The Lauder Employment Center of the Negev was established in 2015 with the support of Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress. The LEC has become a focus in the Jewish National Fund’s Blueprint Negev economic development plan. The LEC is run as a partnership between Ben Gurion University of the Negev and Jewish National Fund – USA. In November 2020, JNF-USA and Ronald S. Lauder opened the Galilee LEC in Akko, hoping to replicate the center’s success in the north.
The LEC’s vision is that the Negev and the Galilee will offer opportunities for personal and professional development in the realm of employment and will be a magnet for young adults and families who will choose to establish their lives in these regions.


Partners of the LEC

Jewish National Fund – USA

The Jewish National Fund – USA is one of the largest philanthropic bodies in the Jewish world. JNF-USA’s strategic vision is to ensure a strong and prosperous future for the land and the people of Israel. JNF-USA has a wide range of activities aimed at strengthening the Negev and the Galilee: assisting people with special needs, promoting tourism, supporting the process of Jewish immigration, and establishing medical centers in places remote from hospitals, all in order to encourage people to build their lives in these locations. They believe that a strong Negev and Galilee are the key to a powerful and growing Israel. Within the framework of the Lauder Employment Center, JNF-USA created a coalition of Negev companies, employment organizations, and local authorities that strives to offer young adults in the Negev a greater chance at high quality jobs and to help connect young job seekers and employers. Thus, more young people will remain in the Negev at the end of their studies to build homes and establish families here. The Israeli grassroots non-profit, Eretz-Ir, was chosen to be the operating body of the Lauder Employment Center on behalf of JNF.

Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Ben Gurion University of the Negev is one of the leading research universities in Israel and the world. The university has a student population of around 20,000 as well as 4,000 faculty members. Some 135,000 university graduates hold important positions in the fields of research and development, industry, health, economics, society, culture, and education in Israel. The Center for Career Development at Ben Gurion University of the Negev was established with the aim of raising awareness in directing students and graduates of BGU to develop personal careers in a dynamic world of work and to help them integrate into the labor market with a particular emphasis on the Negev market. The Career Center assists students and alumni in finding employment that matches their skills through guidance and training in a variety of fields while emphasizing the realization of the personal and employment potential of students and university graduates.

Our Team

Avi Balashnikov

Chairman and CEO, Lauder Employment Center

Michal Grayevsky

Deputy Chairman, Lauder Employment Center

Tamar Gil Menachem

Associate Director, Lauder Employment Center

Pnina Avital

Operations Director, Lauder Employment Center

Megan Turner

JNF Liaison and Partnership Coordinator, Lauder Employment Center

Tal Vider

Digital Coordinator, Lauder Employment Center

Meital Duek Tzur

Director of the Ben Gurion University's Career Center

Nitzan Porat Gutvirtz

Career Counselor, Ben Gurion University's Career Center

Sivan Tayar

Negev Employment Coordinator, Ben Gurion University's Career Center

Jobran Altalalka

Career Counselor for the Arab Population, Ben Gurion University's Career Center

Oren Huberman

Employment Psychologist, Ben Gurion University's Career Center

Key Partners


Ronald Lauder, President of Lauder Employment Center

In the Negev, the Jewish youth shall be put to the test, in its pioneering strength, its vigor of spirit and its creative and conquering initiative…in the Negev the creative thinking skills and the scientific and research capability shall be tested.” (David Ben-Gurion, “The Significance of the Negev,” January 7, 1955)

It is in this spirit that we are currently establishing the Lauder Employment Center, a large-scale endeavor that is intended to assist in the development of the Negev and in the rapid advancement of the City of Be’er-Sheva. The opening of the Center constitutes an important milestone, which will provide high-quality, professional tools for professional guidance, employment solutions and job creation.

Currently, a large segment of university graduates do not remain in the Negev after the completion of their studies due to a lack of challenging jobs. I am convinced that this reality can be changed through an employment horizon and employment opportunities that we shall offer the graduates, in cooperation with industry and business leaders.

The establishment of the LEC is primarily designed to entice university and college graduates to continue to live in the Negev and the Galilee and to build their future here.

Located in the center of Be’er-Sheva, a vibrant and rapidly changing city, is Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a well-established academic institution that produces a new generation of scientists, engineers, researchers, physicists and a managerial cadre every year, from which will arise the future generation of leadership of the Negev and of the State of Israel.

I am convinced that the Israeli industry will be wise enough to utilize these brilliant minds for the benefit of the Israeli economy. In view of the competitive and changing global reality of the 21st century and in the spirit of entrepreneurship and the rapid development of the City of Be’er-Sheva, the transfer of knowledge-intensive industries to the Negev, the relocation of IDF units and bases to the Negev, along with the identification of the unique DNA of the graduates, are essential for the city to become, as promised, the “Opportunity Capital of Israel.”

The opening of the Lauder Employment Center is also a conceptual opening that will continue to develop into additional services over time, which will drive the Negev and the Galilee forward. My project partners and I are proud to be part of the national effort that expresses confidence and support in the City of Be’er Sheva and the entire Negev, where the true future of the State of Israel lies.

Yours truly,
Ronald Lauder


Prof. Daniel Haimovich, President of Ben Gurion University of the Negev 

Ben Gurion University of the Negev has etched onto its flag a commitment to social and environmental responsibility and works to advance the development of the Negev specifically, and the State of Israel overall. As a part of this perception, Ben Gurion University of the Negev is a proud partner of the Lauder Employment Center that was designed to help students and alumni to find employment and to ensure that they stay and build their lives in the Negev after their studies finish.

Opening this center was a welcome initiative, the fruit of Ronald Lauder’s vision, current president of the World Zionist Congress and the LEC and who served as the president of JNF-USA for many years. Mr. Lauder received an honorary doctoral degree from Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He is a generous friend and supporter of Be’er Sheva and the Negev.

I am full of hope that with the help of these important services that the center provides, more and more students and alumni of Ben Gurion University of the Negev will chose to build their lives in the Negev and will support the blossoming and prosperity of this region.




Dr. Sol Lizerbram

President of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) United States

The Ronald S. Lauder Employment Center is a joint venture of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Jewish National Fund. The Center will house the student support office for Ben-Gurion University alumni and students, providing individual career development and job opportunities. The Center will also provide assistance in promoting business development in the Negev. The Center will also offer solutions to potential employers by emphasizing the quality of the people who live in the Negev and connecting them.

Under the chairmanship of Ronald S. Lauder, the Center will also host international gatherings to promote business opportunities. We are proud that the Center will also house our JNF Negevision Authority offices. Under the leadership of Doron Almog and Ronald Lauder, we will work in partnership with all of the Mayors, leaders and our partners for population growth and jobs. Negevision is a proactive approach making connections and bringing opportunities and initiatives to the Negev on a coordinated basis. We will work with all the communities and organizations to leverage government money and to make sure we are utilizing our philanthropic investment in the best possible and powerful way, always focusing on our goal of bringing 500,000 people to the Negev.

Dr. Sol Lizerbram, President