By studying both isolated and mixed populations in Israel, Batsheva Bonne-Tamir uncovered the genetic histories and relationships between long-separated communities. From an early age, Bonne-Tamir felt torn between her scientific pursuits and her attachment to kibbutz life. After serving in the Fighting Pioneer Youth unit of the IDF, she found balance by studying social science and genetics at Hebrew University and doing her bachelor’s thesis on marriage patterns among kibbutz members. She earned a master’s in anthropology in 1960 from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in genetics in 1965 from Boston University, both based on her study of the Samaritan ethnic minority. In 1965 she co-founded the human genetics department at Tel Aviv University (which she chaired from 1977–1982) and began extensive research on Bedouins, Armenians, and Jews from diverse countries, including Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Germany. She discovered genetic markers that proved those populations’ histories and relationships. In the 1980s, she also mapped several rare genetic disorders, including Wilson’s disease. After being named the Near East representative to the Human Genome Project, she co-founded and ran the National Laboratory for the Genetics of Israeli Populations in 1994. Still professor emerita at Tel Aviv University as of 2015, she continues to write and lecture widely.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Batsheva Bonne-Tamir." (Viewed on December 12, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/bonne-tamir-batsheva>.