The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Yael Arad

b. May 1, 1967

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Yael Arad until we are able to commission a full entry.

Yael Arad at a 2009 speaking engagement.

Courtesy of Leah Jones/Wikimedia Commons.

Yael Arad celebrated an unprecedented victory in 1992 when she won the Olympic silver medal for judo, making her the first Israeli Olympic medalist for any sport. Arad began taking judo classes at age eight, and within six months ranked second in Israel for her weight class. She won her first international title match in 1987 and won three consecutive European championships from 1989–1991. Because of the shortage of serious competitors, she trained with the coach of the men’s Olympic team. While she narrowly missed earning the gold medal in 1992, she dedicated her silver medal to the memory of the slain athletes of the Munich Olympics and returned home a national hero. Since her historic win, she has pushed for women’s greater participation in sports in Israel. She served as judo coach for Israel’s 2000 Olympic team and went on to become a sports commentator for judo competitions.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Yael Arad." (Viewed on December 5, 2023) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now