RAND Launches Israel Program, Names Amir Levi First Israel Fellow

For Release

March 12, 2018

The RAND Corporation is launching an Israel Program, following years of research helping decisionmakers in Israel make informed policy choices. The program will include research on priority policy questions, a residency at RAND by a renowned Israel Fellow, and outreach efforts and programming.

Amir Levi, who served as director of the Budgets Department in Israel's Ministry of Finance from 2013 to 2017, has been named the first Israel Fellow at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. Levi will collaborate with RAND researchers to develop a strategy to assist Israeli efforts to promote the integration of Israeli Arabs into society.

Shira Efron, policy researcher and special advisor on Israel with RAND's Center for Middle East Public Policy, will oversee Levi's fellowship and work with him on the project. Many RAND researchers, working in fields such as education, labor, urbanization and infrastructure, also will support the initiative.

“We are delighted to have someone with Amir's expertise and insight join us to focus on this important public policy issue facing Israel - the integration of Israeli Arabs into society,” said Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at RAND. “The fellowship will expand RAND's already robust research on Israel and continue to increase the impact of our work in the country.”

In 2015, the Israeli government approved Resolution 922 - an unprecedented five-year, multibillion-dollar plan intended to support economic development and narrow the socioeconomic gaps between Jewish and Arab localities. Arab households are over-represented in the lowest socio-economic categories, with high unemployment especially among Arab women.

As head of the Budgets Department in the Ministry of Finance, Levi was the key architect of Resolution 922. He previously served in a number of key positions at the ministry from 1996 to 2006, including deputy budget supervisor, communication and tourism coordinator, and industry referant responsible for the budget of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Between 2006 and 2013, Levi was the CEO of Shikun & Binui Renewable Energy, a company that constructs and operates power stations, particularly solar, in Israel and other countries.

“I am looking forward to working with RAND to think beyond Resolution 922 and craft a long-term strategy for integration of minorities and disadvantaged populations in Israel, which would benefit the country as a whole,” Levi said.

The Fellow position was created within RAND's Center for Middle East Public Policy with support from the Diane P. & Guilford Glazer Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. Levi will be a visiting fellow at RAND through 2018.

Additional support for the Israel Program has been provided by The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, the Hochberg Family Foundation, and Deborah Goodman Davis and Gerald Davis.

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