Protecting What Was.
Creating What Will Be.

Israel’s rich landscape and endearing history are under threat — treasured historical sites are being ravaged from the scourge of time, many almost impossible to access, while its unique wildlife has been pushed towards the brink of extinction.

These timeless entities need protection, and they need it now.

About the Roots Cause

The Roots Cause is an initiative of the Israel Nature & Heritage Foundation of America (INHFA); our mission is to restore, revivify and revitalize Israel’s natural and historical treasures. By raising funds for conservation efforts, preservation of ancient historical sites, and educational initiatives — we are creating positive and sustainable change in a region that truly needs it.

We work closely with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to protect Israel’s historical assets and save over 200 endangered species. We also strive to promote sustainable tourism as an important economic engine of the Israeli periphery, as well as create educational programs to benefit underprivileged populations.

When you become a member, you’re doing more than making a donation. Your membership makes you an active partner of our team, taking part in our mission to make a real and positive impact on the Israeli Landscape.

Together, we can do wonders.

Become a Member Today

Meet the Team

Our passionate team stems from a wide range of industries, all coming together in the belief in our mission and vision.

Taly Dery


Taly is INHFA’s Chairwoman as well as the founder and CEO of Global Impact Inc. — a platform that drives international expansion of innovative Israeli technologies in the Smart Building, Agri-tech, Bio-tech and Wellness industries.

Born and raised in Israel, Taly currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Taly is mother to 3 kids, a marathon runner, and a world traveler. She takes active roles serving on the committees of several other charitable organizations, participates in public speaking events, and serves as a foster family for the Humane Society.

Matan Sivek

Executive Director

Recognized for his leadership in Forbes ’30 Under 30′ list, Matan’s mission is to encourage people from around the world to connect with and contribute to Israel’s extraordinary historical and natural assets, thus taking part in our shared story and responsibility to create a better world for future generations.

Prior to serving as INHFA’s Executive Director, Matan promoted coexistence and equality in Israel as the Advisor on Minority Affairs to the Director General of the Ministry of Education. Social change was always intertwined in Matan’s professional path, working as the Advisor to the Director General of the Authority for Development of the Bedouin Society, volunteering in several non-profits and leading a social initiative to bridge social gaps through education.

He holds a B.A from the prestigious ‘Amirim’ Program for Humanities and Economics and an MBA, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Matan is an environment enthusiast, passionate about empowering people and communities, a dedicated yoga practitioner and serial language learner.

Matan Vilnai

President of the Foundation for the Preservation of Nature and Heritage in Israel

Matan Vilnai was born in 1944 in Jerusalem. He served as a career officer in the IDF, attaining the rank of Major-General. He has a B.A. in History from Tel Aviv University. In 1984, he became a fellow at the Center for International Affairs, at Harvard University, Boston; in 1998 he became a fellow at Johns Hopkins University, Washington D.C. Matan Vilnai is a member of the Labor Party.

Matan Vilnai had a distinguished military career serving in the IDF for 35 years and reached the rank of Major-General. During the Yom Kippur War, Matan Vilnai was commander of a task force in Sinai. In 1976 he was deputy commander of the Entebbe rescue mission. From 1978-1982 he was Chief Paratroop and Infantry Officer. In 1989 he was appointed OC Southern Command. From 1994-1997 Major General Matan Vilnai was Deputy Chief of the General Staff. On retiring from the IDF and until elected to the Knesset he was involved in economic affairs.

Elected to the Knesset in 1999, Matan Vilnai was appointed Minister of Science, Culture and Sport in August 1999, and served as Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Israeli Arab Affairs. As a Member of Knesset, he has served on the Foreign Affairs & Defense, Science & Technology, Constitution, Law & Justice, Ethics, and Foreign Workers Committees. 

Vilnai was reappointed Minister of Science, Culture and Sport in March 2001, serving until until October 2002, when he resigned from the government together with the other Labor ministers. Matan Vilnai was elected to the Knesset in January 2003.

In January 2005 he was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and in August 2005 Acting Minister of Science and Technology, and in November 2005, Minister of Science and Technology. He resigned his post at the end of November with the resignation of Labor from the government. 

Vilnai served as Deputy Minister of Defense from July 2007 until March 2009. In April 2009 he was reappointed Deputy Minister of Defense in the Netanyahu government. In January 2011 he was appointed Minister for Home Front Defense.

Vilnai resigned from the Knesset in February 2012 with his appointment as Israel Ambassador to China. He continued to serve as Minister for Home Front Defense until his departure for China in August 2012.

He is married and the father of three.

Rachel Haber

Board Secretary

Rachel is the Founder & Chief Planter of KnowingNature, a New-York based business that helps kids experience nature at home and in school through kid-friendly indoor gardening kits.

Prior to that, Rachel practiced corporate law for several years at a law firm in New York City. Rachel started her career working simultaneously at an Israeli-American nonprofit organization as well as in environmental regulations of wetlands and wildlife. 

Her work with INHFA brings her full circle by combining her passions for nature conservation and her cultural roots. Rachel was born & raised in New York City where she is also raising her 3 young kids.

Roie Galitz

Board Member

Keynote speaker Roie Galitz is one of the world’s top wildlife photographers who loves sharing his passion for the beauty of the natural world. He strives to take pictures that help raise environmental awareness, and recently gave a 90-minute talk at the United Nations headquarters, in addition to speaking at several global conferences.

In 2007, he founded his own school of photography in Israel, and to date, the Galitz School of Photography has over 26,000 graduates. He is also the editor-in-chief of the popular photography magazine Composition, and founded Phototeva, a company which organizes photographic expeditions to many amazing destinations around the world. He is also an ambassador for Gitzo, Lowepro, G-Technology, DJI and Greenpeace.

Malcolm Hoenlein

Board Member

Malcolm Hoenlein served as the CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations for 33 years, and now acts as the Executive Vice Chairman. Prior to that, Malcolm was the founding Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New York, and the founding Executive Director of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry.

Malcolm worked closely with numerous world leaders and Jewish communities in addition to serving as an advisor to public officials. Malcolm also appears regularly in prominent media outlets. Malcolm has received many awards including a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Yeshiva University and a Doctorate of Laws from Touro College. In addition, he earned the Quittman Award for Jewish Professional Excellence, the Defender of Jerusalem Award, and Jack D. Weiler Award for Jewish Communal Service. Malcolm also serves on the board of multiple companies, educational groups, and civic organizations. 

Malcolm received his B.A. in Political Science at Temple University and completed a masters at the University of Pennsylvania.

Doron Malka

Board Member

Doron Malka is the President and Founder of Ameba Marketing, Inc., a thriving and full-service marketing communications agency with a strong client base consisting of local, national and international organizations. 

Today, Ameba Marketing boasts a vast array of successful clientele in various industries including philanthropy, healthcare, life sciences, biotech and technology, as well as consumer products and professional service companies, with a wealth of award-winning campaigns to its credit.

Doron was born in Jerusalem, Israel where he acquired his first leadership role as a member of Israel’s paratrooper unit. After completing his BA in International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1991, he received his MBA from San Diego State University, and in 2014 received his Doctorate degree in Business Administration.

In 2017, Doron published his first book, BRANDcebo – The Powerful Placebo Effect of Brands and its Impact on Our Behavior and Performance. Doron lives in San Diego with his wife and four children.

Taryn J. Ponsky

Taryn J. Ponsky has been a practicing mental health counselor and art therapist for over 15 years. She works with children, adults, parents and couples in her private practice in Cleveland, Ohio. She received a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Counseling and Art Therapy from Ursuline College.

In addition, Taryn has specialized post-graduate training in child/adolescent psychoanalysis, and mind/body pain and symptom treatment. She helped found the non-profit organization, Medworks, which enlists thousands of volunteer medical professionals to provide free medical, dental, mental health and vision care to the underserved in Cleveland. She is also passionate about the environment, world cultures and the arts. She is an abstract and landscape painter and lives on a farm with her husband and two boys.

Eric Banks

Board Member

Eric Banks is the Founder and Co-CIO of Tolis Advisors. Prior to the formation of Tolis Advisors, Mr. Banks spent the majority of his career at Bear, Stearns & Co., dating from October 1996 through January 2006. Although his initial role at the firm was as a member of the database group, the majority of Mr. Banks tenure at the bank was spent originating and analyzing Structured Credit assets. Throughout this period, Mr. Banks’ functions included structuring, banking, research and trading. His final role at the investment bank was as Co-Head of CDO Trading. 

Mr. Banks received a B.A. in Economics with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Gila Aloni

Dr. Aloni is a multicultural published author, journalist, researcher and speaker. She brings with her a diverse background that includes working in private and public sectors in Europe, Israel and the United States.

Her innovative research and publications in the fields of women, gender, antiSemitism, rhetoric, myths, shifting from limiting to empowering beliefs are published in international acclaimed peer-reviewed journals and leading newspapers. Her first book was published in Paris in 2000, focusing on women, power and authority in the Middle Ages.

She has been invited to speak in over 30 thought provoking conferences in academic institutions in the Middle East, Europe and United States. Most recently (March 22, 2022), Forbes Magazine quoted Dr. Aloni’s perspective on innovation, technology and technology. She is an erudite scholar with 3  post-doctorates from NYU, Columbia University & Fordham University – in New York City.

Gila’s added value to the dialogue on Diversity is derived from her trilingual proficiency (French, Hebrew, English). Added to her language skills is also her ability to easily converse in Spanish, Arabic & Persian. These languages eased her direct communication on her trips to Iran, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Turkey, among other destinations for long periods of time.

As s specialist in Diversity and Inclusion, Gila implements Professor Jacques Derrida’s analysis method known as “deconstruction”.  She employs deconstructive analysis techniques, working toward constructing new perspectives in enhancing diversity and cross-cultural inclusion. Professor Jacques Derrida, the Algerian born French philosopher who worked with Dr. Gila Aloni wrote that she is one of the most brilliant minds he has ever met.