50 Influential Jews: Defenders of Israel - No. 37

Whether defending Israel in court or online, in security or through building bridges, these four veterans are dedicated to fight for the Jewish state in their own unique ways.

 Amir Avivi, Gidi Mark, Rabbi Ari Lamm, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. (photo credit: Courtesy, MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Amir Avivi, Gidi Mark, Rabbi Ari Lamm, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.
(photo credit: Courtesy, MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Israel faces challenges that demand new and innovative defenders in today’s complex world. Gone are the days when the assumption was that our voices would naturally be heard and justice would invariably prevail. 

No. 37 introduces four individuals who have dedicated their lives to defending Israel in their unique ways, whether in the courtroom, on social media (often considered the modern-day courthouse of public opinion), or through education, nurturing the leaders of tomorrow. 

No. 36: Doron Almog and Mark Wilf >>

No. 38: Asaf Kochan >>

Full list >>

Amir Avivi: A Veteran Defender of Israel

As the founder and chairman of the Israel Defense and Security Forum (IDSF), Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Amir Avivi brings together 16,000 reserve officers and operatives hailing from various branches of the Israeli security forces, committed to shaping the discourse surrounding Israel’s national security requirements and safeguarding the nation’s security within the heartland of the Jewish people. Avivi held critical roles in the IDF, including deputy comptroller of the security forces, Aide de camp of the Chief of General Staff, and deputy commander of the Gaza Division. 

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner: A Legal Warrior

At the forefront of the legal battle against Israel’s enemies stands Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, an Israeli activist attorney who has taken her fight to courts worldwide. 

Darshan-Leitner’s activism extended to a campaign targeting terrorists using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, where they incite violence against Jews and promote terror attacks. She has lodged war crimes complaints against Hamas and PLO leaders in the International Criminal Court and prosecuted numerous lawsuits against the BDS movement. One significant triumph was her victory against Airbnb for delisting Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria from its platform.

Rabbi Ari Lamm: A Digital Advocate for Jewish Ideas

At the helm of the historic organization Bnai Zion (BZ), Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm has become the premier Jewish innovator in the media and entertainment space, reaching massive Gen Z and Millennial audiences with content that supports the Jewish people and Israel.

BZ, and its studio SoulShop, recently launched the “Walking the Word” series, which follows a family of major TikTok influencers as they explored Israel together – from its biblical history to the modern state. These influencers, reaching 40 million predominantly young followers across channels, are poised to bring Israel’s story to an entirely new generation. And the series’ success led to the development of new projects that will feature mega-influencers like Noah Schnacky,  Allie Schnacky, Kristin Marino, Austin Armstrong and Colby Schnacky.

Just several months prior, BZ’s studio was nominated for a Webby Award – going up against projects by Adidas and NASA – for its production of the groundbreaking educational series about the Holocaust, “How To: Never Forget,” with TikTok and Instagram influencer Montana Tucker, which reached tens of millions of young people across digital media alone.

His popular Twitter threads on “Why Read The Bible In Hebrew?” consistently go viral, while his podcast, Good Faith Effort, features leading cultural luminaries discussing the influence of the Hebrew Bible.

But perhaps just as impressive as what Lamm has built, is the speed at which he’s built it. BZ’s content in the last year alone, their first full year operational in the media landscape, garnered over 150 million views across channels. There’s no bigger or more important player in the Israel-focused media and entertainment space. And young audiences both within the Jewish community and well beyond – to say nothing of Hollywood bigwigs and A-list influencer talent – are taking notice.

Gidi Mark: Building Bridges

Gidi Mark has been the International CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel since 2008. The organization connects young Jewish adults to their heritage through trips to Israel and mid-term immersive programs. The organization connects young Jewish adults to their heritage through trips to Israel. Studies have shown its profound impact on the Jewish world. Before coming to Birthright, Mark served in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in various capacities across the globe.