Raz Esther Kones is the director of the Hevruta Gap-Year Program – a pre-military program for young people from Israel and North America.
For five years Kones worked at the Jewish-Arab organization “Roots” named after Rabbi Fruman, where she established and managed the organization’s youth and adult programs. The core of its work focused on promoting partnership between the nations, and aimed to bring together Israeli and Palestinian youth and adults who live by each other in the territories of Judea and Samaria, and to promote values of tolerance, understanding and non-violence. During her work at Roots, she completed a degree in Middle Eastern Islam and humanistic studies at the Shalem Academic Center.
Raz grew up and studied in the south of the country, in a religious-secular communal settlement near Beer Sheva. After completing her high school studies Olafana, she served for about 5 years in various positions as an intelligence officer in the IDF – and among other things, she took part in the process of establishing a new unit in Unit 8200. After completing her military service, she was a counsellor at the “Bnei Zion” pre-military preparatory school for two years. In the last year, she taught a course on behalf of The Forum for Regional Thinking at Paran Hatzava and Ein Yahav high schools on the topic of “The History of the Conflict”, and she also took part in studying organic agriculture and community life at Kibbutz Naut Smeder in Portugal. She currently lives in the Ein Kerem neighborhood in Jerusalem.