7 Israelis who Inspire Us

3 min read
Tamara Raynor-Cote
Tamara Raynor-Cote

Not every great leader was born with a perfectly pronounced CHET ‘ח or guttural AYIN ‘ע. These 7 inspirational Israelis took the leap, learned the language, and made history- maybe you can too!

1. Igor Magazinnik

We’re sure that at the age of 16 when Igor Magazinnik moved to Israel from Belorussia with his family he had no idea of what lay ahead. After working as a programmer for 3 years in the Israeli military, Igor founded Viber with his close friend and is now among the wealthiest startup owners in the country.

2. Shari Arison

Shari Arison, originally from the USA grew up in a bilingual home with an Israeli father. Arison has taken her personal mantra to “Do Good” and turned it into a powerful movement in Israel and across the world. Good Deeds Day, celebrated every March, has over a million participants active in over 100 countries.

3. Ruth Polachek

Ruth Polachek is the founder of She Codes, a community of women who’s initiative is to have an equal number of men and women in tech in Israel within the next ten years. Born to American parents, Ruth grew up in Rehovot and took advantage of both her bilingualism and her parents love of coding. Ruth leads through example and proves that success is just a matter of persistence.

4. Joanna Landau

Joanna Landau has made it her personal mission to connect millennials to Israel and help change the way people see Israel on the global stage. At the age of 5 Joanna immigrated with her family from the UK and knows better than most what a culture shock it can be. Her work with Vibe Israel, Tel Aviv University and Taglit-Birthright has made her one of the most influential women in the country.

5. Michael Oren

Michael Oren was born in the USA and emigrated to Israel in 1979 after years of active participation in the youth movement Habanom Dror. He changed his name from Bornstein to Oren, once he became a citizen of Israel and radically changed his life. Oren is the author of several novels, the former ambassador to the United States and a member of the current Knesset.

6. Wendy Singer

Wendy Singer left a life on capital hill for the white stones of Jerusalem and hasn’t looked back once. She is perhaps best known for her lengthy career with AIPAC and as the executive director of the Start Up Nation Central office. Her husband Saul Singer is the author of the immensely popular book, Start Up Nation.

7. David Grun

Might seem a bit obvious but we couldn’t resist putting David Grun aka David Ben Gurion on our list. Growing up in Plonsk, David spoke Polish before his father insisted he take Hebrew more seriously. In his teenage years David founded the movement which sought to revitalize Hebrew…and then you know he founded the state of Israel too.


Tamara Raynor-Cote is originally from Alberta, Canada, but she’s proud to call Tel Aviv home today. She studied Acting and Education for her first degree and Foreign Literature for her second. So, basically, Tamara’s a nerd and usually has a book on hand. She loves meeting new people, her cat Lev, and running on the beach.

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