Netiva Ben Yehuda
Although she began her writing career very late in life, Netiva Ben Yehuda transformed the Israeli literary scene with her explosive Palmah trilogy. Ben Yehuda grew up in Palestine and served in both the Palmah and the IDF. After brief studies at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and the University of London, she returned to Israel in 1952 and studied linguistics and philosophy for three years at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She then became a freelance editor, working on projects that included the Encyclopedia Hebraica and worked as a spokesperson for the Ministry of Labor. Known for her scathing wit, Ben Yehuda co-authored the irreverent World Dictionary of Hebrew Slang in 1972, pointing out the gulf between the formal Hebrew used in schools and the language spoken in the streets. In 1981 she published 1948—Bein ha-Sefirot, the first book in her iconoclastic Palmah trilogy, which challenged the history of the supposedly egalitarian pioneers by exposing the painful sexism she and others had endured and the sacrifices women had made, often ignored by official histories. In 1996 she also began broadcasting a popular late-night radio show. In 2004 she was made an honorary citizen of Jerusalem for her work.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Netiva Ben Yehuda." (Viewed on September 21, 2018) <https://jwa.org/people/ben-yehuda-netiva>.