Michael Ben-EliPrior to founding The Lab, Dr. Michael Ben-Eli worked as an international management consultant, pioneering applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years, he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations. In recent years, he has focused primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development. He is author of the widely acclaimed Five Core Sustainability Principles, and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth to accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future. Dr. Ben Eli graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on research involving advanced structural systems, and issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.
Founder, The Sustainability Laboratory
Mohammed AlnabariDr. Mohammed Alnabari has been serving as the Mayor of Hura, one of the major Bedouin townships in Israel’s Negev desert, since 2004. Mohammed earned a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Ben-Gurion University, and brings with him extensive experience in the private sector, following a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry with a number of international pharmaceutical patents to his name. He represents a new brand of leadership in the Bedouin community and has been instrumental in developing close working relationships with various ministries of the Israeli government, private sector and civil society, introducing innovative new approaches for improving the lives of the Bedouin community in the Negev.
Mohammed is a founding member and co-chairman of Project Wadi Attir, in partnership with Dr. Michael Ben-Eli. He also serves as the chairman and founding member of Desert Stars, a nonprofit organization established to nurture a new generation of leadership within Bedouin society. He is a founding member and chairman of Alsanbel Social Enterprise for the Employment of Women, in partnership with local NGO AJEEC-NISPED and Mr. Itzik Zivan. He is married and has 6 children.
Mayor of Hura, Founding Member and Co-Chairman of the Board of Project Wadi Attir
Lina AlatawnaLina Alatawna is a Chemical Engineer who holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Shamoon College of Engineering. Lina joined Project Wadi Attir in February 2016 as Director of Operations, examining the structure and working methods of the organization to make it more effective. In 2018, Lina was appointed Director General of Project Wadi Attir.
Director General, Project Wadi Attir
Ghadir HaniGhadir Hani is a founding member of the Wadi Attir Cooperative, and serves as the project’s lead administrator. She is in charge of communications with the project’s many partners and stakeholders, and has taken on the formidable task of handling the large amounts of government paperwork associated with a project of this complexity. Ghadir is also working with NISPED, where she serves as the Coordinator of Women’s Economic Empowerment Projects.
Executive Secretary and Managing Director of the Dairy, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir
Ali AlhawashlaAli Alhawashla is regarded by the Bedouin community as a prominent expert on Negev medicinal plants and has devoted his life to studying their characteristics and usages. Ali also completed a training program in organic agriculture, and has been busy growing and preparing plants for transfer to the project site.
Director of Medicinal Plants, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir
Amran AmarniAmran Amarni received a BA in Environmental Science from the Institute for Democratic Education (IDE) at Simenar ha’Kibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv. During his studies there, he was chosen to represent the College at the Mofet Institute, a national inter-collegial center for the research and development of programs in teacher education and teaching in colleges. He received his MA in Environmental and Ecology Science at Tel Aviv University. He has also completed continuing education courses in Communications Network Management and Information Security Administration at the Technical College of Kfar Saba, as well as in Economics at Ben-Gurion University and at the College of Management in Rishon Letzion.
Amran has worked as a coordinator of educational programs at The Council for a Beautiful Israel and at Appleseeds Academy in Tel Aviv. He has also volunteered in numerous projects related to youth leadership of diverse backgrounds, such as the JITLI Peacemakers International Teen Leadership Institute, the Ecological Greenhouse of Coexistence at Kibbutz Ein Shemer, and the Messengers of Peace Scouts. In all of these projects, he developed training programs, guided groups of students and lead mediation sessions between students of different cultures. More recently, he has worked as a biology teacher at the Dar Alqalam High School in Rahat.
He lives with his wife in the village of Misr.
Director of the Visitor, Training and Education Center, Project Wadi Attir
Sabach Jabar Alatawnah (Um Atia)Um Atia, a mother of three from Hura, has been working at the dairy since its inception. She has professional training in cheese production, and has been making dairy products at home for much of her life. Um Atia is a hardworking and conscientious member of the team, and you can always taste the heart and soul she invests in all of her cheeses. She is thrilled to be working with the project, which she sees as a second home.
Dairy Operations, Project Wadi Attir
Nahid Abu SharebNahid joined the project as a bookkeeper in December 2015, responsible for keeping track of the project’s budget. She studied accounting at Etgar College in Beer Sheva in 2010, and received a certificate in Office Systems Management in 2012. She has done accounting for several food product companies, including a dairy, and she is excited to bring that experience to Project Wadi Attir. Nahid lives in Hura with her husband and five children.
Bookkeeper, Project Wadi Attir
Yunes NabariYunes Nabari is a founding member of the Wadi Attir Cooperative and serves as Project Manager. A father of six, Yunes comes from a lineage of traditional herders spanning many generations and relocated to the village of Hura over 15 years ago. Yunes, an innate entrepreneur, completed an intensive course in organic agriculture through the Ministry of Agriculture and has a bachelor’s degree in Public Management from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is one of the Negev Fellows for Society and the Environment, a member of the Negev Leaders Forum, and a member of the Joe Alon Center’s Ramon Strategic Thinking Forum. Yunes is a public representative on the Hura local council, and is a social activist and volunteer in several social-economic initiatives in the Bedouin community.
Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir
Mohammed AlnabariMohammed Alnabari is responsible for the maintenance of the entire site, especially the agricultural areas, including the planting limans and the irrigation system. He is also responsible for all the carpentry, metalwork and facility maintenance. Mohammed has been involved with the project since its early days. He sees it not only as a workplace, but as an integral part of his life. In the past, Mohammed worked as in maintenance for the Meytar Municipal Council and as an independent contractor in carpentry.
Site Maintenance, Project Wadi Attir
Mariam Abu RakayekMariam Abu Rakayek received a degree in Business Administration and Marketing in the UK and went on to successfully launch her own line of therapeutic skin care remedies, body care products, and supplements. She is one amongst a handful of Bedouin women entrepreneurs in the Negev, who are succeeding by virtue of their great courage and fortitude, despite an enormous number of cultural and economic obstacles.
Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir
Shahde Abu SbeitShahde Abu Sbeit is a graduate of the Tel Aviv-Yaffo Academic College and is certified in Education Management at the Kaye Academic College of Education. Shahde is a prominent Bedouin educator and former headmaster of the Mustakabal school – the school of the future – in the village of Abu Tiul. He recently retired after 35 years of educational leadership. Shahde, who has extensive background in raising sheep and goats, will oversee both the Educational Center and the Herding and Dairy Operation.
Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir
Naifa AlnabariNaifa Alnabari is a graduate of the David Yellin Academic College of Education in Jerusalem. After a 22-year career as a Hebrew teacher, Naifa joined as one of the first members of the Wadi Attir Project. For the last ten years, Naifa has served as head of the Council for the Advancement of Women in the Bedouin Sector and is active in community relations in the town of Hura. Naifa will coordinate the incorporation of women in the project’s various aspects.
Director of Women's Programming, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir
Aatef Abu AjajAatef Abu Ajaj serves as Director of Economic Empowerment Projects at the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (NISPED). He is responsible for developing the cooperative structure of Project Wadi Attir. Aatef has examined various options, approaches and modalities for organizing an effective collective and is interfacing with the consultants working on the economic feasibility. A prolific activist for the empowerment of the Bedouin of the Negev, Aatef was recently awarded a tuition grant from the project’s funds to enroll in the Executive Master in Public Policy program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is the first Bedouin from the Negev to have been accepted into this prestigious program, and he recently graduated with distinction.
CFO, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir
Ibrahim AlatrashIbrahim Alatrash is a traditional Bedouin sheepherder with a rich family history of herding dating back hundreds of years. Ibrahim dwells in a tent encampment in the unrecognized tribal settlement Al-Atrash, south of Beer Sheva, and is a leader of the Sheep Growers Association of the Unrecognized Villages. Ibrahim is an associate member of the Wadi Attir Cooperative.
Member of Herding Team, Founding Member of Project Wadi Attir
Dr. Stefan LeuStefan Leu is a staff scientist at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Sede Boker, and the founder of Leu-Sella Environmental Development. He received his PhD in Biochemistry at The Institutes of Chemistry in Berne, Switzerland. His current research interests include global warming, afforestation and sustainable biosphere management; sustainable dryland management and medical plants; cell and molecular biology and biotechnology of microalgae for high value products and biofuels; sustainable biofuels production; and sustainability analyses of complex integrated agro-biological production systems, agroforestry and permaculture. With Leu Sella Envrionmental Development, he explores resource conserving agriculture, biodiversity assessment and soil improvement. He has published numerous papers, among them ‘Desert Agriculture of the Negev Bedouin: Potential for Socio-Economic Development and Ecological Rehabilitation’ (Management of Environmental Quality, 2009). At Project Wadi Attir, he works on the Soil Enhancement and Beekeeping Initiative.
BGU Research Scientist, Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, Project Wadi Attir
Dr. Amit GrossDr. Amit Gross is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Hydrology and Microbiology at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (ZIWR), Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR) at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. His research interests include treatment and efficient use of marginal water, remediation techniques, and the environmental risks associated with contaminated water resources and sludge. His current academic activities include the use of greywater and wastewater for irrigation; the development of waste management practices for efficient reuse and minimization of environmental pollution; efficient use of saline water for aquaculture purposes; and treatment of aquaculture effluent in recirculated aquaculture systems. He is on the editorial board of Conference Papers in Agriculure and the Urban Water Journal, and is an Associate Editor of the Universal Journal of Microbiology and Biochemistry. He received his Bachelors at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with a major in Animal Sciences. He received his Masters and PhD at Auburn University, where he was part of the Agriculture Faculty.
BGU Research Scientist, Bio-Gas and Wastewater, Project Wadi Attir
Dr. Isaac MeirIsaac A. Meir holds B.Arch.T.Pl. and M.Sc. degrees from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He joined the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in 1986. He is an Associate Professor and has been Chair of the Desert Architecture and Urban Planning (DAUP) Department, and the Department of Man in the Desert (MID) from 2005-2010. He has published over a hundred papers, reports, chapters in books and collective volumes, and lectures extensively in Israel and abroad, including at the AASA, London, the School of Architecture of the Oxford Brookes University, the School of Architecture of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and the International Hellenic University. He participates in the design of environmentally conscious and experimental projects, including private and public buildings and clusters in the Israeli deserts. He also acts as a consultant to various institutions, among them the Israeli Ministries of Construction and Housing, Energy and Water, Israeli Land Administration, and the Standards Institute of Israel, where he heads multidisciplinary teams focusing on green technologies and sustainable development. Awards include the Sheba Award for Desert Architecture (1988) and for Excelling Scientist (2006), the Dori Award for Technology (1992), and the Emilio Ambasz Award for Green Architecture (2011). Research interests include sustainable design in arid zones, Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) and Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ), the microclimate of open spaces, and proactive contingency planning. In February of 2014, he was voted by an experts’ panel as one of the 100 Israelis influential in the country’s environmental policy (infrastructures and construction sector) for his research, outreach and educational activities, and involvement in promoting green sustainable architecture.
BGU Research Scientist, Green Building, Project Wadi Attir
Dr. Or YogevDr. Or Yogev is the founder and CEO of AugWind LTD. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). His thesis was awarded the Centennial Prize for Best Mechanical Engineering Thesis. After completing his PhD program, Dr. Yogev joined eSolar. At eSoalr, he gained vast experience in many aspects of solar thermal technology, serving initially as the Senior Research Scientist and finally as the Director of the Analysis Group. Dr Yogev has published four journal papers and has three patents under his name. He is currently working on applying the AugWind concept to the energy needs of Project Wadi Attir.
Founder and CEO of AugWind LTD, Solar and Wind Energy, Project Wadi Attir
Sharon Heffer-ChaikinSharon Heffer-Chaikin is a landscape architect. She graduated from the Technion Institute in Haifa, Israel in 1994.
She lives and works in the Negev. Her company deals with various public projects, including residential planning, educational projects and open space projects. Her work ranges from master planning to detailed planning, and includes vegetation programming.
She is currently designing the landscaping for Project Wadi Attir
Landscape Architect, Project Wadi Attir
Dr. Shlomo KimchieDr. Shlomo Kimchie is a consultant to Project Wadi Attir mainly in the fields of compostation and anaerobic digestion technologies. He studied for his doctorate degree in Environmental Engineering at the Technion, Haifa where he is now a senior lecturer on wastewater and solid waste treatment technologies. In the last 15 years, Dr. Kimchie has taught at Braude College for Engineering, Carmiel, on biological waste treatment technologies. He is also the R&D Manager of the TAEQ (Towns Association for Environmental Quality) in the Regional Environmental Unit of Beit Netofa, where numerous projects on solid waste recycling, wastewater treatment and renewable energy applications are currently being conducted. Parallel to his academic duties, Dr. Kimchie runs a private office for environmental technology consulting. Among his customers are AIES (Arava Institute for Environmental Studies), the Ministry of Energy and Water, and many other municipalities, regional councils, engineering companies, agricultural farms and industrial plants.
Environmental Engineer, Composting, Project Wadi Attir
Dani ColumbusDani Columbus has been a member of Kibbutz Hatzerim for many years, and has a wealth of experience in farm work and agricultural management. He holds a degree in agronomy from The Hebrew University in Rehovot, and worked many years at the irrigation company Netafim as a senior member of the engineering and design department, designing water supply and irrigation systems in Israel and abroad. As a member of the Wadi Attir Design Team, Dani designed the project’s water program and irrigation systems.
Netafim, Drip Irrigation System, Project Wadi Attir
Shai ZaudererShai Zauderer is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Shai has held managerial positions in graphic design firms and advertising agencies in both the USA and Israel. He also teaches courses in media and design strategies, most recently at Ben Gurion University. Over his career, Shai has accumulated practical experience in print, multimedia, video, packaging, branding, and internet disciplines.
Graphic Designer, Business Development Team, Project Wadi Attir
Menachem OfirMenachem Ofir studied practical architectural engineering and has been active professionally for over 25 years. He joined the Desert Architecture and Urban Planning (DAUP) Department, and the Department of Man in the Desert (MID) in 1999 and has been coordinating the technical and statutory processes of projects planned and designed by DAUP.
Green Building Team, Project Wadi Attir
Michal BarakMichal Barak studied practical architectural engineering (Beer Sheva College of Technology) and has been a member of the Desert Architecture and Urban Planning (DAUP) Department, and the Department of Man in the Desert (MID) since 1987. She has contributed to all design pilot and experimental projects of the Unit since then.
Green Building Team, Project Wadi Attir