Professional Team


Shai Bazak

Chief Executive Officer, ELNET-Israel
Shai Bazak brings 25 years of experience as an Israeli diplomat and expert on international affairs in both government and the private sector. Early in his career, he was media director and spokesperson for opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and later during his first term as Prime Minister of Israel. He was then appointed Israel’s Consul General in Miami, with responsibility for Florida and Puerto Rico, and subsequently Israel’s Consul General in Boston, were he was the senior representative in the Northeast. Bazak later served as the Head of Mission of the Jewish National Fund in London to the UK, Scotland, and Ireland.

Omri Attar

Managing Director, ELNET-Israel
Omri Attar acted as Chief Operations Officer at ELNET in 2016-19 and Chief of International Staff in 2015-16. He is the founder of the Europe Forum, a leading thinking group of organizations based in Europe and Israel, and former Chief Spokesperson of the IDC Herzliya Student Union. He has a broad background in project management within non-profit organizations and NGOs. He holds an MA in Knowledge-based Policy, Educational, Social and Public Leadership, a BA in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, and a Certificate of Third-Sector Management studies, as well as additional certification of Negotiation studies from Harvard Law School.

Yossi Abravanel

Deputy Executive Director, ELNET-Israel
Yossi Abravanel is a former entrepreneur in the fields of telecom and homeland security in Israel and beyond, with extensive experience in work vis-à-vis governments in West Africa and Israel, and as a Jewish Agency’s Aliyah representative in Paris. He holds an MBA from the University of Sorbonne and a BA from Jerusalem Collage of Technology.

Benjamin Touati

Deputy Executive Director, ELNET-Israel
Benjamin Touati is a former representative of the Jewish Agency in Paris, political advisor of Israeli ministers and director in national institutions, including World Mizrahi Movement, with vast experience in project management in public and non-governmental sectors. He holds an MBA from the Jerusalem College of Technology and a BA in History from Paris University.

Julia Lisiecka

Senior Research and Communications Manager, ELNET-Israel
Julia Lisiecka has a broad background in policy research, project management and communications, and formerly worked at the EU Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), dealing with EU's foreign and security policy in the Middle East. She holds an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and a BA in Applied Sociology from Warsaw University.

Tamara Epelbaum

Operations Manager, ELNET-Israel
Tamara Epelbaum previously served as the Head of North American Desk, Head of the Latin America and Asia Desk and interim Head of the European Desk at the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. She holds an MA in Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC Herzliya), a BA in Political Science from Columbia University in New York, and a BA in Talmud (Jewish Law) from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS).

Yasmin Burk

Account Manager, ELNET-Israel
Yasmin Burk is an accounting professional with experience in management and accounting in private and non-governmental sectors. She studies accounting and economics at the Open University in Tel Aviv.

European Union & NATO

Matthijs Schüssler

Executive Director, ELNET-EU & NATO
Matthijs Schussler has started his career as an attorney at law dealing with private equity and real estate, at an Amsterdam based international law firm. Thereafter he worked as legal advisor and official secretary to the President and National Board of the Dutch Christian Democratic Party (CDA). For the last five years Matthijs served as senior policy advisor at the European People's Party (EPP), the largest party in the European Parliament, with a focus on international trade, aviation and the European budget. He speaks fluent Hebrew and holds an MA and BA Law degree from the University of Leiden in The Netherlands.


Dr Arié Bensemhoun

Chief Executive Officer, ELNET-France
Dr Arié Bensemhoun has been the Chief Executive Officer of ELNET France since 2011. He is dentist by profession and made his career in the private sector as a consultant in communications, PR and international relations dealing with Middle East and strategic affairs. Dr Bensemhoun plays a crucial role in the French-Israeli relationship through his commitment both at the community and political levels.

Charlotte Gribe

Deputy Director, ELNET-France
Charlotte Gribe formerly worked as a Liaison and Research Officer for the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Paris and a Communication Manager for the European Association of the Friends of the History Museum of Polish Jews. She also served as a representative of LICRA within the UN. She holds an MA in Communication Arts from the New York Institute of Technology.

Dr Sarah Perez

Research and Communications Manager, ELNET-France
Dr Sarah Perez is a Research Associate at ELNET France. She specializes in security issues in the Middle East and cyberwarfare, and wrote a book on the technological war between Iran and Israel (Editions François Bourin, 2015). She researched Israel's soft power and the concept of economic peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Formerly she worked as a security consultant.


Carsten Ovens

Executive Director, ELNET-Germany
Carsten Ovens is the Executive Director of ELNET Germany since March 2019. With almost two decades of experience in politics, i.a. as a Member of the Hamburg State Parliament, he devoted his work to the German-Israeli relations with a focus on innovation and startups for many years. Beforehand, Carsten worked in business development and management consulting throughout Europe, as a lecturer on marketing and communications at several leading universities, and as a researcher on social media communication effects on politics and society.

Janika Bratvogel

Deputy Director, ELNET-Germany
Janika Bratvogel has been working in the field of foreign and security politics in Berlin, Washington D.C., and Bonn for over a decade and has extensive experience in bringing together high-level politicians and officials. She has been Deputy Director at ELNET-Germany since its founding in 2014. Prior to that, she worked on transatlantic security issues for the German Atlantic Association in Berlin and the Hanns-Seidel Foundation in Washington D.C. Janika earned her MA degree in North American Studies, Political Science, and Anglo-American History at the Universities of Bonn, Cologne, and Oviedo, Spain.
VIctor Frank

Viktor Frank

Program Manager, ELNET-Germany
Viktor Frank worked for several years in the field of political relations in Berlin and Moscow. During this time, he gained deep insights and far-reaching knowledge at the interface between business and politics - both at national and international level. Most recently, he was responsible for media and public relations at the German Atomic Forum and accompanied the political work of the association. Viktor holds a degree in political science from the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main with a focus on international relations.

Natalie Gips

Program Manager, ELNET-Germany
Natalie Gips has long-standing experience in German-Israeli political and economic cooperation. From 2015 to 2018, she worked for ELNET-Germany, where she coordinated different types of events as well as delegations to Israel. In 2018, she joined the German Startups Association, where she works as project leader for the German Israeli Startup Exchange Program (GISEP) with a focus on GreenTech and Sustainability. Natalie Gips studied in Israel and has a master’s degree in International Politics and Peace and Conflict Studies.

Kai Schlotterose

Project Coordinator, ELNET-Germany
Kai Schlotterose has worked for various German politicians both on the state and federal level. He is an expert on the German political landscape and political decision-making process. Previously, he was a political campaigner for members of the German Bundestag. Kai Schlotterose holds an MA degree in Political Science from the University of Potsdam and a BA in European Studies from Maastricht University.


Marta Kubica

Executive Director, ELNET-Poland
Marta Kubica brings 15 years of professional and academic experience in Polish-Jewish and Polish-Israel relations. She spent 10 years at the Embassy of Israel in Poland, where she supported the Executive Office in liaising with state and local government officials, business, academia, churches and the Jewish community. For the past 2 years, Marta served as Diplomatic Protocol Specialist at the U.S. Embassy Warsaw. She served as chairwoman of the Jewish Studies students’ association and established an academic exchange program between the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and Ariel University.

Krystyna Kowalska

Project Manager, ELNET-Poland
Krystyna Kowalska has twenty years of professional experience in Polish-Israel relations, project management and communications. She spent 7 years at the Embassy of Israel in Poland, where she worked at the Military Attaché office, liaising between Israeli, Polish, Czech, Slovak and Hungarian Armed Forces and military institutions. She has also a broad experience in energy effectiveness and sustainable development, having worked in this field for the past 9 years as a project manager, event organizer and marketing specialist. She is a graduate of Hebrew Department at the Warsaw Univeristy.

United States

David Siegel

President, Friends of ELNET (FELNET)
David Siegel is former Israeli diplomat involved in foreign policy formulation at the highest levels, including as Consul General to the Southwest United States. He served as the Chief of Staff to Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Director of the Foreign Ministry’s International Organizations Department and Chief of Staff to three of Israel’s Ambassadors to the United States. He holds an MA in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a BA in political science from the University of Vermont.

Lee Rosenblum

National Executive Director, Friends of ELNET (FELNET)
Lee Rosenblum is a former Director of Development at the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science and former National Major Gifts Officer at the American Friends of Bar Ilan University. He also served as the Chief Philanthropic Officer of the Steinhardt Foundation.

Carole Mostow

Officer / Board Secretary, Friends of ELNET (FELNET)
Carole Mostow is the Director of the Hochberg Family Foundation and Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Next Realty. Previously, she was the VP of Accounting for a closely held corporation and served for many years as Associate Professionalism Counsel to the American Bar Association. She is active in the Chicago Jewish Community, including as a member of the Board of Directors for StandWithUs Midwest and as Secretary to the Friends of ELNET. She holds a JD and a BA from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.

Julie Hazan

Resource Development Director, Friends of ELNET (FELNET)
Julie Hazan is a communications and public relations specialist. She has spent the past decade focused on political advocacy for Israel and has worked at prominent international organizations and foundations in Washington, Jerusalem, and New York. She studied law, holds an MA in Public Management with a focus in European and International Public Affairs from the University of Provence Aix-Marseille and a BA in Strategic Communications from the University of Marseille.

Siamak Kordestani

West Coast Director, Friends of ELNET (FELNET)
Siamak "Sia" Kordestani is the former Assistant Director of the American Jewish Committee's Los Angeles Regional Office, where he worked on international relations, legislative affairs, interethnic/interreligious ties, donor relations and leadership development. Previously, he was Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Brad Sherman in Washington, DC, advising him on foreign policy, trade, labor, immigration, and energy. He also worked for the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.

Rebecca Modell

National Operations Manager, Friends of ELNET (FELNET)
Rebecca Model worked as Program Coordinator for American Friends of Likud, as well as American Friends of Bar-Ilan University, arranging fundraising meetings and events with high-level dignitaries and academics. She is a former Senior PR professional, specializing in Jewish World Affairs and holds a BA degree in Politics, and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from Brandeis University.

ELNET Professional Team & Leadership: ELNET boards worldwide.