Judith Yovel Recanati, NATAL’s co-Founder and Chairperson, is a social activist who has devoted her life to strengthening and empowering Israeli society.

Born in Tel Aviv and educated at the Herzylia Gymnasia, Judith was an active leader within the Israel Scouts movement, and served as a nursing officer within the Women’s Corps of the Israel Defense Forces. At the end of her military service, Judith studied psychology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During the Yom Kippur war she returned to the army and was placed in charge of caring for hospitalized and injured soldiers. In 1974 she married Israel Yovel and together they have 3 daughters.

In her 30’s Judith studied art therapy at Lesley College which provided her the opportunity to work with patients with head and spinal injuries at the Tel HaShomer hospital, and patients suffering from head injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at the Beit Loewenstein Rehabilitation Center. Upon completion of the course Judith began studying psychotherapy at the Bar Ilan university where she met psychiatrist Dr. Yossi Hadar, her thesis advisor. Together they initiated the establishment of NATAL, which officially opened its doors in 1998.

Judith is involved in many other social impact organizations including the Gandyr Foundation, Sheatufim Strategies for Social Impact, and Committed To Give

Recognitions and awards: 

  • 2017 – Rapaport Prize for Women Inspiring Social Change
  • 2015 – Presented with honorary Doctorate from Ben Gurion University in the Negev
  • 2013 – Presented with honorary Doctorate from Tel Aviv University
  • 2012 – Outstanding member of the Scouts award
  • 2008 – The Presidential Award for Volunteerism, presented by former Israel President, Shimon Peres z”l in recognition of her contribution to society with NATAL
  • 2005 – Minister of Health’s Award for Outstanding Volunteers
  • 2005 – Tel Aviv Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteers
  • 2005 – Voted one of the 50 most influential women in Israel
  • 2005 – Elected to the management committee of the voluntary nonprofit sector
  • 2004 – Badge of Honor from the National Council for Social Development, granted to both NATAL and Judith as the Chairperson
  • 2001&2004 – Member of Israeli delegation to General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities of North America

To contact Judith directly, please email jude@natal.org.il