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About Us

Background & History


The charity was established by a Declaration of Trust on the 31st of December 1975, three years after the founding of Haifa University in Israel. Our first Trustees were Arnold Goodman, Baron Goodman of the City of Westminster; Desmond Hirshfield, Baron Hirshfield of Holborn; Sir Isaiah Berlin, Mrs Anne Crossman, Mr Ian Mikado and Mr Phillip Sober.

During the years the British Friends were prominent champions of an array of projects such as:

  • the construction of the first student dormitories
  • the establishment of the Law Faculty in 1992
  • the Jacobs Building for the Haifa Graduate School of Management
  • the Department of Maritime Studies
  • the Institute of Evolution
  • student welfare, ongoing funds and scholarships for bright and needy students
  • Bridging the Gap - community involvement project

The Board

PROF SIR WALTER BODMER

Sir Walter is a human geneticist, specialising in models for population genetics. He is Head of the Cancer and Immunogenetics Laboratory in the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford. Sir Walter was Principal of Hertford College, Oxford from 1996 to 2005.

PROF SIMON BARON-COHEN

Simon is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is Director of Cambridge's Autism Research Centre (ARC) and of CLASS (Cambridge Lifespan Asperger Syndrome Service), a clinic for adults with suspected AS. He authored many books including Mindblindness (1995), The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain (2003) and Zero Degrees of Empathy (2011) as well as books for parents and teachers. He has been awarded prizes from the American Psychological Association, the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA), and the British Psychological Society (BPS) for his research into autism. His current research is testing the 'extreme male brain' theory of autism at the neural, endocrine and genetic levels.

PETER KADAS

Peter Kadas is a senior advisor at BXR Partners LLP, an investment advisory firm, and serves as a Director in various companies such as New World Resources (NWR), one of Europe's leading mining companies and RPG Real Estate. Peter held previous positions of Managing Director of investment fund Croesus Central Europe, Managing Director for MC Securities in London and  was a co-Founder of Renaissance Capital, Russia's first private investment bank.

Hungarian born, he worked as a Director for Credit Suisse First Boston's branch office in Budapest. He also served on a number of corporate Boards in the region, including CSFB Budapest, the Management Committee of Renaissance Capital and Ceske Radiokomunikace.

Peter graduated from Trinity College, University of Toronto, in 1986, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Politics and obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth College, in 1990. Peter is married and has a son.

JONATHAN LUX

Jonathan has handled enough hard-boiled court cases to know the benefits of mediation and arbitration. As a litigator and contract lawyer since 1975 at solicitors Ince & Co in London and Hamburg, he has seen at first hand the commercial side of the maritime industry, energy, insurance, international trade and commerce. His experience has led him to champion the use of ADR and arbitration in these sectors, to enable people quickly and cost-effectively to put disputes behind them and get on with their business. He also mediates and arbitrates in other fields and is happy to do so in any.

In his personal life, Jonathan's second priority (after his family) is motor sport. He races classic Formula Ford cars and has taken part in several endurance rallies. Jonathan participated in the 1997 Beijing to Paris Classic Car Rally winning First in Class and a Gold Medal and raising substantial funds for the cause of Human Rights.

HANA SMOUHA

Hana Smouha was born and educated in Israel and is living in London. Hana is a Human Resources professional who has held several positions as an HR Director and as a consultant, and is a trustee member of a Foundation which is active in educational and agricultural research and development projects in the Gallil and the Negev. She has worked as a volunteer in Washington DC and in London on projects dealing with unemployed, young people and disadvantaged adults, to re-engage them with their communities and support their return to employment, through workshops and seminars. A particular area of concentration was the multi ethnic community. Hana is a collector of turned wood and British modern paintings.

LEORA TORN-HIBLER

A solicitor and a prominent figure in the Israel/Jewish community in London, Leora serves on various high-profile committees, where her expertise and knowledge are in demand. Her involvement with Israeli professionals living in London makes her an excellent ambassador and advisor for a multitude of charities she has helped over the years. Amongst her recent roles: Solicitor for the KKL, specialising drafting wills and administration of estates; Chair, co-Founder and Board Member of the Israeli Business Club – London (IBC); Chairman of the JNF Israel Forum.

Born in Haifa, Leora began her studies at Haifa University, where she was married on campus. She went on to complete her BA studies and MA studies (cum laude) at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and also holds a LLB (Hons) from Brunel University.

RONNIE FOX – Honorary Counsel

Ronald (Ronnie) Fox, a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, is a leading expert in employment and partnership law. Mr Fox founded and was the first chairman of the multi-disciplinary Association of Partnership Practitioners, of which he is now President. He founded law firm Fox Williams in 1989 and was the senior partner, until 2005. He left in 2006 to establish Fox, a specialist law firm based in the City of London, together with five of his former colleagues. Mr Fox was educated at the City of London School and Lincoln College, University of Oxford. He has an Honours degree in Jurisprudence.

Tali Sayar - Director

Tali is Director of the British Friends since 2007. She is a marketing professional and has an MBA from Tel-Aviv University. Israeli born, she lives in London since 2006.

British Friends of Haifa University

The north is the key to Israel's future

The University of Haifa is a microcosm of Israeli society dedicated to academic excellence and social responsibility.

Our 18,000 students represent the most pluralistic student body in Israel – Jews, Arabs, Druze, military officers and new immigrants from around the world including the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and South America - come together to study, research, socialise and share knowledge in an atmosphere of co-existence, tolerance and mutual respect.

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