Consortium for Israel & the Asylum Seekers

The Consortium for Israel and the Asylum Seekers (CIAS) is a forum for representatives of organizations and individuals within and outside of Israel working to coordinate efforts and share information regarding the situation of asylum seekers in Israel.

© 2019 by CIAS  |  Terms of Use  |   Privacy Policy

Who We Are

Julie Fisher worked extensively in the field of education in Washington, DC, and Boston, following completion of her BA and MA, and receiving teaching certification from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After a decade in the classroom, she served as a curriculum director and  teacher supervisor, hiring and mentoring teachers, overseeing curricular programming, and leading a multi-year accreditation process. In addition, Julie was an educational consultant, curriculum specialist, and social media educator. Julie arrived in Tel Aviv with her husband, Daniel Shapiro, and their three children in the summer of 2011. In her role as the spouse of the US Ambassador, she engaged with educational, medical, and philanthropic institutions around Israel and supported the programming of the US Embassy in these areas. Julie was the president of Diplomatic Spouses of Israel, a group of over 250 spouses of diplomats from around the world that built cultural connections and engaged in charitable and volunteer projects throughout Israel. She took a personal interest in the safety and care of underprivileged children in childcare settings in South Tel Aviv and worked with NGOs and other partners to improve the conditions through fundraisers and hands-on repair projects. In 2018, she created the Consortium for Israel and the Asylum Seekers in order to bring attention to the issue of supporting the asylum seeking community in Israel and to facilitate the involvement of volunteers, donors, and communities in Israel and abroad.

Rachel Gutman is the managing director at the Consortium for Israel and the Asylum Seekers, an umbrella organization dedicated to coordinating efforts and raising awareness about the African asylum-seeking communities in Israel, and involving donors, volunteers, and communities in seeking an improvement to this issue. Raised in the U.S and Israel, Rachel studied English Literature and Anthropology at  the University of Pennsylvania, and went on to pursue a degree in teaching from the University of San Francisco.  She taught Social Studies and Language Arts in San Francisco public schools as well as at Upward Bound. She returned to Israel in 2002 and has worked in the sphere of freelance writing and fundraising. As a long-time volunteer with Mother's Make a Difference, a volunteer group distributing donations of new and used baby equipment and supplies to members of the asylum seeker community, she became familiar with the plight of this group. She served as director of partnerships and strategy at Unitaf, an organization dedicated to providing daycare and social services to the children of refugees and migrants in Tel-Aviv, and to empowering members of the community by providing pedagogical and business training as well as social support. Julie and Rachel met through Julie's volunteer leadership at Unitaf.  Rachel lives in Tel-Aviv with her husband and three daughters.