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Department of Geography and Environment

Prof. Michael Sofer, Ph.D.

Established in 1955, Bar-Ilan University (BIU) is located in Ramat Gan and it is one of the larger universities in Israel. BIU has achieved an international reputation for academic and research especially, but not limited to the fields of archaeology, geography, bio-medicine, brain sciences, cancer, communications and information security, cognitive sciences, marine biology, magnetism and superconductivity, multilingualism, nanotechnology and advanced materials, and renewable energy.

BIU supports its research initiative with 76 research centres and 66 academic chairs. With a commitment to expanding its research and innovation activities, and advanced studies, BIU places major emphasis on substantially increasing the number of research students, recruiting outstanding post-doctoral students, and increasing its research revenues. BIU has also developed unique interdisciplinary study programs, and has intensified collaborations and consortium building with scientists from the EU and the USA.


Scientific team


Prof. Emeritus Michael Sofer, Ph.D., (M) Professor. Chairman of Israel National Committee to the IGU.


Education: B.A. Geography and Economics and M.A. Geography – Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ph.D. Melbourne University, Australia.


Expertise: Economic and rural geography; Transformation in the rural space; Rural entrepreneurship; Local and regional development.


Prof. Emerita Irit Amit-Cohen, Ph.D. (F) Professor. Head of a graduate program: "Conservation, Planning and Development of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Landscape". From 2013 to 2020, she served as the President of ICOMOS Israel. Since 2012 she is a member of the Executive Committee of the Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel.


Education: B.A. Geography and Comparative literature and M.A. Geography – Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ph.D. Geography – Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Expertise: Cultural geography and urban and rural planning and development – the role of conservation in shaping the landscape; tourism development.


Prof. Anat Tchetchik, Ph.D. (F) Associate Professor. Head of a graduate program: "Corporate Environmental management and innovation".


Education: B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Environmental Economics and Management, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Expertise: Tourism economics; Regional and rural economics; Environmental economics; Econometrics.


Dr. Irit Shmuel (F) at the Department of Geography and Environment Bar-Ilan University. Head of the Tourism Studies  at the Department of Management at Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem, Israel

Education: B.A. and M.A. in Geography, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ph.D. in Geography, Bar-Ilan University, Israel.


Expertise: Touristic imagination, Geographical imagination, Urban tourist management; Rural tourist management; Host-guest relations.


Dr. Yaron Michael (M) at the Department of Soil & Water Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem University. Research Assistant for Studies in the field of rural economy, public health, and agriculture. Education: B.A, M.A and Ph.D. in. Geography Bar-Ilan University.



Expertise: geographic information system ; Remote sensing; Software developing ; urban planning;


Shilo Shiff Ph.D candidate (M) at the Department of Geography and Environment, Bar-Ilan University. Research Assistant for Studies in the field of climate and precision agriculture. Education: B.A. in Computer science and Biology, Bar-Ilan University.


Expertise: Geographic Information Systems; Remote sensing; Software developing.




Participation in European/FP and other related projects


2018-2020 - Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture. A tool for examining policy for the development of rural areas - market analysis and means of support for agritourism attractions.


2017-2020 - Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, R2π – Transition from linear 2 circulars: Policy and Innovation, a three-year project within the environment theme of Horizon 2020 (H2020).


2016-2018 - Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture. The interaction between village and town in Israel:


From separation to cooperation (2016-2018).


2014- 2016 - Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture – centre of excellence. Entrepreneurship in rural areas as a lever for local and regional development (2014-2016).


2013-2015 - FP7 project SPREE (Servicing Policy for Resource Efficient Economy), a three-year project within the environment theme under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program.


Related projects of National University Research Council, Ministry of Education (RO); Ministry of Agriculture, (IL)

Main tasks and interests in this project

  • Leader of WP3, development of the new innovative tool

  • Hosting one fieldwork

  • Contributions to WP1, WP2, dissemination (WP4) and management WP5

  • In charge of the case study in Israel

Case Study: Beit She’an Valley: Includes the town of Beit She’an and the regional council Emek HaMayanot (Valley of Springs) (Israel). This considers the experiential cultural tourism associated with historic settlements including archeological sites and Kibbutzim heritage in this peripheral part of Israel.

Vienne Nov_2022_conference_WP3 SPOT-IT

BIU presentation Cultural tourism Beit She’an Valley

COVID-19 and the impact on cultural tourism The case of Beit She’an Valley Israel


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