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Union of Hebrew Women for Equal Rights in Erez Israel

The Union of Hebrew Women for Equal Rights in Erez Israel was founded in 1919 by a nonpartisan group of Jewish women who perceived women’s rights as being fundamentally entwined with the Zionist vision. After a long battle with the Orthodox parties, the Union won the support of the National Assembly in 1926 when the Assembly declared that women would have equal voting and participation rights.

Jennie Tourel

Opera singer Jennie Tourel’s subtle and expressive performances made each song she sang into a miniature tone drama that she shaped as closely as possible to the composer’s intention.

Dvora Tomer

Dvora Tomer had a career in the Israeli military for three decades, during which time she worked to expand women’s opportunities in the Israel Defense Forces to include a wider range of roles and fairer treatment.

Hannah Thon

Hannah (Helena) Thon was a social worker, journalist and editor, a student of Israel’s ethnic communities, and one of the leading figures in the women’s voluntary social-welfare organizations during the Yishuv (pre-State) period in Israel.

Sarah Thon

Sarah Thon was born in Lvov, Galicia. She married Yaakov Thon and they settled in Ottoman Palestine at the end of 1907. She became the representative of the Women’s Association for Cultural Work in Palestine and established five workshops for girls. She was also influential in the establishment of the girls’ farm at Kinneret and in the fight for Jewish women’s suffrage.

Anna Ticho

From the moment she arrived in the city in 1912 until the day she died in 1980, Anna Ticho lovingly portrayed Jerusalem in paint, pen and ink, charcoal, pastel, and pencil. Her works have been shown around Israel and abroad, and she has received numerous honorary titles and awards. She bequeathed her home, Ticho House, to the Israel Museum to be used as a site for exhibitions and cultural events.

Yemima Tchernovitz-Avidar

Yemima Tchernovitz-Avidar was a passionate educator and author of Hebrew literature. Her creative works became classics of modern Hebrew children’s literature, and she has been awarded numerous accolades for her contributions to Jewish literature.

Hannah Szenes (Senesh)

Hannah Szenes has attained legendary status in the pantheon of Zionist history. After immigrating to Israel, Szenes agreed to participate in a military operation as a paratrooper. Hungarian authorities captured her and tortured her, but Szenes refused to talk. She was killed by a firing squad in 1944. Szenes mother published her daughter’s diary, poetry, and plays posthumously.

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.

Rivka Sturman

Rivka Sturman was a pioneer in creating Israeli folk dance and established the style and character of the genre. Her goal was to culturally unite the immigrants who had come to Palestine but had retained the dances of their old nations. For forty years she choreographed the development of Israeli folk dance and spearheaded programs to help it become a part of Israel’s national identity.

Eva Michaelis Stern

Eva Michaelis Stern was co-founder and director of the fundraising arm of the Youth Aliyah in Germany, and later the director of the Youth Aliyah office in London. Over the course of WWII, she helped more than 1000 children from countries all over Europe immigrate to Palestine.

Judith Steiner-Freud

As a Holocaust survivor, Judith Steiner-Freud fulfilled her faithful and influential mission. From the 1940s to the 2010s, she devoted herself to the calling of transforming nursing into an academic profession, raising the status of Israeli nurses, and promoting the welfare of Israeli society and other diverse population groups.

Sport in Israel: Yishuv to the Early 21st Century

Women have been involved in sports in Israel since the Yishuv period, participating as teams, as individuals, and as coaches. Though more women are now participating in competitive sports, the field still reflects a masculine culture of power struggle and a desire to defeat the enemy. More recent political efforts in Israel have attempted to achieve women's equality in athletics.


Over the last several decades, Jewish women attained significant achievement in the socio-economic sphere and played a leading role in maintaining Jewish continuity. In general, Jewish women are educated and participate in the labor force at higher rates than their non-Jewish counterparts.

Michal Smoira-Cohn

One of Israel’s best-known musicologists, Michal Smoira-Cohn was involved in innumerable musical features and events and was a leading figure in Israel’s cultural life.

Virginia Snitow

Virginia Levitt Snitow was a multifaceted woman who was a teacher, political activist, pre-Second Wave feminist, poet, writer and founder of US/Israel Women to Women. Ahead of her time in the fight for both civil and women’s rights, Snitow was unafraid to take unpopular stances when fighting for others.

Chana Shpitzer

Chana Shpitzer was an important figure in the field of Jewish education for girls in Jerusalem in the early 20th century. Shpitzer was a firm believer in single-sex education and her goal was for her students to develop academically, religiously, and practically. Her school was known for its emphasis on academic achievement, and almost all her students found gainful employment upon graduation.

Sarah Shner-Nishmit

Polish author and historian Sarah Shner-Nishmit traveled constantly to evade capture during World War II, working at a labor camp and joining a partisan group. Shner made aliyah in 1947 and subsequently began her writing career, which included children’s books and historical research. She also helped found Kibbutz Lohamei ha-Getta’ot, where she lived until her death.

Sarah Shmukler

Sarah Shmukler was a nurse and midwife who emigrated to Palestine from the Russian Empire during the Second Aliyah period. Her short life was characterized by providing medical assistance to migrant workers in Palestine and by close friendships with her fellow pioneers.

Vicki Shiran

Vicki Shiran was an Egyptian-born Israeli social activist dedicated to feminism, anti-occupation activism, and fighting discrimination against Mizrahim in Israel, all of which she viewed as interconnected. In 1999 she helped found Ahoti, For Women in Israel, which promoted the labor rights of lower-class women in Israel, and in 1981 she led a fierce fight against the Israel Broadcasting Authority for its exclusion of Mizrahim in its telling of the history of the Israeli state.

Mania Wilbushewitch Shochat

Zionist and socialist, radical and revolutionary, Mania Shochat left behind her labor activism in Russia to come to Palestine, where she initiated the country's first collective settlement and helped to establish the Jewish defense group Ha-Shomer.

Shelamziyyon Alexandra

Queen Shelamziyyon Alexandra ruled Judea in the 1st century BCE. During her reign, which was the only time a woman inherited the throne from her deceased spouse, she deposed the ruling party that had supported her husband. In the place of that party, she appointed the Pharisees, whose heirs portray her positively in the rabbinic literature they composed.

She'erit ha-Peletah: Women in DP Camps in Germany

Family played an important role in the lives of Holocaust survivors in DP (displaced persons) camps – in 1947, the birth rate in DP camps was one of the highest in the world. Women served as teachers and eager students, and they were active in the effort to open immigration to Palestine.

Naomi Shemer

Naomi Shemer was a prolific singer and composer who built a unified Israeli cultural consciousness through her beautiful melodies. From the 1950s to the 1990s, Shemer wrote music that was performed throughout the country, including “Jerusalem of Gold” and “Lu Yehi.” In 1983, she was awarded the Israel Prize, and she continued to write new music until her death in 2004.

Gabriela Shalev

Gabriela Shalev, one of the outstanding Israeli academicians in the field of law, has instructed innumerable students in the intricacies of contract law, on which she has published and lectured in the light of her own analyses and theories.


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