Nefesh B’Nefesh has announced the creation of an Institute for Aliyah Policy and Strategy, to be headed by former MK, attorney Michal Cotler-Wunsh. The institute will identify and advance holistic long-term policy changes relating to the immigration, absorption, and integration of Olim, through the analysis of accrued data, combined with the organization’s two decades of Aliyah service and experience. In addition, the institute will serve as a platform advocating for past, current, and future Olim, while advancing necessary change within Israeli society.
Parallel to the ongoing day-to-day efforts of the organization, the Nefesh B’Nefesh Institute for Aliyah Policy and Strategy will work as an independent entity, focusing on creating long-term strategies and policy planning that will assist in solving issues related to Aliyah and the eventual integration of Olim into Israeli society. A core value of the institute will be to design and implement procedures that will enable Olim to take part in shaping future policy development. Additionally, the institute will engage and educate the public, media, government officials, and key decision-makers to recognize the significant contributions of Olim and view Aliyah as a fundamental asset for much-needed growth and contribution to Israel’s current social and economic climate.
“The founding of our new institution, headed by Michal Cotler-Wunsh, is an investment in the future,” said Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Chairman Tony Gelbart, and Executive Director Rabbi Yehoshua Fass. “Nefesh B’Nefesh will continue guiding Olim through every stage of the Aliyah process, while our institute influences change and implements better long-term policy for veteran, current and future Olim. We see this as an opportunity to limit the need to be reactive in addition to driving innovative efforts that will support and help our new Olim as they fulfill their dreams of building their lives in Israel and maximize their potential impact.”
The Nefesh B’Nefesh Institute for Aliyah Policy and Strategy will begin its work by analyzing unique data, examining existing Aliyah policies, and reflecting on collective experience in order to create proactive strategies intended to generate future change within Israel. It will further engage in improving and deepening the paradigm between the Israeli public and new immigrants, further strengthening its relations with worldwide Jewish communities and the greater Jewish Diaspora.
“I’m honored to be joining such an important organization that has benefited so many Olim, both individually and collectively. I look forward to being able to challenge existing concepts and identify hurdles that prevent potential Olim from making Aliyah while assisting those who are already here successfully integrate into Israeli society,” said Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Head of the Nefesh B’Nefesh Institute for Aliyah Policy and Strategy. “I am committed to further building the relationships between Israel and the Olim communities and am excited to be part of this new and timely venture with Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that embraces opportunity and is committed and capable to tackle the challenges at hand.”
Adv. Michal Cotler-Wunsh was born in Jerusalem and grew up and raised her own children in Montreal, Canada. She received her LL.B. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and her LL.M. from McGill University in Montreal. As a member of Israel’s 23rd Knesset, Cotler-Wunsh chaired the Subcommittee on Israel-Diaspora Relations, served as a member of the Foreign Relations and Defense Committee, the Law and Constitution Committee, as well as the Aliyah and Absorption Committee. Cotler-Wunsh was appointed as first time Knesset Liaison to the Issue of the ICC and is a founding member of the Inter-Parliamentary Bi-Partisan Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism. In addition to her membership in multiple inter-parliamentary organizations, Cotler-Wunsh served as co-chair of the Canada-Israel Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group.