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The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership Announces Inaugural Class of 20 Mayors to Participate in World-Class Executive Training Program

Center at Tel Aviv University will help mayors of cities across Israel improve services, strengthen social bonds, and foster relationships with mayors globally

Tel Aviv, Israel – The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership at Tel Aviv University today announced the first 20 mayors and municipal heads from across Israel that will participate in an intensive, yearlong executive education and training program. The program will equip them with the tools and skills to deliver better and more equitable public services to residents, strengthen social bonds between residents, and deepen ties to the global community of innovative city leaders. The curriculum will be delivered by the Coller School of Business and other Tel Aviv University faculty. The mayors will conclude the year with additional training and networking hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University in New York City and Boston, in the United States.

“Israel’s local authorities have a much greater impact on citizens’ lifestyles and quality of life than the central government,” said Professor Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University. “The quality of sanitation, transportation, welfare, education, and health services mostly depends on the local authority’s performance. This new program aims to improve the management of local authorities in Israel, thereby enhancing the quality of life of Israelis throughout the country.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Sagol Family launched The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership at Tel Aviv University in March 2022 as a major new effort to strengthen local leadership across Israel. Inspired by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, the new program aims to help mayors  – north and south, large and small, Jewish- and Arab-led – deliver better and more equitable public services to residents, strengthen social bonds between residents, and deepen ties to the global community of innovative city leaders.

“The Bloomberg-Sagol Center builds on all the work Bloomberg Philanthropies is doing to help local leaders around the world innovate, lead effectively, and share ideas for tackling complex problems,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th Mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg L.P. “This inaugural class brings together a dynamic group of mayors from across Israel. We’re looking forward to working with them, and to seeing the results in their cities and beyond.”

The inaugural class of 20 mayors includes:

Ran Konik, Mayor of Givatayim; Itzik Danino, Mayor of Ofakim; Samir Mahamid, Mayor of Umm al-Fahm; Rotem Yadlin, Head of the Gezer Regional Council; Liat Shochat, Mayor of Or Yehuda Municipality; Israel Gantz, Head of the Benjamin Regional Council; Israel Gal, Mayor of Kiryat Ono; Tzvika Brot, Mayor of Bat-Yam; Avraham Rubinstein, Mayor of Bnei Barak; Abed Elaziz Nasasara, Head of the Local Council of Kseifa; Israel Parosh, Mayor of Elad; Oshrat Gani Gonen, Head of the South Sharon Regional Council; Moshe Fadlon, Mayor of Herzliya; Shoshi Kahlon Kidor, Mayor of Kfar Yona; Niv Wiesel, Head of the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council; Moshe Koninski, Mayor of Karmiel; Rafik Halabi, head of the Dalit El-Karmel Local Council; Nissan Ben Hamo, Mayor of Arad; Shay Hajaj, Head of the Merhavim Regional Council; and, Yaala Maklis, Mayor of Yehud-Monoson.

“When I became aware of the Bloomberg Harvard City Initiative, I realized how suitable it can be for us in Israel, by creating a long-lasting impact on our cities and local leadership,” said Yossi Sagol, Chairman of Sagol Holdings Corporation. “Mayors serve as the first and most significant line of leadership for the citizens in Israel, and they manage the most important matters for its residents. Through learning and training at the Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership, we will be able to bring best in class skills and advanced doctrines from the business world to the local authorities and its leaders. By doing so, we aim to develop great local leaders, supporting bold public innovation, and creating more effective city halls. The partnership with my partner, Mike Bloomberg, is very exciting and will undoubtedly strengthen the leadership of the local authorities across Israel.”

In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies established the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, an unparalleled effort by Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and Harvard Business School (HBS) to build the leadership capabilities of mayors and their teams. By engaging 40 mayors and 80 senior city leaders each year, this program develops effective organizational practices in city halls around the world, invests in a new generation of city leaders, and advances knowledge and establishes the field of city leadership at large. The program has trained 196 mayors and 318 leaders from 25 countries in the past five years.

Yossi Sagol began working with Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2018 to develop an Israel-based program similar to the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative that could strengthen the country from the local level up. The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership is inspired by the success of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and is housed at Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management under the direction of Dean Moshe Zviran, the inaugural Faculty Director of the Israel City Leadership Initiative.

The State of Israel has about 260 cities and towns with mayors. The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership will invite applications to the executive training program and up to 20 mayors will be admitted each year. Selected mayors will also invite two key members of their team to go through the program.

The new program builds on six years of work by Bloomberg Philanthropies to strengthen city halls and support urban innovation in Israel. Innovation teams were funded in cities including Tel Aviv, Beer Sheba, and Jerusalem. The Tel Aviv innovation team created Digitaf, a digital platform that now serves more than 80% of the city’s children ages 3 and under by providing their parents with access to low-cost children’s services and activities. In addition, Bloomberg Philanthropies partnered with the Ministry of the Interior and the Peres Center for Peace to launch Hazira, a program focused on building the innovation and data skills within socio-economically challenged cities across the country.


About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter.

About Sagol Family Philanthropies:
Over the years, the Sagol family translated their philanthropic activities into a way of life, generously investing in promoting community & education while also fostering coexistence in the periphery, bringing together Jews, Arabs and Druze. The Sagol Family is a strong supporter of numerous cultural and educational organizations, including all Universities in Israel, the New Israeli Opera, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tel Aviv Museum the Bezalel Art Academy and many more. The Sagol Family established a ground-breaking activity aimed at making Israel an international hub for advanced research in life sciences and healthcare. Setting up the Sagol Neuroscience & Longevity Network, a network of schools & research centers in leading academic and medical institutions throughout Israel, promoting multidisciplinary projects, laboratories and technologies. The Sagol Network has recently been expanding internationally via collaborations with Ivy League Institutions such as the Sagol MIT-Weizmann Bridge program, The Sagol-Kandel Brain Longevity Program at Columbia University and the Sagol Center for Epigenetics of Metabolism and Aging setting a bridge between Monash university in Sydney and the Sourasky medical center in Tel Aviv.

About Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University (TAU) – Israel’s largest and most comprehensive institution of higher learning – is home to over 30,000 students studying in nine faculties and over 125 schools and departments across the spectrum of sciences, humanities, and the arts. Situated in Israel’s cultural, financial, and technological capital, TAU shares Tel Aviv’s unshakable spirit of openness and innovation – and boasts a campus life as dynamic and pluralistic as the metropolis itself. Tel Aviv the city and Tel Aviv the university are one and the same – a thriving Mediterranean center of diversity and discovery.

Media Contact:
Courtney Greenwald,