Brothers and Sisters for Israel (“Achim Baneshek”): A Conversation with Ronen Koehler


How does an organization change in an instant, shift its focus and mission in response to a new reality? One volunteer organization did just that. In this podcast, Ronen Koehler shares the ideas, skills and commitments that enabled his organization’s dramatic, consequential change.

The nonprofit, Brothers and Sisters for Israel (“Achim Baneshek” in Hebrew) was started by active and former IDF reservists and high-tech leaders who opposed their government’s plan for judicial reform, which would have altered the balance of power among the branches of government. They were joined by many thousands of Israelis who came out every week throughout most of 2023 to demonstrate peacefully against the reform.

Then October 7 happened. Hamas’ unprovoked, barbaric attack on peaceful Israeli villages and a music festival – when they raped, burned beheaded, murdered – and kidnapped people, more than 130 of whom are still in captivity today. October 7 changed everything.

Instantly, the organization shifted its focus and its mission from protest to rescue and assistance. Today Brothers and Sisters for Israel is the country’s largest civil aid organization.

Who are these remarkable volunteers? How did the organization change direction so quickly? And how does it see its future?

Related Topics

Your Host

Renee Garfinkel

Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at She's on Twitter @embracingwisdom. She blogs here.

View Profile