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Authority, Identity & Belonging

in Times of Tectonic Upheaval

18-23 February 2024 | Zichron Yaakov, Israel

18-23 February 2024
Zichron Yaakov, Israel


Authority, Identity & Belonging

in Times of Tectonic Upheaval

18-23 February 2024 | Zichron Yaakov, Israel

The 36th OFEK International Group Relations Conference

​ Welcome

Dear Prospective Participant,

At the time of publishing this brochure, a war is raging in Israel. It seems almost unfathomable and perhaps even counter-intuitive to invite you to gather in Israel. And yet…. It is indeed our deepest hope and intention to host OFEK’s 36th international conference, as planned, in February 2024 here in Israel. 

Israel offers unique ground for a group relations conference. While known as the epicenter of three major religions and as a historical crossroads between East and West, it is less well known that the country lies on multiple geological fault lines and is located regionally at the intersection of four tectonic plates.

The violent events that erupted here on and since October 7 have felt very much like tectonic upheaval; upending the lives of many in Israel and Gaza and setting off a chain of intense reverberations across the world. Historical alliances and coalitions have been put to the test as people have felt forced to take a definitive stand on political divides defined by core issues of identity and belonging. 

At the same time, broader tectonic shifts are sweeping across the global landscape. The war in Ukraine rages on, borders continue to be tightened to restrict access to privileged Western countries, right-wing nationalist movements are re-emerging in various places, and opinions on both sides of the political spectrum are becoming increasingly polarized and immune to dialogue. Alongside the exponential advances in technology, many are wondering whether our humanity is actually in regression or at risk of extinction. These global trends are powerfully felt in Israel as well.

The questions of the day, while in many ways collective, are also deeply personal. We experience them in our own bodies, in the eyes of our children, in spontaneous encounters with strangers in town squares and in sudden bursts of emotion that overcome us as we drive alone in the car.

Amidst the chaos one senses that profound shifts are underway on a fundamental level. Old psychic constellations are being ruptured, challenging the default lines of our identities and threatening the very foundations of what we know as “home”. As we wonder who and what can lead us into the future, we are called to question our relationship to authority – both our own and that of those who formally govern us. As we stand in the newly hollowed earth, we can also begin to sense new psychic structures taking hold and the possible rise of a new consciousness.

OFEK’s 36th international group relations conference offers a unique opportunity to explore these and other questions. By learning from the experiences that emerge as we come together in the here and now of this experiential conference we hope to broaden our insight into the deeper dynamics currently at play beneath the surface.  

We invite you to join us for this journey in Israel not in spite of the current circumstances, but indeed because of them. Now, more than ever, we embrace the group relations methodology as a means to locate ourselves as we contemplate where to stand and how to proceed at this precarious juncture. 

We look forward to seeing you, 

Sivanie Shiran, PhD

Conference Director


*The conference will be conducted according to the guidelines of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Home Front Command to ensure the continued safety of residents. Despite the tectonic shifts currently underway in Israel, the management is committed to the conference taking place. Should the current situation in Israel not allow enough participants to attend, an innovative online option will be offered as an additional venue.

About the Conference ​

Modeled after the “Leicester” conferences developed by the Tavistock Institute in the 1950s, OFEK’s international group relations conference has been an annual event since 1987.

The conference model is based on the understanding that real learning about the dynamics of social systems – groups, organizations and society – takes place through processing one’s own experiences and those of others. Unlike in traditional academic settings, therefore, this conference includes neither lectures nor presentations. Rather, the conference is designed to serve as a temporary organization in which participants have the opportunity to reflect on the different roles they take up and the processes in which they are involved. The behaviors, thoughts, feelings and fantasies that emerge while participating in the various conference events are the raw material that participants are invited to study. 

The dramatic times we find ourselves in and the emotions they arouse in us tend to challenge our ability to listen deeply, to think in a multi-faceted way, and to embrace complexity. Now more than ever, a curious and exploratory mindset is needed to understand the dynamic forces that shape us, consciously and unconsciously, as individuals, as organizations and as a society. The group relations methodology provides us with an invaluable opportunity to do just that.

In these times of tectonic upheaval, questions pertaining to authority, identity and belonging are crystalizing and coming to the fore. During the conference participants may wish to reflect on questions such as;

In times of tectonic upheaval…: 

Do the default lines of our identity dissolve or rigidify? What influences my sense of who I am and how does this sense of identity shape the way I relate to the “other”?

What do we expect from the people in roles of authority and how do we take up our own authority?

What determines and challenges our sense of belonging? What maintains this sense of belonging and how does it impact the degree to which we allow or resist diversity?

The conference will provide opportunities for participants to apply the insights they gain back to their daily lives and to reconsider how they take up their roles as citizens, members of organizations and communities, and  as members in their own families. 

The Primary Task
The primary task of the conference is to learn from experience about authority, identity and belonging in times of tectonic upheaval by exploring the conscious and unconscious dynamics that emerge in the here and now of this temporary organization and in its wider context.

The working language of the conference is English. However, in groups or situations where everyone present speaks another common language, that language can also serve as the working language.

Who is the Conference For?
The conference is geared for people interested in learning about the overt and covert functioning of human systems (i.e. groups, organizations, societies, etc.) and those who want to discover more about the roles they tend to play within them. Past participants have come from a wide range of diverse backgrounds. Professional profiles have included board members, executives and mid-level managers from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, Organizational Consultants/Executive Coaches/Human Resource professionals, Medical and Therapeutic Clinicians, Academics, as well as practitioners from the financial, legal and marketing fields. The conference is aimed at people who have varying degrees of experience with group relations conferences. Therefore, the conference will include two different groups of participants: Group A will consist of participants who are attending a group relations conference for the first time, and Group B will consist of participants who have previous experience with group relations conferences. The potential relationship between these two groups provides an additional dimension that we may explore and study.

Previous participants of the OFEK International Conference have said:

Conference Staff

All staff take up consultancy roles in addition to their other roles.


Sivanie Shiran | PhD


Clinical Psychologist, Jungian Psychoanalyst and Organizational Consultant| Faculty Head of Leadership Development, MBA programs, Arison School of Business, Reichman University, Herzliya | Executive Coach, International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Switzerland | Private practice in  Hod Hasharon, Israel | Member, Israel Institute for Jungian Psychology in Honor of Erich Neumann (IIJP) | Board Member, OFEK | Israel

Miri Tsadok | MA

Associate Director

Clinical Psychologist, Supervisor and Organizational Consultant in private practice, Jerusalem | Co-director and Faculty of the Program in Organizational Consultation and Development: a Psychoanalytic-Systemic Approach| Member and Past Board Member, OFEK | Israel

Iris Segal | MSc, MSW


Senior Organizational and Management Consultant, Supervisor, Group facilitator | Psychotherapist, private practice in Tel Aviv & Rosh Hayin | Senior member of PAI | Former board member and current member, OFEK | Israel

Hagit Shachar-Paraira | Ph.D


Organizational and Group Consultant in the public, private and 3rd sector  |Lecturer, specializes in Leadership, Gender, Group dynamics and Change processess | The head of the Program for Dynamic-Multicultural Group Facilitation at the Haifa University | Teacher at The program of Organizational Consultation & Development: A Psychoanalytic-Systemic Approach |The Founder and Manager of ‘Room to Connect’ in Kiryat Tivon| Member, OFEK | Israel

Consultant Staff

The final conference staff will be drawn from the following list:

Ganesh Anantharaman | M.Phil

Organizational Consultant to leadership dilemmas | Psychoanalyst-in-training in the Lacanian orientation | Programmes Committee Member, Group Relations India  (GRI) | India 

Smadar Ashuach | MA

Clinical Psychologist and Supervisor | Training Psychoanalyst | Group Analyst | Member of Tel Aviv Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis |Member of Israel Group Analysis |teaches at the IIGA, TAICP and Tel-Aviv University |Private practice in Tel-Mond | Member, OFEK  | Israel

Moshe Bergstein | PhD

Training psychoanalyst | Teaches in post-graduate psychotherapy programs and in the Israel Psychoanalytic Institute | Member, Israel Psychoanalytic Society, Jerusalem | Member, OFEK | Israel

Eyal Etzioni | MA

Clinical Psychologist | Group Facilitator and Organizational Consultant, private practice in Ramat Gan | Board Member, OFEK | Israel

Olya Khaleelee | MA

Corporate Psychologist, Organizational Consultant, Author | Chairwoman of OPUS (an Organisation for Promoting Understanding of Society) | Professional partner of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) | UK

Saleem Khliefi | BA

Group therapist and Organizational Consultant in Prison services | Member, OFEK| Israel

Roee Metzer | MSW

Director of Social Care, OTOT Association| Facilitator and Consultant for teams and managers in youth and young adults services and in human rights organizations | Winner of the Recanati Award for the Entrepreneur Social Worker | Graduate, Program of Organizational Consultation & Development | Psychoanalytic-Systemic Approach POCD | Member, OFEK | Israel 

Miriam Shapira | MA

Clinical Psychologist in private practice since 1980 | Specialist in trauma and grief therapy, community resilience, training and supervising psychologists, therapists and rabbis | Head of MAHUT Israel, center for emergency preparedness and resilience | Founding Member and first Chairperson, BESOD SIACH, to promote dialogue among conflict groups in Israel | Member, OFEK | Israel

Martijn van der Spek | MA, BSc

Assistant Professor, Organisational Consultant, Leader of executive program Inside Dynamics in Organisations at Utrecht University School of Governance | International Group Relations practitioner | Professional Partner of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, UK | Associate of  Tavistock Consulting, UK | Member of International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations | Netherlands

Host Organization

OFEK – Organization, Person, Group – The Israeli Association for the Study of Group and Organizational Processes (Public Benefit Non-Profit Company) is an educational non-profit organization founded in 1986. Its primary aim is to help promote learning and change in individuals, groups, organizations and society through the study, development and application of psychoanalytic and open systems theories in the Tavistock tradition of Group Relations. 

Since its establishment OFEK has run annual international Group Relations conferences in association with The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, London. 

In addition to the group relations conferences it offers in Hebrew bi-annualy, OFEK also provides continuing education for organizations and the public (Touch OFEK Continuing Education), organizational consulting to organizations in the not-for-profit sector (OFEK in the Field) and additional activities both for its members and the wider public. 

Sponsoring Organization

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) applies social science to contemporary issues and problems. It was formally founded as a registered charity in 1947. The Institute is engaged in evaluation and action-research, organizational development and change consultancy, executive coaching and professional development, all of which support sustainable change and ongoing learning. The Tavistock Institute has been a sponsoring organization for OFEK Group Relations Conferences since their inception in 1987.



The conference is residential and takes place at the Eden Inn Hotel
in Zichron Yaakov, Israel.


The conference begins on Sunday, 18 February 2024 at 13:30
and ends on Friday, 23 February 2024 at 12:00*.

*A detailed timetable will be available at the start of the conference.

How to Register

Last date for registration: 11 February 2024

Note: Early registration is advised as space is limited.

Registration Procedures
To register for the conference, please fill out the online Registration Form.
Registration will take effect once payment has been made.



Shared Occupancy

7,150 NIS

Single Occupancy

8,150 NIS

Fee is quoted in New Israeli Shekels (NIS)

The conference fee includes accommodation and full board (three meals/day),
with a lodging choice of single or shared occupancy*.

*For shared occupancy, a roommate will be assigned if a preference
is not stated in advance of the conference

Methods of Payment

Payment can be made:

By credit card* online
By credit card over the telephone
By bank transfer

* Credit card payments drawn on an Israeli bank can be made in installments.

Cancellation Policy

Notice of cancellation received before Jan 31, 2024 will incur cancellation charges as detailed below:

Until Jan 15, 2024: No cancelation fee

Jan 16, 2024 – Jan 31, 2024: 1,000 NIS

After Jan 31, 2024: Conference fees cannot be refunded

Organizational Discount
For two or more members from the same organization there will be a 300 NIS discount for each.

A limited number of partial bursaries will be available, sponsored by OFEK and by the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. To apply for a bursary, please fill out the Registration Form and send a request with a short description of the relevant background no later than 28 December 2023.


For further information or questions please contact the conference administrators:
Iris Segal and Hagit Shachar-Paraira at 

Design by Anat Shemer

Design by Anat Shemer