2021 Honorary Degree Recipients



Haim Be’er, Israel

​Israeli writer Haim Be’er was born in Jerusalem in 1945 to an Orthodox Jewish family. After completing his mandatory army service, he became a copy editor for the daily newspaper Davar and later became a highly acclaimed contributor who wrote hundreds of articles, mainly on books and writers, the old Yishuv and Ultra-Orthodox society. In 1966, Be’er joined the Am Oved Publishing House in Tel Aviv, rising from proofreader to member of the editorial board. Since 1979, Be’er has penned eight novels alongside works of poetry and non-fiction. He has received numerous accolades for his works, among them the Prime Minister's Prize (twice), Bialik Prize, Brenner Prize and Agnon Prize. From 2000 until his retirement in 2012, he taught Hebrew literature and creative writing at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev as Professor Emeritus. Since then, he has been a member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language.



Hanina Brandes, Israel

A founding partner of Naschitz, Brandes, Amir & Co., Hanina Brandes heads the firm’s corporate law and high-tech practice. He initiated the firm’s involvement in the high-tech sphere many years prior to it becoming the central pillar of Israel’s economy. Among his clients are some of Israel’s leading public and private companies, alongside diverse government agencies. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the International Bar Association, and former Chair of the Israel Bar Association’s high-tech committee. From 1999 to 2008, the maximum period allowed by law, Brandes served on the Mergers and Acquisitions Exemptions Committee established following Israel’s Restrictive Trade Practices Law. Brandes is a Tel Aviv University Governor, and a member of the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. 




Shafrira ‘Shafi’ Goldwasser, USA/Israel


American-Israeli computer scientist Prof. Shafi Goldwasser holds several academic appointments. She is the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, where she co-leads the Cryptography and Information Security Group; a professor of computer science and applied mathematics at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel; and Director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing and the C. Lester Hogan Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, both at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also co-founder and chief scientist of Duality Technologies. Prof. Goldwasser gained her BSc in mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University, and her master’s and PhD in electrical engineering & computer science at UC Berkeley. She has garnered numerous accolades for her research, including twice receiving the Turing Award and the Gödel Prize.




Susan and Henry Samueli, USA

Susan Samueli was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her B.A. degree in Mathematics from UC Berkeley in 1972. From 1972 to 1985 she was with IBM Corporation, where she worked initially as a software programmer in the Federal Systems Division, Westlake Village, CA, and then as a Systems Engineer in the National Marketing Division, Los Angeles, CA, providing technical marketing and sales support for IBM's mid-range computer systems. In 1985 she left IBM and focused her energy on raising her children, at which time she developed a keen interest in integrative health care, studying in the areas of nutrition, homeopathy and Chinese herbs. Susan subsequently received a Ph.D. degree in nutrition from the American Holistic College of Nutrition in 1993 and a diploma in Homeopathy from the British Institute of Homeopathy in 1994.


Henry Samueli was born in Buffalo, NY and grew up in Los Angeles, CA. He earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from UCLA in 1975, 1976 and 1980, respectively.  From 1980 to 1985 he was employed in various engineering and management positions in the Electronics and Technology Division of TRW, Inc., Redondo Beach, CA, a military communications defense contractor now part of Northrop-Grumman. Since 1985 he has been a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UCLA, and since 2003 he has also served as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at UC Irvine. In 1991 he co-founded Broadcom Corporation, a global leader in providing semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. Henry took a leave of absence from UCLA in 1995 and joined Broadcom full-time as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). In 2016 Broadcom was acquired by Avago Technologies Limited and renamed Broadcom Inc. Henry retired as CTO of Broadcom in 2018 and now serves as Chairman of the Board of Broadcom Inc. In 2019 Broadcom had revenues of $22 Billion and employed over 20,000 people.




Hanna Zohar, Israel

​A lifelong volunteer, Hanna Zohar is the founder and former director of Kav LaOved (“Workers’ Hotline”), a non-profit organization that protects the rights of the most disenfranchised workers in Israel through personal assistance, advocacy and outreach. After experiencing wage discrimination herself, she decided to establish the Hotline in 1991 to combat labor injustices, funding its activities from her salary as a typist. The Workers’ Hotline combats the exploitation of workers and the denial of basic rights by their employers, offering victims representation vis-a-vis authorities such as immigration, the police and others. To date, the Hotline has aided thousands of employees in need and fought for their equal rights in court. Ms. Zohar has been recognized for her endeavors with diverse awards, including the New Israel Fund Human Rights Award. 





Gesher Theater, Israel

​After making Aliyah from Moscow in pursuit of artistic freedom, Yevgeny Arye, together with a group of Russian actors, founded Gesher Theater in 1991. Since then, under Arye’s masterful leadership as Artistic Director, Gesher has secured a prominent place in Israel’s cultural scene. It has produced over 60 productions, receiving diverse awards and being hailed as one of the world’s best theaters. Gesher, which means “bridge” in Hebrew, refers to the bridging between the diverse cultures and languages present in Israel, including Russian, Amharic and Yiddish, and Gesher performances are always accompanied by subtitles in many languages. The troupe’s unique theatrical language combines Russian stage tradition with an original, Israeli approach. Today, Gesher sees its sole task as presenting Jewish Israeli cultural heritage to the world.




Joseph Bar Natan, Israel

​Joseph Bar Natan is the founder, owner and CEO of Shuval Insurance Agency Ltd. Bar Natan has served in a diverse range of public leadership and voluntary roles over the years, including in medical centers, the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization, and bodies supporting victims of trauma and sexual abuse, at-risk youth and many others. A Tel Aviv University Governor and board member of the Tel Aviv Foundation, Bar Natan currently serves as President of the Union of Boukharian Jews, which works to preserve Bucharian heritage and culture, provides vital assistance to disadvantaged individuals, awards scholarships to talented youngsters and runs social and cultural activities. A committed philanthropist, Bar Natan supports thousands of needy individuals in Tel Aviv, including via a scholarship fund to encourage youngsters of disadvantaged families to pursue higher education. Against this backdrop, the Tel Aviv Municipality granted him a special distinguished citizen award.


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