Photo by Keren Manor, Activestills
Attorney Sharon Abraham-Weiss
Attorney Sharon Abraham-Weiss took the helm of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) in May 2014. Sharon brings a wealth of experience to the job, including seven years as staff attorney at ACRI (2001-2008).
Sharon represented ACRI in many principle cases, among them dealing with land issues, socio-economic dignity, and worker's rights. Upon completion of her previous position at ACRI, Sharon founded and headed the Corporate Social Responsibility Clinic at the Academic Center of Law and Business. From 2009 to 2014, Sharon served as the Tel Aviv and Central Israel Region Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner.
Sharon was among the founders and a board member of “Itach-Maaki – Women lawyers for social justice” for seven years.
In 2020, she was featured in The Marker newspaper as number 47 out of the top 100 influencers in Israel. In May 2014 she was featured in the Ha’Aretz newspaper as one of 66 prominent women leaders in Israel, and in 2005, she was featured in The Marker as one of the top 10 most influential people working for social change in Israel.
Sharon holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Wexner fellow, an LL.M Magna Cum Laude from Tel Aviv University, and LL.B and B.Sc degrees from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Sharon is married to artist Yoav Weiss and they have 2 daughters. The family lives in Tel Aviv.
Attorney Dan Yakir
Chief Legal Counsel
Dan Yakir has been active in ACRI since 1982, and has been officially working as a lawyer at ACRI since 1989. From 1989-1995, he served as a lawyer in ACRI's legal department, and since 1995 has served as ACRI's chief legal counsel.
Over the years, Dan has led ACRI to unprecedented achievements in the promotion of human rights, in particular the right to equality, freedom of expression, human rights violations in the occupied territories and LGBTQI rights. The landmark cases and petitions in which Dan represented ACRI include the Kaadan case, cases against torture, marriage registration of gay couples married abroad, the cancellation of a British Mandate Press Ordinance, and more. He has received many awards for his work in advancing human rights, among them a special prize from Israel's LBGT Taskforce (2005), The Human Rights Defender prize from the New Israel Fund (2011), The Goldberg Prize from the Institute for International Education (IIE) in New York (2012), and the Yeshayahu Leibowitz Prize of Yesh Gvul (There's a Limit) (2018).
Dan has a LL.B. from the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University and an LL.M. from American University Washington College of Law, where he studied as part of the New Israel Fund's law program. During his secondary studies he worked as an intern at the ACLU of the District of Columbia and at the LGBTQ Project of the ACLU in New York.
Content and Website
Tal Dahan has worked at ACRI since 2001, first as the Information Center Coordinator, and, since 2006, as the head of content and the website. In her current position, Tal is responsible for producing Hebrew-language publications, responding to information requests, and developing and maintaining ACRI’s website. Tal holds a bachelor’s degree (Magna Cum Laude) in Psychology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a master's degree in Law Studies from Bar Ilan University.
Attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo
Director of Policy Advocacy
Attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo joined ACRI in 2006, overseeing ACRI’s policy advocacy work in the Knesset committees and before leading decision-makers and government officials. She received a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies with minors in Arabic and History from the Hebrew University, followed by an LL.B. from Tel Aviv University, as well as a master’s degree in Public Interest Law from Tel Aviv University. Debbie completed her legal internship in the law division of the Defense Ministry, and went on to work as an attorney in private practice in the field of commercial law for 8 years before joining ACRI in 2006.
Dr. Sam Kaplan
International Relations Senior Associate
Sam joined ACRI's International Relations Department in 2018 and is responsible for all international partnerships. He is a cultural anthropologist with a strong background in Middle East history and citizenship studies.
Upon completion of his PhD at the University of Chicago, Sam taught and conducted research at Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University. His publications center on the politics of knowledge and include the monograph The Pedagogical State: Education and the Politics of National Culture in post-1980 Turkey (Stanford University Press).
For the past eleven years, Sam has acquired extensive fundraising and donor relations experience, first at a leading UK charity and then more recently at an Israeli NGO that promotes human rights in relation to planning.
Director of International Relations
Maya joined ACRI the summer of 2018 as a New Israel Fund Social Justice Fellow in the Resource Development and International Relations department. Following the fellowship, Maya continued at ACRI as the strategic philanthropy associate and international spokesperson. In early 2021, she was promoted to direct the department. Previously, Maya worked at the West Coast branch of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy as a development associate.
Maya graduated from the University of Southern California with a double-major in Philosophy, Politics & Law and Creative Writing, and is currently completing her MA in Public Policy from Tel Aviv University. She is originally from Thousand Oaks, California.
Director of Resource Development in Israel
Smadar joined ACRI in January 2007 as the Director of Resource Development in Israel, founding ACRI's membership structure. In this position, she continues to coordinate efforts to identify and cultivate potential donors within Israeli society, and to develop a network of influential supporters. Smadar holds a bachelor’s degree in Humanities from Tel Aviv University. Before she joined ACRI, Smadar was a journalist and spokesperson for the cable television program company ICP.
Director - Education Department
Naomi Leads ACRI’s Human Rights Education Department. She holds a law degree from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and both her Master’s degree in Education and her Teaching Certificate in Civics and Social Sciences from Beit Berl College. She also has a certificate in educational organizational consulting.
Naomi worked for ACRI in 2013 as the coordinator for Education Against Racism, and in 2015 took on the role of Hebrew Education Coordinator. In this role, she guides workshops and training sessions, develops educational materials and content, and manages the education department's many facilitators. She is responsible for cooperation among and with universities and colleges for teacher trainings, as well as schools and organizations throughout the country that implement ACRI's materials and workshops.
Coordinator of International Humanitarian Law Project
Mesi joined ACRI in 2012 as the coordinator of Youth Education in ACRI’s Human Rights Education Department. As of 2015, she is the coordinator of ACRI’s International Humanitarian Law Education Project and the Education Department's online web portal.
Mesi possesses vast experience in informal education, including therapeutic intervention for children at risk. She has worked in the past at Yad-Rachel, an NGO that operates educational centers for at-risk children, and served as the Director of Education and Culture at the Aviv Home in the Beit Ekstein Children Village for persons with special needs (intellectual disabilities and autism).
Since 2004, Mesi has been writing for Yediot Negat, a newspaper for the Ethiopian community in Israel, and in 2005 she won the prestigious Elke Aynor Journalism Award.
She has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Tel Aviv University, and a BA in Communications, Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Haifa.
Secretary and Information Center Assistant
Sarit joined ACRI in 2004 as a secretary in the Jerusalem office. Today, Sarit also helps coordinate the information systems and press updates.
Before joining ACRI, Sarit managed an office in a dance school and was active in a nonprofit for persons with disabilities.
HR encompasses Payroll, Office Manager (Jerusalem)
Naama Yadgar joined ACRI in 2001 as the Jerusalem office secretary. Today she is the office and HR manager.
Before ACRI, Naama was the secretary at a rehabilitation organization for persons with mental health disabilities.