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International webinar: COVID-19 Impacts and Takeaways for Policy and Planning

International COVID 27 10 21

Link to recording on YouTube:

Link to Facebook event:

Towards an Israeli Doctrine and Legislative-Regulative Framework Dealing with Emergencies - Prof. Eli Salzberger, University of Haifa

Learning from Others’ Disasters? A Comparative Study of SARS/MERS and COVID-19 Responses in Five Polities (Singapore, S. Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Israel) - Prof. Deborah Shmueli, University of Haifa

The Impact of Corona on Wellbeing - Prof. Eran Feitelson, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Simulating Covid-19 Contagion in Cities - Dr. Yair Grinberger, Prof. Daniel Felsenstein and Amir Kahal, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Discussant and facilitator - Dr. Alex Altshuler, Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology & School of Social Work, University of Haifa


Short CVs of the participants:


Dr. Alex Altshuler (PhD, MSW, MA) is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Social Work, University of Haifa. A scholar and civil servant in the areas of crisis leadership and emergency management, he focuses on psychosocial, organizational, strategic, and international aspects of emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction, among other topics.
Dr. Altshuler currently also serves as the Director of Social Sciences and Humanities at Israel’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology and has been privileged to serve as the Founding Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the National Knowledge and Research Center in Emergency Readiness. Alex joined the joined the Harvard University Program on Crisis Leadership as a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Fellow in August 2014; he has subsequently served as a Senior Fellow since September 2017. He also serves as the National Expert and a member of the UN advisory board (Science and Technology Advisory Group) in disaster risk reduction and a member of the International Science Council-UNDRR Expert Review Group (ERG) for the Development of a new Global Disaster Risk Reduction Research Agenda towards 2030 and beyond. In addition, he has volunteered with a number of organizations throughout his career. Among others, he has volunteered since 1998 and serves as a Board Member of SELAH – The Israel Crisis Management Center. From 2016-2018 Alex served as the Founding Director of Research and Development for the Israel National Emergency Management Authority.
Dr. Altshuler has been awarded over 20 academic prizes and fellowships, presented in over 50 academic conferences, and published over 40 academic papers.


Prof. Eli Salzberger was the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa and the President of the European Association for Law and Economics. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University Faculty of Law (1st in class). He clerked for Chief Justices Aharon Barak and Dorit Beinish. He wrote his doctorate at Oxford University on the economic analysis of the doctrine of separation of powers. His research and teaching areas are legal theory and philosophy, economic analysis of law, legal ethics, cyberspace and the Israeli Supreme Court. He has published more than 40 scientific articles. His latest book (co-authored with Niva Elkin-Koren) is The Law and Economics of Intellectual Property in the Digital Age: The Limits of Analysis (Routledge 2012), preceded by Law, Economic and Cyberspace (Edward Elgar 2004). He was a member of the board of directors of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, of the public council of the Israeli Democracy Institute and of a State commission for reform in performers’ rights in Israel. He was awarded various grants and fellowships, among them Rothschild, Minerva, GIF, ISF, Fulbright, ORS and British Council. Salzberger was a visiting professor at various universities including Princeton, University of Hamburg, Humboldt University, University of Torino, Miami Law School, University of St. Galen and UCLA. Currently he is the director of the Haifa Center for German and European Studies, the director of the Minerva Center for the Study of the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions and he is the co-director of the International Academy for Judges at the University of Haifa Faculty of Law.

Prof. Deborah Shmueli is a Full Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa, Head of the National Knowledge and Research Center for Emergency Readiness (awarded in 2018), and a co-Principal Investigator (PI) of the Minerva Center for Law and Extreme Conditions at the University of Haifa (awarded in 2013). After completing a four year term as Department Head, she is currently the Academic Head of the graduate program in Emergency and Disaster Management. The program covers six dimensions of disaster management: planning, prevention, mitigation, response, support and recovery. She is a planner specializing in environmental policy issues related to land use and allocation, water, solid waste and transportation. Strong foci are public sector and environmental conflict management and community and institutional capacity building and public engagement. She has served as a consultant for master plans in Israel (currently a member of the Strategic Planning team for Israel 100 – in year 2048), facilitated collaborative stakeholder processes, conducted conflict assessments and workshops on consensus building, conflict assessment and environmental/public sector conflict management. Over the last ten years she has worked intensively on land issues with Bedouin communities in the Negev, coauthored a book on the subject and served on a five-member Commission of Inquiry (appointed by the Israeli Ministry of Interior) into the desired municipal and spatial planning boundaries of the Bedouin communities in the Beer Sheva District. She currently serves as one of five permanent members of the Commission of Inquiry regarding Unification of Local Authorities, Changes in Areas of ​​Jurisdiction of Local Authorities and the Redistribution of Resources among Local Authorities in the Haifa Metropolitan Area (Haifa Metropolitan Area Permanent Geographic Boundary Committee, Ministry of Interior). She is PI for two research projects for the Ministry of Science and Technology which focus on earthquakes: Evaluating Israe's Regulatory Framework for Earthquake Preparedness and Response and Recovery, including Public Engagement Mechanisms (completed, two articles in review); and Tools and mechanisms for public engagement in local authorities with regard to earthquake preparedness, response and recovery (completed first year).

Her undergraduate and master’s degree are from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (1980) and her Doctorate degree from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology (1992).

Prof. Eran Feitelson is a Professor at the Department of Geography of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  He is the founder of the Advanced School for Environmental Studies.  He was previously head of the Federmann School for Public Policy and Government (2004-9) and chair of the Department of Geography (2003-4).  He holds an MA in geography and economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Ph.D from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University.  He has published over 100 articles in refereed journals and edited volumes on water policy issues, transport policy, environmental policy, and planning.  His research focused on trans-boundary water issues in the Israeli-Arab context, transport and environment policies and land and planning policies and politics.  Recently he has worked on the political and economic facets of large scale seawater desalination, on the definitions of water needs, on the formulation of policy packages, equity facets of transport, earthquake preparedness, and the politics of land and land use planning in Israel.  In the context of earthquake preparedness he led a team that advanced policy packages for residential retrofitting in areas where property values are low, and thus TAMA 38 does not apply.  Following this study he participated in a team that assessed earthquake preparedness in Israel.  Currently he is leading a team that is analyzing the suitability of the different retrofitting policy packages to different municipalities in Israel.  In addition to his academic work Eran Feitelson has participated in several national planning teams in Israel and has been a member of many national committees.  He is also the head of the National Parks and Nature Reserves Commission for the last three years, having chaired it for ten years (1999-2009).  He was a Visiting Senior Researcher at Center for Urban Policy and the Environment, Indiana University (1997/8), a non-resident Visiting Fellow at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas (2007-11) and a Visiting Professor in the School of Geography and Environment at the University of Oxford (2009-10).  Eran Feitelson has supervised the PhD dissertations of more than 20 students and the masters theses of some 30 students, on a wide variety of topics. These included vulnerability to climate changes, climate change adaptation, policy change, coastal management, land use planning and management and open space issues.

Dr. Yair Grinberger, is a lecturer in the Department of Geography,  the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His expertise lies in the field of geoinformatics, where he focuses on developing micro simulation models of urban spaces. In the last 10 years he focused on developing urban agent-based models which were used to simulate the recovery of urban spaces from shocks such as earthquakes and pandemics. These models allow tracing the long-term effects of disasters on various components of the urban system, e.g. population welfare and mobility, housing costs, and the employment market. The results of this work were published in 9 journal papers and book chapters. 


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