Rahel Yanait Ben-Zvi

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Pioneer Women in the United States

Pioneer Women was created in The United States in 1925 to help the pioneer women’s cooperatives in Palestine through American-based philanthropic efforts. During its first convention in 1926 in New York City, the group articulated goals to help create a homeland in Palestine, to support Mo’ezet ha-Po’alot, and to educate American Jewish women to a more conscious role in American society.


Women played many different roles in the operations of the Haganah. Though their stories are frequently excluded from the story of the Jewish paramilitary organization in British Mandate Palestine, women served as caretakers and nurses, as well as fighters and commanders.

Rose Viteles

Rose Viteles was an American-born social worker and volunteer who, after moving to Palestine in 1925, became involved in the operations of several Zionist organizations including Hadassah and the Haganah. Her help was essential before and during Israel’s War of Independence.

Suffrage in Palestine

The fight for women’s suffrage in Palestine was a fierce one, pitting determined women activists with international support against the obstinance of ultra-Orthodox groups from the Old Yishuv. In 1920, fourteen women were elected to the National Assembly, and after years of thwarted efforts to revoke women’s suffrage, the 1926 Assembly decreed full equal rights for women in all areas of civil, economic, and political life.

Prose Writing in the Yishuv: 1882-1948

Female Yishuv writers have often been ignored in discussions of Jewish literature from the period. As the sometimes-melancholy tone and escapist themes of their writing show, these women struggled to escape the margins in pre-state Palestine. Nonetheless, the works of these female writers offer important insights into the lives of Yishuv women and paved the way for contemporary women writers.

Politics in the Yishuv and Israel

Institutionalized politics and a variety of factors—the politicization of women’s issues, the Israeli-Arab conflict, the impact of religion on the political arena, and the socio-economic structure—have resulted in both exclusion and inclusion of women in Israeli politics.

Bracha Peli

Bracha Peli was unique among the literary community of pre-state Palestine, creating what was probably the most successful and dynamic publishing house in the country at the time. Born Bronya Kutzenok in Tsarist Russia, Peli had an expansive and highly successful career.

Sarah Lishansky

A politically active nurse and midwife, Sarah Lishansky used her career to treat and care for workers in the Yishuv during the Second Aliyah.

Irma Levy Lindheim

Irma Levy Lindheim was a colorful American Zionist millionaire, fund-raiser, and educator. Called “the grandmother” of the kibbutz for helping found and sustain multiple kibbutzim, Irma Levy Lindheim also made phenomenal contributions to fundraising and organizational efforts to create and maintain the fledgling State of Israel.

Batia Lichansky

Batia Lichansky, Israel’s first woman sculptor, famously expressed the pioneer Zionist spirit during the formative years of the State of Israel through her portrait sculptures, reliefs, and memorials sculpted in stone, wood, and bronze. After studying across Europe, Lichansky became a prominent Israeli artist and won the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Dizengoff Prize twice, in 1944 and 1957.

Rahel Yanait Ben-Zvi

Rahel Yanait Ben-Zvi was the second First Lady of Israel, wife to President Yizhak Ben-Zvi. Before and after Ben-Zvi’s tenure, she was active in the labor movement in Palestine and Israel and in the independence movement, as well as a prolific writer and recorder of her experiences in Erez Israel.


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