Yael Hess, a colonel in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reserves and a graduate of the Israel National Defense College, served in key positions in the IDF Education Corps for many years. She commanded the Shaare Avraham training base, which trains the educational staff of all IDF units; she headed the Education Corps’ Culture Branch; and she commanded the IDF’s education system, which includes high-school completion courses, matriculation studies, preparation for enlistment, and the IDF’s Gadna bases, where future conscripts participate in week-long preparatory programs. In her last position in the IDF, Yael headed the Education Division of the IDF Chief Education Officer’s headquarters. In this combined educational and managerial position, she was responsible for defining the IDF’s educational approach; implementing the IDF’s spirit and values; and overseeing the work of the educational staffs of all IDF units, and the work of IDF hasbara (information) units throughout the country. She was also responsible for cultural activities for soldiers and for Holocaust education and commemoration throughout the IDF. From 2000 to 2003, Yael served as a community emissary of the Jewish Agency to North America and taught Hebrew in the department of Middle Eastern studies of the University of Arizona and at the Tucson Hebrew Academy. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in national security studies from the University of Haifa. Yael is a graduate of the Mandel IDF Educational Leadership Program.
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