countries (and languages), including Israel, Western Europe, Russia, Armenia, India, China, Pakistan, and Iran. A longtime pro-Israel activist and observant Jew, he now lives in Fresno, CA and is writing a book on the evolution of the Hebrew Ashrei prayer and the Sermon on the Mount. In addition to his many acclaimed scholarly works, Professor Russell’s Hebrew and Kabbalistic paintings and calligraphy have also been published. He rides a motorcycle, plays really bad guitar, loves cats, horses, and of course, California.
Fulbright Dissertator and Expert on US – Israel Relations
Dr. Gil Ribak is an Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona. He served as the Director of the Institute on American Jewish – Israeli Relations at the American Jewish University (Los Angeles) as well as a Schusterman Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Arizona, and a Lewin Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to his arrival in 2000 to the U.S. on a Fulbright Fellowship, Dr. Ribak served as an analyst for the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel.
Dr. Ribak has spoken at numerous distinguished forums in the U.S. and abroad, including the American Freedom Alliance’s “Oslo at Twenty,” Hebrew Union College, the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and PBS Television, among others. Dr. Ribak has analyzed and presented on the the dynamics of the various delegitimization movements against Israel and how the Israeli Far Left helps to delegitimize the Jewish State. Dr. Ribak is the author of the book, Gentile New York: The Images of Non-Jews among Jewish Immigrants (2012), and published numerous articles in various publications.
Egyptian-Jewish Historian & Former Refugee
Joseph Levy was born in Cairo, Egypt. When he was six-months old, his family left in what he calls the Second Jewish Exodus and arrived in the United States. Mr. Levy grew up in New Jersey and attained a law degree in 1984. For the past thirty-six years, Mr. Levy has been passionate about the subject of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. In his opinion, they are the forgotten people of the longstanding Arab-Israeli dispute. He has written numerous articles and had his Letter to the Editor in Time magazine published. Over the past several years, he has spoken in more than eighty locations about Jewish history in Arab countries and twentieth-century Jewish life in Egypt.
Israeli National Strategist & Expert on the Arab – Israeli Conflict
Ehud Eilam (Ph.D) has been involved academically and practically with the study of the Arab – Israeli conflict and Israeli national strategy for more than 20 years. He served in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and he is also a former private contractor for the Israeli Ministry of Defense where he conducted research in different branches of the IDF. Dr. Eilam recently published his second book Israel’s Way of War – A Strategic & Operational Analysis, 1948–2014. He currently resides in New York City.
Historian & Middle East Expert
Daniel Mandel heads the ZOA’s Center for Middle East Policy, has published widely on the Middle East in the U.S., Israel, Britain and Australia, and is the author of H.V. Evatt and the Establishment of Israel. He served previously as Associate Director of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia) and was a Fellow at Melbourne University, where he taught history. Daniel has spoken at campuses and rallies in numerous states and successfully countered anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda in innumerable television, radio and campus debates.
Portuguese LGBTQ Activist & Pro-Israel Advocate
Romeu Monteiro is a Portuguese Human Rights and LGBTQ Activist, Writer, and Engineer. He has worked with at-risk LGBTQ youth since 2008 and collaborated with international NGOs and Parliament to advance LGBTQ rights in Portugal. Romeu’s story of how he came to support Israel is inspirational. He believes that all those who support justice, equality, and human rights must support Israel as well.
He served as the President of his pro-Israel student group at Carnegie Mellon University and has organized pro-Israel events in Portugal as well. His articles have been published in major publications in Portugal, Israel, and the USA, such as Ynetnews.com (Israel), Unidade (Portugal), Público (Portugal), The Algemeiner (USA), The Jewish Press (USA), and Revista MedioOriente (USA).
Arab-Israeli Human Rights and LGBTQ Activist
Jonathan Elkhoury is a Lebanese Christian Israeli whose family fled to Israel as Lebanese-Arab refugees. His father was a soldier in the South Lebanon Army (SLA) combatting terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Jonathan is passionate about the rights of persecuted minorities in the Middle East and advocating for Israel, which has become a sanctuary for persecuted Arabs and LGBTQ individuals, such as himself, in the Middle East.
Zionist Human Rights Activist
Chloé Valdary is a fellow at the Lawfare Project and a recipient of the 2015 Bartley Fellowship at the Wall Street Journal. Her work as a Zionist human rights activist has been featured on Huffington Post Live, Israel Hayom, Jerusalem Post, the Daily Beast, and more. Chloé speaks on college campuses about Zionism as a human rights movement and exposes the hypocrisy of anti-Israel activists on campus.
Jordanian-Arab Zionist, Middle East Expert
Born in Jordan, Haak was raised to hate Jews and Israel. However, since moving to the U.S. as a teenager, Haak has conducted decades of research on the Middle East and has realized that the reality on the ground is vastly different than what he was taught. Professor Haak currently teaches at NYU and travels across the country to educate the public about the truth about Zionism and the Middle East. On college campuses, Haak speaks about his life story, conflict in the Middle East and how Israel is the only democracy in a region that is otherwise devastated by war and genocide. He also speaks about how the BDS movement only promotes the destruction of the sole liberal democracy in the region, while it supports those in the Middle East who commit the most atrocious war crimes.
Palestinian-Arab Human Rights Activists
Bassem Eid is an internationally recognized Palestinian-Arab human rights activist. Originally, Eid was critical of Israel’s policies in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”), but as a result of his experiences and research, Eid realized that the Palestinian leadership is the primary responsible party in perpetuating abuse and suffering against its own people. Eid is the founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, and today, he advocates for peace while condemning the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, since it inhibits peace and leaves many Palestinian-Arabs jobless.
The Transformation from Radical Anti-Semite to Muslim Zionist
As a Muslim of Pakistani descent from the UK, Kasim grew up hating Jews and Israel. He was taught from a young age that Israel is the cause of all problems and that it must be destroyed. After years of research (including attempts to counter pro-Israel claims) and traveling to Israel to see the “racism and apartheid” for himself, he realized that what he had been taught was a lie. Kasim is now a proud Muslim Zionist who works to fight for the Jewish state and to combat anti-Semitism. He speaks on campuses across the country about his journey and what we can do to stand up for Israel and fight the rising anti-Semitism in the West.
Civil Rights Activist and Christian Zionist
Dumisani is an African-American Christian Zionist who speaks about the relationship between the Black Civil Rights movement and Zionism. He defends the Jewish state from the perspective of someone who has experienced real racism and discrimination. Dumisani is able to deliver a strong Zionist message to students from a unique and important perspective.
Shuki Hasson is a member of a thriving Arab minority in Israel called “Druze.” He was born and raised in a Druze village in Israel called Daliat el-Carmel and like nearly all Druze-Arabs in Israel, proudly served in the Israel Defense Forces. Shuki speaks on college campuses with the goal of educating students about his unique culture in Israel and how the Druze contribute to Israeli society. He speaks about his community’s pro-Israel views and aims to combat many of the misperceptions about Israel and its Arab minorities.
Sierra Leonian Zionist, Expert on Palestinian-Arab Internal Issues
IDF Officer and LGBTQ Activist
In addition to holding the rank of Captain in the IDF, Avner is an outspoken human rights and LQBTQ activist in California. He travels to campuses around the country to promote human rights, to stand up for LGBTQ rights, and to combat the myths spread about the IDF. Avner is also a professor at the Military Academy in Monterey, CA and a renowned author of six books about leadership. To learn more about Avner, please visit www.captainavner.com.
Native American and Pro-Israel Activist
Ryan is an indigenous peoples’ rights activist and a member of the Metis nation, an indigenous nation from western Canada. He speaks to the commonalities of indigenous people, the struggle for indigenous rights, and how various struggles for indigenous rights impact the struggles of indigenous people, including the struggles of the Jewish people to gain self-determination in their ancestral homeland. He approached this topic from the viewpoint that Zionism is the ultimate indigenous rights struggle, as it has been successful and is a blueprint for indigenous people everywhere.
Former IDF Combat Soldier in Gaza
Brian served in an IDF infantry unit from 2007 to 2009 and fought in Operation Cast Lead, an Israeli operation to halt Hamas’s terrorist activities in Gaza. Brian speaks about his experiences fighting Hamas and what he had to do to avoid civilian casualties while fighting a terror group that uses its own children as human shields. After his military service, he earned his MA in Middle Eastern History from Tel Aviv University. He now works for ZOA Campus as the department’s Mid-Atlantic Coordinator. ZOA Campus is able to fully fund Brian’s presentations around the country.
War Archeologist and Israel Policy Expert
Jonny runs an initiative in Poland called “Matzevah,” which excavates Holocaust sites around the country and uncovers aspects of the Holocaust that were still unknown. Through this initiative, Jonny educates the public about the horrors of the war and about the importance of a Jewish homeland today. On campuses, Jonny speaks about his work and how it relates to fighting for Israel to ensure another Holocaust never happens again.
In addition to his work with Matzevah, Jonny served in the Paratroopers brigade in the IDF. He has also served as an advisor to top Members of Knesset and has appeared on dozens of news shows on CNN, Fox News, the BBC, and more.
Hollywood Producer, Career IDF Soldier
Dan Gordon is the screenwriter of 15 Hollywood feature films, has more than 200 hours of television programming as a writer, director and Executive Producer, and has authored seven novels. Gordon has also served in the IDF since 1973. He has served in the Air Force, as a sniper, as a squad leader in an armored infantry reserve unit, and as a Military Spokesperson.
In the Pre-Oslo period (1980’s), Gordon co-authored a Peace Plan endorsed by the Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee. He traveled to meet the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, as well as Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu. On campuses, Gordon speaks about numerous topics, including his experiences as a Zionist in Hollywood, his experiences in the IDF, and more.
Advocacy Training Professional and Middle East Expert
Neil leads educational seminars about Israel and Israel advocacy on campuses around the world. His seminars include Israel advocacy training, Middle East 101, how to fight anti-Israel hatred, and more. Neil specializes in reaching college students by presenting the facts in an entertaining, humorous, and easy-to-understand manner. He is available to train smaller groups of students or lead educational events to larger audiences. Neil has advised the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Jewish Agency, the IDF, and the World Bank on pro-Israel messaging. Please find more information about Neil at www.awesomeseminars.com.
Peace Activist & Israeli Culture Expert
Professor Leitner works as a peace activist with numerous sports organizations that aim to bring Israeli and Palestinian-Arab children together in an effort to make peace. Through his experiences, Professor Leitner has documented effective measures to create peace and has shown that hostile techniques, such as BDS, only lead to trouble. Professor Leitner speaks about Israeli society and the measures Israel takes to coexist peacefully with its Arab neighbors. He speaks about his new book, “Israeli Life and Leisure in the 21st Century,” which discusses the diversity and uniqueness of Israeli culture and what Israelis must go through to make peace. Professor Leitner’s events on campuses counter the myth that Israeli society is racist and close-minded; his events show students the true face of Israel and help students better understand the Jewish state beyond the media.
Ethics in the IDF
General Gruber is a start-up entrepreneur and an officer in a reserve armored division of the IDF. His presentation “Ethics in the Field” discusses the way the IDF protects Israeli civilians while maintaining its moral integrity. He discusses what it is like to fight Hamas and how the IDF is the best in the world at avoiding civilian casualties. General Gruber uses statistics and footage from the IDF to which most people do not have access.
Director of the Sderot Media Center
The Sderot Media Center is dedicated to raising international awareness of the dangerous reality facing the citizens of Sderot and other communities in southern Israel. Noam discusses what life is like under constant Hamas rocket fire. He has briefed members of Congress and lectured about Sderot at universities around the world.
Expert in Middle East Affairs and International Relations
Dr. Navon is a French-Israeli author, news commentator, and public speaker specialized in foreign affairs. He is the Director of the Political Science and Communications Department at the Jerusalem Orthodox College, is a Senior Fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum, teaches International Relations at Tel-Aviv University and at the Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya, and is an international news analyst and commentator for I24News. He earned his MA and Ph.D. in International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Holocaust Survivor and Israel Activist
Sami survived the Holocaust as a young child in Eastern Europe, where he was the subject of numerous Nazi medical experiments that still affect him today. He now speaks on campuses and at community events around the world about his experiences and the importance of a strong Jewish state. Sami enjoys spreading his positive message of hope to students to encourage them to be proud of who they are and to fight for the Jewish people and Israel.
Expert in Middle East Affairs
Dr. Romirowsky is a co-founder of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), a pro-Israel community of academics. Dr. Romirowsky served in the IDF as an International Liaison officer in Judea & Samaria. He is an expert on UNRWA, the Palestinian Authority, the Peace Process, and countering anti-Israel propaganda.
Expert in Middle East History and Anti-Israel Propaganda
Dr. Muravchik is an International Relations expert who has held teaching and research positions at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the Institute of World Politics, and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He has written extensively on the spread of democracy in the Middle East. His most recent book is Making David into Goliath: How the Left Turned Against Israel.
Terror Survivor and Motivational Speaker
Kay Wilson is a British-born Israeli tour guide, jazz musician, and cartoonist. She is the survivor of a brutal terror attack that occurred while she was guiding a trip in December 2010. Since the attack, she is in demand as a motivational speaker and also speaks to audiences on issues of human rights and justice for victims of terrorism.