Ilan Wagner

Ilan Wagner

Vice President for Onward


Birthright Israel

Ilan was born in New Jersey and moved to Israel in 1986 after years of activity in the Young Judaea youth movement. Upon arriving in Israel, he helped found the Keren Kolot Educational Seminar at Kibbutz Ketura, wrote a text book for teaching English at the high school level, and then went on to be the head of the Education Committee on Kibbutz Yotvata, and supervisor of Civics at the regional high school.

In 1996, he worked as an emissary for college students in North America on behalf of Hadassah. From 2002 until 2004 he directed the Jewish Agency Department of Education’s global student activities, and then returned to the United Sates as the Jewish Agency’s representative to Hillel and Student Affairs in North America. Beginning in August, 2007 he served as the director of the Jewish Agency’s educational efforts in North America and directed MAKOM, the Israel Engagement Network in North America.

Ilan returned to Israel in 2009, continuing his work as the Director of the Jewish Agency’s North American regional office until he founded Onward Israel in 2012 of which he was the CEO beginning in 2016  and then stewarded the merger with Birthright in 2022. He is currently the VP for Onward at Birthright Israel. Ilan lives In Modiin with his wife Shoshi and their beloved dog, Eddie, and is the proud father of five and grandfather of 9. If you meet Ilan, be sure to say a kind word about the Boston Red Sox.