Mar 8, 2021  By Deb Lust Zaluda  Category: Go North,

Helping Israeli women realize their business dreams

“JEWISH NATIONAL FUND — YOUR VOICE IN ISRAEL.” When I first heard that tagline, I thought, “Nobody speaks for me!” After all, I’m an accomplished attorney and businesswoman. Then it struck me: Jewish National Fund-USA gives me the opportunity to have a voice in Israel’s story, and this opportunity is what feeds my passion for Israel. And with this voice, I, along with countless other women, can truly make a difference for the land and people of Israel.

Israel was born out of passion, and the pioneering spirit that built the country continues to flourish today. In the workforce, particularly where women are involved, that passion is evident, enabling women to survive, strive, and thrive. Much like when I followed my passion and started an Israel travel company, Jewish National Fund-USA and its small business initiatives help women throughout Israel make their mark.

Paving the way are Jewish National Fund-USA affiliates Eretz Ir and Western Galilee Now (WGN), and the services provided by Jewish National Fund-USA’s Lauder Employment Center and its Small Business Association. Eretz Ir and WGN are led by two strong women, Tamar Gil Menachem and Michal Shiloah Galnoor, who work to bring not just opportunities, but the right opportunities to ensure women living in Israel’s frontier communities thrive. Based on the successful model of the Lauder Employment Center in Be’er Sheva, last fall, Jewish National Fund-USA opened a Lauder Employment Center in Akko, with the understanding that just like the south, lack of employment in the north is a barrier preventing greater economic development and prosperity. We realized that in order to attract new residents to the north, we need to bring employment opportunities, and Women for Israel gives me a voice to impart necessary and practical business experience to help women appreciate their business potential.

Dr. Shlomit Zamir is a great example of how this program works. Dr. Zamir, a materials engineer in Israel’s defense industry for 18 years, dedicated herself to developing another kind of material and a long-time hobby—chocolate. With help and guidance from Western Galilee Now, which acts as a chamber of commerce for small businesses in the Galilee, Dr. Zamir combined her hobby with creating a proper work environment for her brother, who lives with a disability, and others like him. In Dr. Zamir, we have a very successful woman in a traditionally male work environment who decided to follow her passion and heart and change direction.

Poli Gupailo, an engineering intern from Be'er Sheva, is an example of how the Lauder Employment Center’s programming leads to population retention in the south. After completing her internship program, Gupailo now works at the company she interned with and has helped the company grow to over 150 employees with two locations in Israel.

The successes of Dr. Zamir and Gupailo, buoyed by help from two Jewish National Fund-USA affiliates overseen by women, prove just how powerful of a movement we—women—can be when we band together to promote women in employment. Join me and Women for Israel, and make your voice heard so our sisters in Israel can realize their business ventures and dreams.

Deb Lust Zaluda is a member of Women for Israel and Makor, and Chair of the Go North West Task Force. To learn more about Women for Israel or to join, please contact Jessica Milstein, National Director of Women for Israel & Affinity Groups, at or 212.879.9305 x297.

This article was written in Jewish National Fund-USA’s 2021 Winter B’Yachad magazine. To read the full B’Yachad, please click here.