Wexner Senior Leaders (WSL) participate in an executive program geared to getting us to use our positions in the Israeli government to innovate projects that will make Israel a better place to live.  We are high-level government civil servants working in ministries that don’t often collaborate to get things done, and therefore we call these projects XBC’s, or Cross Boundary Collaborations.  The formal part of the WSL Program lasts a year beginning with our first meeting — a creative day of final interviews that already gets us started in exploring areas where we have ideas that can contribute to improve the daily lives of Israelis — followed by institutes in Israel where we find teammates and refine our ideas, a four-week intensive executive seminar at the Harvard Kennedy School and then more meetings in Israel.  My class of 40 people, WSL 17, has already begun implementing some of our best XBC’s.

The idea for our project, “The Sanhedrin Trail”, was to produce a trail which would follow 70 kilometers of the historic Sanhedrin Trail, from Hush to Tiberias, in order to connect the community to its heritage and promote additional opportunities for education and tourism in the area. We wanted to promote this new educational trail through schools along the route, allowing students a real hands-on experience, participating in the archaeological excavations and also making and posting informational signs along the trail. We have succeeded in getting buy-in from government ministries as well as the local community and the Sanhedrin Trail is already a reality!

So far, almost 3,000 youth have already visited the project and have helped complete the Tiberias section of the trail. In October, we included a group of disabled military veterans who began the first actual trail marking in the section of the Usha ruins near Kiryat Ata.

On November 1st, excavations began to uncover a synagogue and in May 2018 there will be an official opening ceremony of the trail with the President of Israel.

We have succeeded in gaining project partners with many municipalities and local councils who have given their blessing and backing to the project: the Zvulun Council, Shfaram Municipality, the local council of Kochav Abu Al Hija and the Emek Hayarden Council. Additionally, the Director General of the Ministry of Education has agreed to partner with us on the project. The Ministry of Tourism expressed their willingness to become a partner — we are working out details of how they will promote and possibly help fund the trail — and The Ministry of Agriculture is also on board, both thanks to connections made through the Wexner network.

Dr. Kamil Sari, a member of the Wexner Senior Leaders (WSL 17), has worked at the Israel Antiquities Authority since 1993. Since July 2016 he has been the Director of the Northern Region. Prior to his current position, Kamil served as the Director of  Inspection, Research and Policy Conservation. Kamil has B.A degree in Archaeology and History from Haifa University and a PhD in Archaeology from the Maritime Civilizations Department of Haifa University.