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Ariel Karabelnicoff

University of Haifa nestled between the mountains and the sea

Former Winnipeger Ariel Karabelnicoff is the National Executive Director of Canadian Friends of Haifa University- an academic leader in National Security Studies, the Environment and the Sea, Education, Health and Welfare, Social Work and Nursing

by Rhonda Spivak, September 9, 2023


Ariel Karabelnicoff, who was born and raised in Argentina, is no stranger to Winnipeg, having lived here for 17 years, after living in Israel for many years. Karabelnicoff, who is now based in Toronto, took on a new role as National  Executive Director of Canadian Friends of  Haifa University about a year ago. As he told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, " I have made my life mission to be a bridge builder between Israel and Canada. Education is a paramount value for our people and higher education is key for social and economic mobility and for the development of Israel and our civilization as a whole. The University of Haifa is one of the most innovative and vibrant Universities in Israel, and I couldn’t think of a more inspiring way to fulfill my mission than by promoting this wonderful University, which is highly deserving of support."


As Karabelnicoff notes, “The University of Haifa is the largest comprehensive research institution of higher education in Northern Israel. The University’s mission is to expand academic opportunities for all members of society, promote social mobility and serve as an example of tolerance and coexistence in Israel. The University of Haifa’s inspires innovative solutions and ideas that address real world problems. The campus is academic home to almost 18,000 students and faculty members from different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Jews, Muslims, Druze, new immigrants, international students, IDF Officers and security personnel come together to study, research, socialize and share knowledge."


Karabelnicoff has big plans to turn Canadian Friends of Haifa University (CFHU) into a truly national organization and grow the awareness and support for University of Haifa across Canada. He was recently in Winnipeg in June along with the President of the University Prof. Ron Robin meeting one on one with potential donors to the University.


As he states, "Israel’s Ministry of Defense chose the University of Haifa to lead the prestigious Israel Defense Academy in a move that brings Israel’s three military colleges- The IDF National Defense College, The General Command & Staff College, and the Tactical Command Military Academy- under one roof for the first time. These three colleges form the vital backbone of the IDF’s elite training programs," Karabelnicoff indicates.


"IDF Chiefs of Staff Benny Gantz, Gabi Ashkenazi, Gadi Eizenkot, and Moshe "Bogie Ya'alon are all University of Haifa Alumni, as is the current Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant," Karabelnicoff adds, and says "The move to bring these three military colleges under the academic responsibility of a single university means that there will be consistency in the long-term academic qualifications of IDF officers, and enables them to receive an improved academic education, along with the military courseload that they take."


The importance of this cannot be underestimated. "This new multidisciplinary academic system is headed by Prof. Yossi Ben-Artzi, a former Rector of the University of Haifa, who is committed to maintaining the highest academic standards for all three of the military degree programs,” Karabelnicoff explains.


“As Israel’s leading academic think tank in the field of security studies, the University enrolls the largest number of Israeli military and security personnel. The courses offered in the Israel Defense Academy will be rigorous and will benefit from the University 's 25 years of experience in providing the widest range of security and diplomacy related research and academic programs,” he says.



Karabelnicoff emphasizes that The University of Haifa is also the academic home of the National Security Studies Center, whose graduate program prepares its students for managerial and senior positions in the IDF and other branches of the security forces (ie the Shabak/Shin Bet). As the  University of Haifa president, Prof. Ron Robin, notes  “The University’s success in the tender process positions us as the institution of higher education responsible for the academic training of the IDF’s elite officer corps for years to come. We are proud to open our doors to IDF forces and provide an academic home for members of the security services. These fine people workday and night to ensure the security of the State of Israel, and we will provide them with an unparalleled academic experience.” 


"Former Directors of the Israeli Internal Security Service (Shabak, Shin Bet) , Yuval Diskin, Nadav Argaman, Yoram Cohen and Carmi Gillon are alumnus of theUniversity  of Haifa,"  Karabelnicoff states.


Regarding the three IDF military colleges that  are under one roof, the IDF National Defense College enables high-ranking officers of the IDF and the intelligence community to study toward graduate degrees in Political Science and homeland security. Graduates of the program are regularly promoted into the higher echelons of Israel’s military command structure. The General Command &Staff College is the most  elite instructional institution existing ing in the IDF system and is used by all three military arms (navy, ground and air forces). The college includes general studies and lessons geared exclusively to each military arm’s specific requirements. Students receive an MA in Political Science with a specialization in Military and Defense Studies. The Tactical Command Military Academy provides training to company commanders from all land forces as well as from anti-aircraft and naval commando forces. They undertake to serve an additional two years after their studies.  All the students at the college serve for four or five years before being given the opportunity for academic study. They receive a BA in Multidisciplinary Studies with a major in Economics, Political Science, Communication and Education Studies.


According to Karabelnicoff, the University of Haifa is also "a leader and pioneer" in studying the Mediterranean Sea. "The Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences is the only graduate school of marine sciences in Israel and it has an important role in shaping policy, monitoring the marine environment, generating innovative research, and training Israel’s future marine scientists, biologists, and ecologists. The school has enabled a significant expansion of research activities at the departments of Marine Biology, Marine Geosciences, Marine Technologies and Marine Civilizations.The University of Haifa was chosen by the Israeli Government to lead the national Mediterranean Sea Research Center of Israel.”


The University of Haifa is also home  to Israel’s only Doctoral Studies Nursing Program, the Cheryl Spencer Department of Nursing , which is uniquely positioned to advance evidence-based teaching and learning through innovative curricula, cutting edge teaching methods and community involvement. The Translational Nursing Research complex at the Helmsley Health Discovery Tower, will integrate four laboratories: The Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Sleep and Chronobiology, The Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Mobility Research, The Computerized Nursing and Health Sciences Simulation Laboratory.  "The research will ultimately improve patient health care and set new standards for evidence-based nursing practices," Karabelnicoff says.


Additionally, Karabelnicoff indicates that "The School of Social Work is known to be the best in Israel as well as the Faculty of Education."


When he visited the University of Haifa, Karabelnicoff was impressed by the fact that the University " is not only in an Ivory Tower up in the Carmel Mountains, in the last few years new Campuses were built at Haifa’s Port area and the University is fully integrated and part of the vibrant life of the City of Haifa.


Karabelnicoff concludes, "It is a privilege for me to serve as National Executive Director of CFHU and  I feel I am doing important work. I am always inspired by, and draw strength  from my visits to Israel, where I meet Israel’s secret weapon, its people. In Israel we might argue and have deep  disagreements, but I have seen and met at the University of Haifa many vibrant, creative and extremely professional professors and teachers,  as well as  students that are eager and curious to learn and grow academically and as human beings. I truly believe that Univeristy of Haifa is  a an institutionn worthy of your support, next time you are in Israel, come to Haifa !


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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