VIPs and Celebrities

Be’er-Shevan VIPs

Be’er-Sheva resident Eli Alaluf (b.1945-) is an active, life-long local-patriot and, since 2015, also a Knesset Member on behalf of the “Kulanu” (lit., all of us) Political Party. He brought to Be’er-Sheva and financed many large projects as the 17-year General Eli AlalufManager of the “Rashi Foundation.” From 1989-1992, he served as a member of the Be’er-Sheva City Council and currently serves as Chairman of the Knesset Labor and Welfare CommitteeIn 2011, Alaluf was awarded an Israel Prize for lifetime achievement and his contribution to Israeli society, as well as being granted honorary doctorates by both BGU and the Technion.

Be’er-Sheva resident Bella Alexandrov (b.1984-) was chosen to participate in the Obama Foundation’s Junior Leadership Program. She then went on to become the Bella Alexandrov - Eretzir (2)General Manager of the national “Eretzir” Association for 6 years (2013-2019).

Native-born Meir Babayoff (b.1950-) is the Chairman of the Negev Branch of  Meir Babayoffthe Histadrut – Israel Labor Union.

Ronen Bahar (b.1975-) was born and spent his youth in the Bet neighborhood in Be’er-Sheva. In 2002, he moved to Oslo, Norway and joined and became active in the Jewish community there, married a Norwegian Jewess, and had two daughters. In 2008, he became the first Israeli Chairman of the Norwegian Jewish Community. He said: “Be’er-Sheva is forever fondly imprinted on my soul.”

Aryeh Bar (b.1944-) is an avid local-patriot and has continued to reside with his family in Be’er-Sheva despite serving in a few major national-government positions–Aryeh Baras General Manager of the Israel Ministries of Transport; Construction & Housing; and the Interior. He has stated on several occasions that: “I truly love Be’er-Sheva and won’t leave it.”

Beershevan Solomon Bitton (b.1955-), served in the I.D.F. for 29 years until going blind, and then served as a volunteer with the I.D.F. Logistics Unit for another decade. He was granted a “Lifetime Service Award” by its Brigadier General Ronen Cohen. 

Tomer Biton - TreasurerIn 2016, accountant Tomer Bitton (b.1966-), the Be’er-Sheva Municipality‘s veteran treasurer, was elected (from among ca.256 Israeli city treasurers) to serve as the Chairman of the National Union of Municipal Treasurers (founded 1960s), voted “Treasurer of Treasurers.” In Aug. 2021, he was officially chosen to serve as the Executive Director of Local Government on behalf of the Israel Ministry of the Interior

Ruvik Danilovich (b.1971-) is Be’er-Sheva‘s first Be’er-Sheva-born mayor, elected to serve as the 8th mayor in 2008 and re-elected by a landslide in 2013. He’s the pimary author of a vision for a modern, Ruvik Danilovich - Mayoryet “green,” metropolitan Be’er-Sheva by 2030. In 2015, he was awarded the “Green Globus” for promoting a self-sustaining urban vision and initiating a longterm eco-transformation process for the “greening” of Be’er-ShevaIn 2017, the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev awarded him an honorary doctorate for ‘picking up Ben-Gurion’s gauntlet’ and his successful promotion of the rehabilitation, development and greening of the City, bringing it into the 21st century.

Amira Dotan (b.1947-) is an ex-Be’er-Sheva resident who spent 20 years in the city, where she got her higher education at BGU, married and raised her family. While serving in the Israeli military from 1965-1988, Dotan was the first women in the I.D.F. to reach the rank of Brigadier General. Afterwards, she held several Amira Dotanprestigious executive positions: Vice-President of BGU; member of the Board of Directors of the Israel Military Industries; and Board member of the Jewish Agency. She also served from 2006-2009 as a Knesset member on behalf of the “Qadimah” Party. 

Dalia Ehud (b.1949-) arrived from Tunisia to settle in Be’er-Sheva in 1967. She worked as a municipal social worker from 1971, always concerned with the welfare of the less fortunate. Ehud also served as the Southern Region Head of the Israel Social-Workers’ Dalia EhudUnion and as a President of “Re’em” – the umbrella organization for all the local voluntary organizations. From 2008-2013, Ehud sat on the Be’er-Sheva City Council handling the “PR, city branding & promotion portfolio” and sitting on a the committees for: ethics; voluntarism; & the status of children. 

Ofer Einy (b.1959- in Be’er-Sheva). In 1999, he was appointed head of the Government Workers’ Union and then, in 2004, head of its Professional Branch. From 2006-2014, heOfer Eyni became the Chairman of the Histadrut – Israel’s General Labor Union. Since 2014, Einy has served as the head of the Israel Soccer Union. Recently in 2017, he was appointed as President of the “Invo” Real-Estate Fund.

Sharon (Shawn) Evenhaim (b.1967) from Be’er-Sheva) has been serving as a self-appointed emissary and ombudsman for Israel in the U.S. for over 30 years, sitting on the Board of the Israeli-American Council, fighting the BDS, giving talks and organizing Jewish community action. 

Drora Gopas, who served for many years as the Principle of the prize-winning Amit Comprehensive (Religious) Girl’s School in Be’er-Sheva, was awarded the “Mark of Distinction in Education for 2021”  by the Israel Commission for Education 2030. 

Be’er-Sheva resident Amira Haim (b.1951-) was appointed interim General Manager of the Israel Ministry of Education for 2005-2006. As the GM of the Southern Region, she Amira Haimwas instrumental in promoting the “A Laptop Computer for Every Teacher in Israel” Project that began in 2006 and is still in progress.

Sapir Halamish (b.1994-, in Be’er-Sheva) is not only a ‘pink freak‘ and a connoisseur of celebratory wreaths for crowning the heads of honorees, but has her own design studio since 2015 and has become a stylist and costume designer for many media and stage celebrities in Israel.

Be’er-Sheva resident, Tsiporah Halfon is rightly known as the “Mother of all the I.D.F. soldiers in the South” for her many years of voluntarism with the Association for the Wellbeing of Israeli Soldiers.

Zipi Harpenes, has been the Principal of “Amit” Technological High School in Be’er-Sheva for over 8 years, and was invited to be a torch-bearer at the ceremony celebrating Israel’s 73rd Independence Day (May 2021), in gratitude for her excellent work as an educator, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upcoming Beershevan model, Shahar Hayun (b.2000-) landed modelling work in Dubai in December 2020.

As of 2018, BGU Professor of General History, Yitzhak Hen (b.1963-) is Yitzhak Hen - IIASserving as the Director of the Israel Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS, founded 1975, in Jerusalem). He previously published 7 academic books.

Neal Hendel (b. 1952 in N.Y.) is a certified lawyer and an observant Jew who settled in Be’er-Sheva in 1983. From 1988-1997, he served as a judge in the Be’er-Sheva Magistrate’s Court and from 1997-2009 asNeal_Hendel a judge on the Be’er-Sheva District Court. Then in 2009, he was appointed to sit on the Israel Supreme Court, where he is held in high esteem by his colleagues for his clear and well-founded decisions and moderation. 

Moshe Hogeg  (b.1982-, in Be’er-Sheva) is a high-tech entrepreneur who, at Moshe Hogeg - entrepreneurthe young are of 35, already owns about 35 companies and holds a portfolio consisting of more than 12 venture-capital funds worth over a billion U.S. dollars.

Hofit Klimovsky-Schatz (b.1990-, in Be’er-Sheva) was chosen in March 2021 to be the Managing-Director of the Al-Qassum Regional Council (consisting of 7 Negev settlements and a number of unrecognized Bedouin shanty-towns. She is the first woman to hold such a position in Arab-Israeli society. 

Dorel Ishai  (b.1992- in Be’er-Sheva) is a gifted & extraordinary young man who has managed, before the age of 30, to found a music co., to sit on the City Council, to be honored by the Municipality, and also to create & serve as the CEO of AnyApp Software Company (founded 2012-). In 2020, the international magazine Forbes chose Ishai to be among Israel’s top “Tech 30 under 30.”

Be’er-Sheva raised and educated Amir Lati (b.1974-) has been appointed in 2021 as Consul General to Hong Kong and Macao SAR.

Be’er-Sheva resident, Attorney Ofrah Levy (b.1969-), was appointed in Sept. 2021 to serve as the Director of the Economics Unit in the Office of the Israel State Attorney.  

“Mahsane ha-Shuk” Supermarket, owned by 2 local Beershevan families, Na’aman and Cohen, first opened in Be’er-Sheva in 1996 and, by 2021, has  become a huge chain of supermarkets, with 63 branches across Israel

Gabriel (Gaby) Maimon served on the Be’er-Sheva City Council from Gabi Maimon2003-2006; as the GM of the Israel Ministry for Industry, Employment & Commerce from 2006-2009; and GM of the Ministry of the Interior from 2009-2011. 

In December of 2021, Brigadier-General Orly Markman of Be’er-Sheva was appointed to serve as the President of the I.D.F. Court of Appeals. She will soon be awarded the military rank of General.

 Elimelekh Miller (b.1950-, in  ) was privileged to serve a Prime Minister Golda Meir‘s personal bodyguard from 1972-1975.

Moshe (Mokki) Ohana (b.1966-) from Be’er-Sheva, has been residing in Oslo, Norway for over 30 years, with his Jewish wife and family. He established and manages his own brand, “Mokki click & change” sunglasses for children; in 2020, his company was chosen for having one of the 10 most innovative products in the world by RedDot – baby Et children brand. He recalled: “One of the most beautiful and unforgettable periods in my life was my childhood in Be’er-Sheva.”

Moshe Oz - Alpha rifleMoshe Oz (b.1967-, in Be’er-Shevaserved in a an elite I.D.F. unit and went on to work in the field of military defence, founding a munitions-related factory in Kiryat Gat. In 2004, he first devised an improved design for the Kalashnikov attack rifle. Then, Oz produced the Israeli “Ofek 1” rifleIn 2016, his Israeli-made “Alpha” rifle was well received in the U.S. Currently, his factory exports ca.300 munitions-related items. He claims that Be’er-Sheva is forever in his soul.

In 2008, Oshri Paz-Tal (b.1978-) founded “Pri ha-Dimyon (lit., fruit of the imagination) in Be’er-Sheva, that provides stunning platters and arrangements of seasonal and exotic fruits that can be ordered for all manner of occasions. It also opened a branch in Rishon le-Tsiyon and makes deliveries across the entire country. Located at 149 Bialik St. ; tel. 08-6280111, website:

Moshe Ponte - judoMoshe Ponte (b.1956-) spent his entire childhood in Be’er-Sheva. He studied judo in the “Ne’urim” Club, coached by Morris Smadga. He also served as an Israeli Olympic judoka and trained bronze Olympic medalist Oren Smadga. From 1988-1996, he coached the Israeli Representative Judo Team. In 1996, together with Shani Hershko, he founded “Meitav”  an NPO to promote judo culture, opening many dojos and clubs across Israel & improving infrastructures. In 2012, Ponte became the Chairman of the Israel Judo Association.

Prof. Emeritus Bracha Rager-Zisman  (b.1938-) came to reside in Be’er-Sheva in 1989. She’s a well-known, award-winning immunovirologist, who did decades of advanced research at the BGU, Faculty of Health (1987-2012). She also served as: the Chief Scientist of the Israel Ministry of Health (1997-2002); the President of Israel’s Bracha RagerOrganization for Rehabilitation and Training (ORT, 2007-); and as a member of the Directorate of “Teva” Pharmaceuticals Industries (1996-1997) and of the Israel Council of Higher Education (MALAG, 2006-2012). 

Yitzhack (“Ijo”) Rager (1932-1997) was Be’er-Sheva‘s 5th mayor (1989-1997), who strove to transform and improve both the image of the city and its actual appearance in order to put it on the World map, and who accepted and absorbed tens of thousands of new immigrants from the world-over, thusijo-rager enlarging the residential population while enriching the city’s cultural assets, to spur growth and development. Rager promoted Be’er-Sheva by means of active PR work, initiating international cooperative projects with a number of Jewish communities abroad and foreign “twin” or “sister” cities, and getting financial support from the Israeli Government and from foreign donors.

Amir Rozenblit - spokesmanA Be’er-Sheva resident since 1965, journalist for the Davar newspaper (1982-1995), and Spokesman for BGU since 1995-, Amir Rozenblit (b.1954) is also serviing since 2016 as the Spokeman for the Israel Council of Journalists.

Marina Rozenberg-Koritny, who came from Kazakhstan in 1995 to reside in Be’er-Sheva, served as a member of the City Council and later as an Ambassador to Chile, has since 2015 also served as the World Zionist Organization‘s Head of Aliyah Promotion, for which she was honored in the US in 2020. 

Yasmin Sacks-Friedman, born in Be’er-Sheva (b.1973-) and served as a  member of the City Council (2018-2021) on behalf of the “Yesh Atid” (lit., there is a future) Party, then becoming the City’s first woman Knesset Member, as part of the “Shinuy” (lit., change) Coalition in the 24th Knesset, under Naftali Bennett & Ya’ir Lapid

Be’er-Sheva resident, Avi Sagi (b.1997-), as a firefighter and member of the Israel National Rescue Unit, was sent to Surfside in Miami, FL, to help locate and recover the bodies of those buried due to the sudden collapse of a high-rise residential building on June 24, 2021.

Nisim SasportasNisim Sasportas (b.1960-, from Be’er-Sheva) served from 2007-2016 as the CEO of “Kivunim”–that runs the city’s community centers and and all the municipal sports clubs and culture classes for children and adults. In 2016, he became the CEO of the Israel National Paralympic Committee and of the Israel Sports Association for the DisabledSasportas ensures thatIsrael Paralympics suitable paralympic delegates from Be’er-Sheva participate in the Israeli delegations to the international competitions. 

Be’er-Sheva-born Yosi Sheli (b.1957-) served as the General Manager of the Be’er-Sheva Municipality (1994-1997) and then as the GM of the Israel Postal Service (2002-2005).Yosi SheliHe sat on the Be’er-Sheva City Council (2008-2009). In 2017, he was appointed to serve as the Israeli Ambassador to Brazil.

Be’er-Sheva born Adi Yosef (b.1984-) was appointed in 2021 to serve as the Head of the Southern Branch of the Ministry of the Peripheries, the Negev and the Galilee.

Be’ershevan celebs

Be’ershevan performing mentalist Israel Boyom (b.1970-) has given mind-reading shows Israel Boyom - mentalistacross the globe and has published two Hebrew books entitled: This Is the Secret of Magic (2009) and Magic and Science (2016) – 052-6309595,

Beershevans Avraham Maimon (b.1954-) first started grinding and selling spices in his father’s small plant and shop in Be’er-Sheva after his I.D.F. service in 1975. Now, with the help of his son Lior (b.1981-), he prepares, packages & sells imported spices and baking aids from a chain of Maimon’s stores across Israel, oversees ca.120 employees, and provides about 45% of Israel’s spice market

Mor Maman - Miss Israel 2014Mor Maman (b.1995-, in Be’er-Sheva) was crowned “Miss Israel” in 2014 and started a modeling career. She is currently a partner in two cosmetics companies (“Mer d’or Paris” & “Ilanit Yarden“) and in an Israeli real-estate company. 

A creative native of Be’er-Sheva, Matan Shaked (b.1986-), has become an internationally acclaimed fashion designer. At the young age of 16, he already had a clothing store in Be’er-Sheva and now, at age 21, he was granted the honor of opening the prestigious galaMatan Shaked designs fashion week in New York City on Fifth Avenue with his haute-couture evening-wear collection “Desert Flower.” He designs dresses for internationally acclaimed singer Shiri Maimon and other famous models and celebrities.

Shai Shalom (b.1969-, Be’er-Sheva) is an another successful (though shy) ex-Be’er-Shevan elite fashion designer, recognized for his talent across Israel and in Europe and the U.S. Among his many special accomplishments, he has created collections for “BeautyShai Shalom City” in Tel Aviv and for the Chanel Gallery in Europe, and makes costumes for the internationally broadcast “Eurovision Song Contest.”

Itsik Shlomo (b.1969-, Be’er-Sheva) founded the first “Authenty – all the good things” – a fresh spices and dry-goods shop in 2001, and now successfully owns and manages a chain of over 100 shops across Israel – 1-700-555-806.

Author: etheleakatzenell

I came about 45 years ago from Philadelphia, PA (a city of American founding fathers) to Be'er-Sheva, Israel (the city of Abraham, the biblical Patriarch) and have never regretted that move. Be'er-Sheva is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. My four adult children and 5 grandchildren, all born here, still live and work happily in Be'er-Sheva. This is a place of endless opportunity and open horizons.

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