Leadership Initiative for Israelis


Leadership development program for leaders
in Israel’s public sector.

The goal of the Wexner Israel Fellowship (תכנית העמיתים של קרן וקסנר) is to provide Israel’s next generation of public leaders with superlative training in public management and leadership development, thus enhancing the quality of democracy and the institutional vitality of Israel’s public sector.

Since 1989, The Wexner Foundation has been committed to the promotion of excellence and leadership in Israel’s public sectors.

The Fellowship is designed for mid-career leaders in Israel’s public sector.

Program Overview

Each year, up to 10 outstanding public sector directors and leaders from Israel work toward their Master in Public Administration degree at Harvard Kennedy School. These mid-career students – Wexner Israel Fellows – commit to returning to Israel and remaining in the public sector for at least three years after completing the program.

Upon completing the program, graduates join the Wexner Alumni community, where they continue to learn, develop and apply their newly acquired tools to even greater benefit for Israel’s society.

The Wexner Foundation seeks to promote diversity by actively encouraging public sector professionals from all walks of Israel’s society – men and women, Jews and non-Jews, residents of the periphery and those of central Israel, and more – to apply for this unique leadership program.

The Year At Harvard Kennedy School
The Wexner Israel Fellowship takes place at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership (CPL) with some 200 students from around the globe who take part in the MC-MPA. HKS attracts faculty on the cutting edge of their fields, houses 13 research centers and regularly hosts high profile speakers.

In addition to HKS coursework, participants take part in a robust co-curricular program grounded in servant leadership and experiential learning designed to deepen self-awareness, cross-cultural competence and social responsibility. Fellows also explore models of leadership and peoplehood in the American Jewish community. Wexner Fellows attend a weekly seminar and special events throughout the school year.

Additionally, Fellows will meet with senior U.S. government officials and become acquainted with the local Jewish and North American communities, from all shades of Judaism.

Download an informational brochure about the Wexner Israel Fellowship here.

“The Wexner Israel Fellowship is a gift that goes on giving… Experiencing the richness and depth of HKS training was just the beginning; spending some time and studying alongside colleagues from around the globe opened my eyes to a dimension of opportunities I had not expected. I can easily say that being a part of The Wexner Foundation and its programs definitely made me a better leader and a much deeper thinker.”

Director General, Alyn Hospital
Wexner Israel Fellowship, Class 20


Keren Zefania, Program Director
Sharon Zini, Program Coordinator


The Wexner Fellowship is open to applicants who:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree.
  • Will be 33-48 years old at the time of their departure for the program.
  • Have at least seven years of work experience, of which five or more were in the Israeli public sector in one or more of the following: civil service, local government, government authorities or agencies, governmental companies, security forces, hospitals and HMOs (Kupot Holim) and any registered NGO with a stated social agenda.
  • Can demonstrate proven success in a public management position, leadership skills and strong prospects of career advancement in the public service.

Diversity and Inclusion are a core value of The Wexner Foundation. We strive to select cohorts that represent the broadest possible representation within Israel’s civil service. All eligible applicants are encouraged to apply, irrespective of their religion, racial origin or gender.

The Wexner Foundation offers subsidized TOEFL/IELTS courses intended for under-represented communities and an application prep workshop intended for women and under represented communities. For further details please contact Keren Zefania.

Applicants to the Harvard Kennedy School are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language by passing the TOEFL exam with a grade of 100 or above or the IELTS exam with a grade of 7 or above. Applicants are advised to take the exam at the earliest date possible.

Application Process

Stage One: Eligibility Form

The Fellowship is designed for mid-career leaders in Israel’s public sector. If you think this fellowship is for you please fill in an Eligibility Form on the Wexner Foundation website once the application process is open.

Candidates are strongly encouraged to submit their Eligibility Form as early as possible to leave sufficient time to invest in the full application.

Stage Two: Application

Submitting an Application Form (AF) is the next step in the process and is only possible once you have filled in the Eligibility Form (EF) and have received an e-mail from The Wexner Foundation confirming your eligibility and permitting you to proceed to the application.

After you fill in the EF and if you meet the eligibility requirements, you will receive an email from The Wexner Foundation requesting to submit a full Application with the following documents:

  • One essay.
  • Three English written recommendations (must be submitted by the recommenders).
  • Transcripts, in English, from each academic institution mentioned in the Eligibility form.
  • Copy of the full HKS application form (alongside the WIF AF, candidates must also submit an application to the MC-MPA, which can be found on the Harvard Kennedy School website). For full information on HKS admission requirements, please click herePlease note that on the Harvard application form, selecting “I prefer not to say” on optional questions does not affect admission chances.
  • For further information on the HKS application forms, the English exams or on requesting TOEFL/IELTS exemptions, please contact Harvard. We recommend learning more about the Harvard application process in the Harvard University’s admissions blog.
  • Grade sheets of the TOEFL or IELTS exam. We strongly recommend registering to the TOEFL or IELTS as soon as possible to ensure that HKS and The Wexner Foundation receive your grade sheets on time.
  • Please note that you can retake the TOEFL/IELTS, therefore, please register well in advance so as to leave enough time to retake the exam if necessary.
  • Submit a letter of approval from your employer via email to the WIF Program Manager.

The deadline for submitting applications to the Wexner Israel Fellowship program is December 10, 2023, and to HKS MC-MPA - early December,2023.

Stage Three: Interviews

The Wexner Foundation invites suitable candidates who have been accepted to HKS to interview in front of the selection committee. The selection committee gathers each year in March. Interviews will be held both in Hebrew and in English, by two separate panels of the committee.

Applicants are requested to save the interview dates, as there will be no opportunity to interview at other times.

Key Dates

June 1, 2023

Registration for Class 35 opens

June 21, 2023

First Online information session.
Online information sessions are an opportunity for candidates to hear more about the program and ask questions about the process.

July 18, 2023

Second Online information session.
Online information sessions are an opportunity for candidates to hear more about the program and ask questions about the process.

August 10, 2023

Third Online information session.
Online information sessions are an opportunity for candidates to hear more about the program and ask questions about the process.

September 27, 2023

Deadline for submitting the Eligibility Form (EF)

December 1, 2023

Deadline for submission of HKS Application

December 10, 2023

Deadline for submission of TWF (The Wexner Foundation) Application

March 24-25, 2024

Finalists Interviews
Candidates/Fellows participation in the program is conditioned to taking part in this event.

March 2024

Announcement of Class 35 Fellows

April 7, 2024

Orientation day, Part 1 for Class 35 Fellows
Fellows’ participation in the program is mandatory.

May 29, 2024

Orientation day, Part 2 for Class 35 Fellows
Fellows’ participation in the program is mandatory.

July 2024

HKS Classes begin

“The Wexner Israel Fellowship is an important contribution for the future of Israel and its strength. I am proud to be an alumnus.”

Chairman, Israel Chemicals Limited (ICL); Former Military Secretary General to the Prime Minister
Wexner Israel Fellowship, Class 8

Scholarship Benefits

The WIF scholarship includes the following:

  • Full tuition for the HKS MC-MPA program.
  • Airfare to the U.S. and back to Israel, for applicant, spouse and each accompanying minor.
  • Medical insurance for the school year for applicant, spouse and any accompanying minor.
  • Living allowance (updated periodically.)
  • Partial financing of cargo shipment from Israel to the U.S. ahead of the school year.
  • Partial financing of text books.
  • Tuition for additional WIF programming throughout the year.
  • The Wexner Foundation does not cover any costs relating to visa applications and/or extensions.

For useful information on Harvard applications and financial matters:
Harvard International Office 
HKS-Applying for Financial Assistance

We recommend checking the cost of living in Cambridge, Massachusetts ahead of time, particularly if you are not entitled to paid leave by your employer, in which case we strongly recommend establishing additional financing resources for the year. The Wexner Foundation permits WIF Fellows to receive a living allowance from other sources, providing the allowance is not designated to cover tuition.

This information by no means constitutes any commitment on behalf of The Wexner Foundation to pay all or part of the tuition fees or any other expenses.

Applicants accepted to the Fellowship program will receive specific and final information on the scholarship, which will also appear in the agreement between The Wexner Foundation and the Fellow.


Upon graduating, the participants join the Foundations’ Alumni communities in Israel and the U.S. for further shared learning and significant activities for the public and society in Israel.

The Alumni community and senior leaders network include over 500 members, most of them serving in senior key positions in Israel’s public service: Director Generals of government ministries, senior officers in the IDF, judges, hospital directors, municipality and third sector NGO’s director generals, etc.

The Alumni community activities include annual institutes, networking and tutorial groups, Forums gatherings for peer consultation, summits with U.S. Alumni and work teams to promote professional cross-boundary collaborations, Adaptive Leadership workshops, Accelerator workshops and more.

Meet Our Alumni and Fellows

FREQUENTLY Asked Questions

When should I submit my eligibility form?

Candidates are strongly encouraged to submit their Eligibility Form (EF) as early as possible once the application process is open. This is important in order to leave enough time to work on your essays and complete your full Application Form. It is also recommended that candidates register for the TOEFL/ IELTS test as early as possible.

Can I submit the eligibility form without an actual TOEFL / IELTS score?

Yes, you can.

I’m not sure whether or not I should take the TOEFL / IELTS test. Whom should I ask?

Please contact the HKS admission’s office directly by email with your question. If you are exempt by Harvard from taking the TOEFL/IELTS tests, please let The Foundation know as soon as possible.

I’m a civil servant and I’m not sure if I have the five years of experience required by the civil service. Where and how do I find that out?

Please be in direct contact with the human resources department in your office regarding this question.

If I choose to re-apply to the program, can I use my earlier eligibility and / or application forms?

Candidates who re-apply will need to fill out the forms once again, though they may base their answers on the material they have already submitted to The Foundation. We require this because forms may change from year to year.

Can members of the same family apply for the program?

Members of the same family can apply for the Fellowship, however, the Fellowship is awarded to no more than one family member per current academic year.

Does IDF military service count for the seven years of experience required by the Foundation?

Only when referring to a professional military career. Mandatory service, including additional service as an officer (קבע ראשון לקצינים ו/או נגדים), will not be considered as experience in the public sector.