EU & NATO

Europe has enormous strategic, political and economic importance in the world and certainly for Israel. Its historic and geopolitical connection to the Middle East as well as its proximity to the region make Europe an important player in the region. 

The European Union consists of 27 member states who jointly form a leading global economic and diplomatic power, with presence in important institutions and political frameworks such the UN, NATO, P5+1, G7 and G20. The EU is the second largest economic block and Israel’s largest trading partner, as well as a major contributor to Israeli science and innovation. 

The EU and Israel cooperate in many policy areas, such as trade, culture, science, energy, and security. Middle East stability is critical to the EU and Israel, and both parties share an interest in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel is an important trading partner for the EU in the Mediterranean region and has proven to be one of the world’s most resilient economies. Israel is a global innovation leader in science and technology, high-tech, cyber security, agriculture, water and energy. Israel is a key participant and beneficiary of EU scientific programs such as Horizon 2020.

ELNET in Brussels

ELNET-EU & NATO was established in Brussels in 2016. Led by an international board and headed by Matthijs Schüssler, Executive Director, the Brussels office conducts annual strategic dialogues between EU and Israel, as well as seminars, conferences and roundtables involving high-level NATO, EU and Israeli officials and experts on critical issues such as counter-terrorism, cyber security cooperation, and Middle East stability. The ELNET Brussels Office is also a strategic partner of the German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum.

Matthijs Schüssler

Chief Executive Officer, 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.

Dafna Friedman

Program & Project Manager, ELNET-EU & NATO
Dafna is coming from a background of communications and campaigns consulting. Formerly she worked at European Jewish association (EJA), as well as Europe Israel Public Affairs (EIPA) and European Friends of Israel (EFI), all Brussels based organizations, working closely with the European Union institutions. She holds BA in History of the Middle East studies and MA in Modern Middle Eastern studies, both from the University of Tel-Aviv.

Sharon Regev

Program & Project Manager, ELNET-EU & NATO
Sharon has a long-standing experience in Program Management at Tel-Aviv (Youth) University, where she managed educational programs for young and talented students and was in charge of Public Relations in the unit. Previously she worked as a consultant for Industrial R&D cooperation projects at the Israel Innovation Authority, in the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Economy, specializing in the program and project management of International exhibitions and conferences. Sharon also worked as a trade officer at the Embassy of Israel in Washington DC. Sharon holds MBA, specializing in Human Resources, and BA in Political Sciences from Tel-Aviv University.

Larry Hochberg​

Chair, ELNET EU & NATO
Mr. Larry Hochberg is an internationally renowned lay leader and philanthropist who served as National Chairman of the Friends of the IDF, National Officer of AIPAC, and held national leadership positions with the UJC, UJA, the Annual and Israel Emergency Campaigns of Chicago’s Jewish United Fund. Mr. Hochberg chaired the Advisory Committee of the American Jewish Committee’s Chicago chapter and served on the Dean’s Council of Northwestern University. He is is the founder, CEO and chairman of Sportmart Inc. acquired by Sports Authority.

Hans Thomas Kessler

Hans Thomas Kessler is a commercial lawyer specializing in the real estate transactions and finance, as well as infrastructure projects. He has advised numerous real estate investors, owners, financial institutions, construction and engineering firms. Mr. Kessler has worked for several leading International law firms. He studied law and political science at the Universities of Frankfurt, Lausanne, Geneva and Strasbourg, earned the LL.M. at the London School of Economics and Political Science and was a Visiting Scholar at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.

Hubert Leven

Hubert Leven was CEO of the Leven brokerage firm in Paris, from 1962 until 1999. He also served on the Executive Committee of the Source Perrier mineral water group (established by his uncle Gustave Leven) and as CEO of a number of its subsidiaries. With a long record of community service, Hubert Leven served as President the Rashi Foundation in Israel since its creation in 1984 until 2018 . He presently serves as co-president of Elnet France, on the board of Kol Israel Haverim ( KIAH) in Israel and as Vice-President of Alliance Israelite Universelle in Paris. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Ben Gurion University, the Technion and Bar Ilan University. Born in 1938, he lives in Paris, is married to Corinne Mentzelopoulos and has 4 children.

Robert T. Flesh​

Robert T. (Tom) Flesh is the Chairman-elect of the Board of Friends of ELNET. He serves on the boards of several real estate companies and philanthropic organizations. Tom, a past President of Sinai Temple of Los Angeles, is a member of its Board of Directors. He is active in interfaith unity efforts, Jewish and Israel based institutions, and organizations focused on education and at risk youth. Tom has served on several community boards and commissions.