Since its inception over 75 years ago, more than 100,000 students have graduated from the Yeshivot and Ulpanot of Bnei Akiva and have left an indelible mark on the State of Israel.
Some 80 percent of YBA graduates have gone on to receive a higher education, gaining the skills and knowledge they need to make significant contributions to Israeli society.
Today, YBA's graduates hold prominent positions in a wide variety of fields, including government, academia, business, commerce, science, technology, industry, and the military. In fact, many of the country's leaders are YBA graduates, as you can see below.
Regardless of their positions, all are making a lasting impact on modern-day life in Israel, while remaining true to our ancient heritage. Together with their families, they are making the Jewish homeland a better place to live - now and in the future.
Some of Our Prominent Graduates
Minister of Education and Diapora Affairs, Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Yavne, Haifa
Maj. (Res.) Naftali Bennett was elected to the 19th Knesset as the head of the Habayit Hayehudi party. A former successful high tech entrepreneur, he served as the Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister's office.
MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Nachlat Yitzchak, Nechalim
Nissan Slomiansky previously served as an MK from the NRP from the 14th through the 17th Knesset, and in 2011 was appointed Vice President of the Lander Institute. He was the first secretary-general of Gush Emunim and founded the settlement Elkana, serving as its mayor for 21 years.
MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Netiv Meir, Jerusalem
Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan is a captain in the IDF reserves and holds a Master’s degree from the Hebrew University’s School of Public Policy Managers Program. In 1989, he was appointed as director of the Rabbinical Courts, where he led a revolution in the administration and organization of the entire Rabbinical Court system; he fought on behalf of Agunot, worked to make the divorce process more efficient and promoted the introduction of female advocates (To’enet Rabanit) into the Rabbinical Court System.
MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Nachlat Yitzchak, Nechalim
Uri Orbach (z"l) was an author, satirist, and journalist turned politician, who was elected to the Knesset in 2009. Before becoming a Member of Knesset, Uri co-hosted “The Last Word” radio show and also wrote weekly columns in the Yediyot Achronot and Nekuda newspapers commenting on current events. He was responsible for implementing primary elections in the Bayit Yehudi party and worked tirelessly to ensure that the various religious Zionist factions join forces and run together in the elections. He died tragically young at the age of 54.
MK Zvulun Kalfa (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Beit Yehuda, Kfar Maimon
Kvulun Kalfa held an active role in the struggle against the withdrawal from Sinai. He served as a member of the Gush Katif Regional Council and was one of the prominent public figures fighting against the expulsion. After the expulsion, he worked on rebuilding and rehabilitating the community in its new location, Chevel Lachish.
MK Avi Vertzman (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Ohel Moshe, Beer Sheva
Avi Vertzman served in the IDF as an infantry soldier in the Givati Brigade and recently completed his masters in Administration and Public Policy at Ben Gurion University. In 1993, he established the Beit Moriah Gar’in Torani, a center for Torah education that influences Beer Sheva and the surrounding area greatly. He formerly served as the CEO of “MiBreishit,” an organization that focuses on both formal and non-formal educational in Israel and around the Jewish world, and in 2008 became deputy mayor of Beer Sheva, holding the portfolio for Community, Welfare, and Social Services.
MK Maj. Gen. (Res.) Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Kfar Haroeh
Moti Yogev served as the commander of the "Malgan" commando unit of the Paratroopers Brigade and holds a master's degree in political science from Haifa University. He formerly served as the Secretary General of the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement in Israel, CEO of the Old City Jewish Quarter Development Authority and most recently, Deputy Mayor of the Binyamin Regional Council.
MK Yoni Chetboun (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Beit Yehuda, Kfar Maimon
Yoni Chetboun holds a BA degree in Strategic Studies from the IDC, Herzliya and is a decorated combat officer who helped to establish public bodies that provide legal counsel and support to IDF officers being pursued by anti-Zionist organizations. In 2010, he established and has since headed the "Ra'ananim" Movement, which works in the public sphere to bring together religious Zionist young adults to foster social change, and strengthen Israel's Jewish and Zionist identity.
MK Gilad Erdan (Likud), YBA Netiv Meir, Jerusalem
Gilad Erdan attained the rank of Captain during his military service in the IDF and holds a degree in Law from Bar-Ilan University. Becoming involved in politics, Erdan worked as an advisor to Prime Ministers Binyamin Netanyahu, and Ariel Sharon. He was first elected to the Knesset in 2003 and was appointed Minister of Environmental Protection in 2009.
Deputy Minister of Affairs Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), YBA Ulpanat Tel Aviv
Tzipi Hotovely completed her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at Bar-Ilan University. In 2006, she joined the panel of the political discussion program Moetzet HaHahamim (Council of the Wise), where she represented the right-wing on the panel, and started writing opinion pieces for the Maariv newspaper. When first elected at the age of 30 in 2009, she was the Knesset's youngest ever member. She is described as the "ideological voice" of the Likud Party, and serves as the head of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women.
MK Yisrael Katz, YBA Or Etzion
Yisrael Katz earned a BA and MA at the Hebrew University. He first entered the Knesset in November 1998 as a replacement for Ehud Olmert. He was appointed Minister of Agriculture in 2003 and Minister of Transportation in 2009.
MK Moshe Zalman Feiglin (Likud), YBA Or Etzion
Moshe Feiglin attained the rank of Captain in the IDF Combat Engineering Corps. He is the author of two Hebrew language books, and has a column in both the Ma'ariv and Makor Rishon daily newspapers, and the Brooklyn-based Jewish Press as well. He is the co-founder and president of the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction in the Likud party. Widely quoted in Israeli media, Feiglin is considered a controversial political hardliner with a unique political perspective that emphasizes policies that reflect Israel's Jewish identity.
MK Rabbi Shai Piron (Yesh Atid), YBA Aderet, Bat Yam
Raised in a non-observant family, Rabbi Shai Piron chose to enroll in YBA Aderet for high school and has gone on to become a leading rabbi and educator. In 1995 he became the head of UBA Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah, and under his leadership the school won every educational award possible. He co-founded and serves as a Rosh Yeshiva at the Hesder yeshiva in Petach Tikvah, and helped to establish the "Tzohar" rabbinic society which runs numerous projects to foster harmony between the religious and secular. He is presently serves as the rabbi of Oranit and the CEO of "Hakol L'Chinuch," an organization that works to improve state education.
MK Penina Tamnu–Shata (Yesh Atid), UBA Tzfira
Penina Tamnu-Shata is the first Ethiopian woman to be elected to the Knesset. She served in the IDF as a communications officer for the Home Front Command and earned a degree in Law from the Ono College. She became a journalist in 2006, eventually becoming the legal reporter for Channel 1 News. As a lawyer and a journalist, she has emerged as a leading advocate for the rights of Ethiopian Jews and assisting the underprivileged throughout Israel.
MK Maj. Gen. (Res.) Elazar Stern, YBA Netiv Meir
Elazar Stern enlisted the IDF in 1974 as a paratrooper, and rose to become the commander of the Paratroopers Brigade in 1991. He received a B.A. in Economics and Land of Israel Studies from Bar Ilan University and a MBA degree from Tel Aviv University and Northwestern University. As head of the IDF Human Resources from 2004 until his retirement from active service, Stern oversaw the program headed by Harav Drukman to convert non-Jewish IDF troops to Judaism. He has also led the integration of hesder soldiers into mainstream combat units.
MK Avraham Michaeli (Shas), YBA Nachlat Yitzchak, Nechalim
Avraham Michaeli made aliyah from in 1971 at the age of 14. He finished his IDF service with the rank of Lieutenant, and studied law at Bar-Ilan University, gaining an LLB in 1984 and worked as a private lawyer until being elected to the Knesset in 2006. He is considered one of the most prolific and conscientious legislators in the Knesset.
Major General Yaakov Amidror , YBA Netiv Meir
Yaakov Amidror was the first kipa-wearing officer in the IDF to reach the rank of General. After retiring from the army he served as the Director of Touro College, Israel before being appointed in March 2011 to the position of National Security Advisor by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Professor Yishai Beer , Yeshivat Netiv Meir
A former President of the Israeli Military Courts of Appeals with the rank of General in the IDF, Yishai Beer is currently a Professor of Law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Former MK Michael Ben-Ari , YBA Kfar Haroeh
Michael Ben Ari holds a PhD in Land of Israel Studies and represented the National Union Party in the 18th Knesset.
Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson, YBA Netiv Meir
Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson is a former Member of Knesset and presently serves as President of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Uri Bin-Noon , YBA Kfar Haroeh
Uri Bin Nun is an inventor, industrialist and former CEO of Dead Sea Works and the Israel Electric Corporation.
Joseph Cedar , YBA Netiv Meir
Highly acclaimed film director and screenwriter, Joseph Cedar has won several coveted awards for his films, including A Time of Favor, The Campfire, Beaufort, and Footnote.
Maj. General Yohanan Danino, YBA Or Etzion
Before being appointed as Israel's Chief of Police in May 2011, Yohanan Danino led the Unit of International Crime Investigations and commanded the Israel Police’s Southern Command.
Dudu Fisher, YBA Nachlat Yitzchak, Nechalim
World renowned cantor and performer Dudu Fisher credits his yeshiva education for his decision to refrain from performing on Shabbat during his tenure as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables on Broadway. He currently serves as Chief Cantor at the New York Synagogue.
Former MK Rabbi Dr. Daniel Hershkowitz, YBA Yavneh, Haifa
Elected in 2009 as head of the Habayit Hayehudi party, former MK Rabbi Dr. Daniel Hershkowitz served as Israel's Minister of Science and Technology in the 18th Knesset. He is also the Rabbi of Haifa's Ahuza Neighborhood and a Professor of Mathematics at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
Former MK Yaakov Katz, YBA Kfar Haroeh
Yaakov Dov “Ketzele” Katz is the Executive Director of Beit El Yeshiva Center Institutions and the Arutz Sheva media group. He served as a Member of Knesset from the National Union Party in the 18th Knesset.
Mayor Shimon Lankry, YBA Pirchei Aharon
Shimon Lankry serves as mayor of Akko, population 45,000, and is credited with leading a Jewish Zionist renaissance in the mixed population city that was formerly in danger of losing its Jewish majority.
Dr. Shulamit Levenberg, UBA Kfar Pines
Awarded the prestigious France-Israel Foundation Prize in 2008 for her pioneering work in Embryonic Stem Cell research, Dr. Shulamit Levenberg is ranked by Scientific American magazine as one of the world’s 50 most promising scientists. Dr. Levenberg is on the faculty of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
Professor Benny Mazuz, YBA Ohel Shlomo
Professor Benny Mazuz serves as Head of Cardiology at the Bikur Holim Hospital in Jerusalem.
Brig. Gen. Yair Naveh, YBA Netiv Meir
Yair Naveh retired from a long career in the IDF in 2008 to serve as CEO of CITIPASS, Jerusalem’s light rail system. He was called back to the IDF in 2011 to serve as Deputy Commander in Chief, the highest position ever achieved by a kipa-wearing officer.
Former MK Dr. Leah Ness, UBA Kfar Pines
Leah Ness-Arden was elected as is a MK from the Likud Party in 2009 and served as Israel's Deputy Minister of Pensioner Affairs.
Former MK Zevulun Orlev, YBA Nechalim
Zevulun Orlev is a decorated war hero who received the Medal of Distinguished Service in the Yom Kippur War. A veteran member of the Knesset for the Bayit Yehudi party (formerly NRP), Orlev formerly served as Israel's Minister of Welfare & Social Services.
Brig. Gen. Rabbi Rafi Peretz , YBA Netiv Meir
Rabbi Rafi Peretz is the Chief Chaplain of the IDF with the rank of Brigadier General. Prior to his appointment in 2011, Peretz served as a helicopter pilot in the IAF and in 1993 founded the Otzem Pre-Military Academy in Bnei Atzmona, which relocated to Yated following the evacuation of Gush Katif.
Shuli Rand, YBA Nechalim
Shuli Rand is an actor and singer who twice received the Ophir Award from the Israeli Film Academy, including for his performance in the critically acclaimed film "Ushpizin."
Rabbi Sharon Shalom, YBA Or Etzion
As a child, Sharon Shalom overcame great obstacles to immigrate to Israel from Ethiopia. He not only excelled in his studies at YBA, but became a role model to his fellow Ethiopian students. Today he serves at the rabbi of a non-Ethiopian congregation in Kiryat Gat.
Chief Justice Zvi Tal, YBA Kfar Haroeh
Zvi Tal has the unique distinction of being among the first graduates of the original Yeshivat Bnei Akiva at Kfar Haroeh. His distinguished career as a judge included sitting on the bench of the Adolph Eichmann trial and culminated as the Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court.
Rabbi David Stav , YBA Kfar Haroeh
In his formative years as a young rabbi, Rabbi David Stav taught at the women's seminary in Bar Ilan University and at the Yeshivat Hesder of YBA Or Etzion. In 1995 he co-founded and became chairman of the Tzohar, an rabbinic association dedicated to bridging the gap between secular and religious Israeli Jews, which today represents 800 religious Zionist rabbis in Israel. In 1998, he was appointed the rabbi of Shoham, and joined Rabbis Cherlow and Piron to cofound the Hesder Yeshiva in Petach Tikva.
Col. (Res.) Avi Friedman , YBA Netiv Meir
Colonel (Res.) Avi Friedman spent eight years of active service in the IDF's elite 'Shimshon' and 'Egoz' commando units; but as an artist, animator and illustrator of children's books, he spends most of his time these days making tiny dolls out of "plastalina" (FIMO). Avi transferred from the History Department at the Hebrew University to the Bezalel School of Arts and Design to pursue his love of animation as a career. His colorful characters playfully portray every sector of Israeli society. He has published three books of his own so far, including a Shabbat siddur and holiday machzor for children, and Abba Holech Lamiluim (Daddy's Going to the Army).
Avichai Sheli , YBA Beit Yehuda, Kfar Maimon
Avichai Sheli is legally blind and deaf, but for him, the sky is the limit. He is a former International Bible Quiz Champion (2001), has earned two master's degrees cum laude in Business Administration and Law from Bar Ilan University and works as an account manager and the "Psagot" Investment firm. Sheli also writes a regular financial column on an online news site and lectures regularly on economic issues to a variety of audiences.
Nili Ben-Gigi Wolf, UBA Yeshurun, Petach Tikvah
Nili Ben-Gigi Wolf credits the social integration she experienced in high school at UBA Yeshurun as a major influence on her world view and personality. Regarding her job as CEO of Israel Media Watch, Israel's leading independent media monitoring organization, she says, "not everyone is lucky enough to find work that is a mission as well. Of course, behind every success there is a ton of tedious, difficult work, but my job involves higher values, and for that I am very grateful.