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Military

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Dvora Tomer

Tomer was the first woman outside the Women’s Corps to obtain the rank of colonel, thus paving the way for other women.

Hannah Szenes (Senesh)

One of the more poignant songs included in many Holocaust memorial convocations held in Israel, is a short poem, set to music, known popularly as “Eli, Eli.” The four-line poem, actually entitled “Walking to Caesarea,” was written by one of the more mythological figures in contemporary Jewish and Israeli history, Hannah Szenes, whose short life and death have propelled her into the pantheon of Zionist history.

Havivah Reik

Driving along one of Israel’s inner roads in the upper Shomron plain, one passes two settlements with similar names—Givat Havivah and Lahavot Havivah. Both are named after Havivah Reik, one of the seven members of the “Parachutists’ Mission” who lost their lives during World War II while attempting to aid European Jewry under the Nazis.

Dalia Raz

Dalia Raz enlisted in the IDF in 1955, first serving in the Nahal (Fighting Pioneer Youth), where she was promoted to NCO before proceeding to officer training. In 1957, she was appointed head of personnel in the navy, becoming the only woman ever to serve in this position.

Ayala Procaccia

From 1983 to 1984, Ayala Procaccia was the legal adviser to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Israel and in 1987 was appointed to the judiciary. After serving as a judge in the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court until 1993 and in the Jerusalem District Court from 1993 to 2001, she was elected to the Supreme Court.

Palmah

Discussion of women’s military service, both pre-State and later, focused more on the need for participation and partnership than on the issue of equality of the sexes. Women’s participation in the Haganah, the Palmah, Ezel (Irgun Zeva’i Le’ummi) and Lehi (Lohamei Herut Israel) during the struggle for statehood, as well as their role in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the War of Independence, generated a sense of joint achievement, the result of common effort and sacrifice. They also engendered a feeling of having conquered a stronghold, a bridgehead in the fight for equality which must not be surrendered.

Israela Oron

Israela Oron was active in effecting women’s integration into the military and in ensuring the recognition of their enormous potential in contributing to the Israel Defense Forces.

Ora Namir

One of Israel’s outstanding advocates and legislators in the field of social justice in general and women’s rights in particular, Ora Namir was the only child of pioneering agricultural laborers in the moshav of Hoglah in the central Sharon region of Israel (founded in 1933).

Ruth Muskal

Born in Israel, Ruth Muskal studied education at both the A voluntary collective community, mainly agricultural, in which there is no private wealth and which is responsible for all the needs of its members and their families.Kibbutz Seminar and in university. She joined the IDF in 1955 and filled various positions until her promotion to OC Women’s Corps (See “CHEN”: Women’s Corps in the Israel Defense Forces).

Stella Levy

Born in Haifa in 1924, Stella Levy studied at the Reali High School and was active in the Haganah. In 1943 she enlisted in the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) and when the Women’s Corps was established participated in the first officers training course for women. She also completed the IDF’s only course for women battalion commanders, held at the Sarafand base in 1949. However, her lengthy service in the IDF was in the Women’s Corps. She was the only servicewoman to rise in rank from company commander in Haifa to Chief Officer in the northern region, thence to deputy commanding officer of the Women’s Corps and finally, to its commanding officer, a position she occupied from 1964 to 1970, with the rank of colonel. In this capacity she headed both the Ma’abarot (transit camps) campaign for absorption of immigrants and the “Elimination of Illiteracy” campaign.

Lehi (Lohamei Herut Yisrael)

The underground movement Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, known by its acronym, Lehi) came into existence in 1940 in the wake of the opposition on the part of Avraham (“Ya’ir”) Stern (1907–1942) to the cessation of hostilities against the British rule in The Land of IsraelErez Israel (Palestine) proclaimed by David Raziel (1910–1941), the commander of the Irgun Zeva’i Le’ummi (IZL) during World War II. Stern regarded this decision as mistaken and as the loss of a rare historic opportunity to take advantage of the war situation to obtain concessions from the British, who he felt should be compelled by use of force to fulfill its promise to establish a Jewish state in Erez Israel. “Even in time of war, England is fighting the Jewish Jewish community in Palestine prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. "Old Yishuv" refers to the Jewish community prior to 1882; "New Yishuv" to that following 1882.Yishuv, attempting to restrict it, and even manages to provide the military forces to prevent the rescue of Holocaust survivors. In reality, Britain is a foreign power, whose interests in the Middle East do not include a Jewish state … we must not cease our war until Britain is expelled and an independent State of Israel is established.”

Ruth Lapidoth

Professor Ruth Lapidoth is a major expert in international law. As a young woman, she decided to specialize in this field, seeing it as a path towards dialogue and a means to solve the Arab-Israel conflict. She hoped that international law could prevent wars and promote peace. Lapidoth’s father, Dr. Oscar Asher Eschelbacher, was born and raised in Germany, where he studied dentistry. Her mother, Dr. Selma Sarah née Roer, was also a dentist. In 1925 their older daughter Chana was born, followed by Ruth five years later, in 1930. The family left Germany and immigrated to Palestine in 1938.

Rae D. Landy

A disciplined nurse who put her own safety at risk time and again for others, Rae Landy helped Hadassah establish the first nursing service in Israel and then served as a military nurse in the US Armed Services.

Kibbutz

As a secular and democratic community, the kibbutz—first founded in 1910—strove to implement egalitarian principles as expressed in the slogan: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” In addition, from the 1920s on, due to A voluntary collective community, mainly agricultural, in which there is no private wealth and which is responsible for all the needs of its members and their families.kibbutz women’s collective action, gender equality became part and parcel of the kibbutz movement’s normative discourse, a kind of “self-understood symbol of this classless society” (Bernstein, 1992; Fogiel-Bijaoui, 1992; Izraeli, 1992; Near, 1992; Reinharz, 1992).

Chaile Raphael Kaulla

“Here rests a woman who was outstanding among her people and in her fatherland” is written on the gravestone of “Madame Kaulla” in the Hechingen Jewish cemetery. This refers to her charity as a wealthy and pious Jewish woman and to her significant achievements in serving the Grand Duke (later King) of Wuerttemberg and the imperial army (Reichsarmee). Chaile Raphael Kaulla was the most influential Jewish woman entrepreneur and one of the last Court Jews in eighteenth-century Germany.

Yehudit Karp

Yehudit Karp is widely acknowledged for her determined pursuit of truth and justice. Throughout her career as a lawyer she has acted with grit in the Israeli and international spheres, to preserve moral standards and to ensure human rights in general and women’s rights, children’s rights and victim’s rights in particular. She has received awards from the Israeli Bar Association for her special contribution to the advancement of the status of women in Israel and from the National Council for the Child for her contribution to the status and welfare of children in Israel.

Florence Prag Kahn

“There is no sex in citizenship and there should be none in politics.” So believed Florence Prag Kahn, the first Jewish woman to serve in the United States Congress. Though she arrived in the House of Representatives via a special election after the death of her Republican congressman husband, Julius Kahn, in 1924, she went on to win reelection in her own right five times (1925–1937) and to play a major role in shaping the economy and the geography of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Laura Margolis Jarblum

Laura Margolis Jarblum was the first female overseas representative of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). After World War II, she became JDC’s first female Country Director.

Jael: Bible

The wife of Heber the Kenite, Jael plays an important role in the story of Israel’s wars with the Canaanites, described in the Book of Judges. In the narrative about the military heroine Deborah, Jael kills Sisera, the Canaanite general of King Jabin, after he escapes from the battle with Deborah’s general, Barak.

Israeli Women's Writing in Hebrew: 1948-2004

The achievements of women’s writing in Hebrew rank among the unquestionable triumphs of Israeli feminism. From a (culturally speaking) atypical starting point of almost total exclusion from Hebrew language and literature, Israeli women writers have been able to ascend to a prominent position in the Hebrew literature of the last two decades. In the space of less than fifty years, Israeli literature has undergone a profound process of change, in which women played an important role. The talent of the women writers, coupled with the encouragement of women readers and academics, have helped women’s writing to progress from marginalization to its rightful status. This change, which did not come about easily, was part of the struggle for equality of the sexes in every aspect of Israeli society. Before reviewing the accomplishments and analyzing the processes that produced the change, this article will focus briefly on the obstacles that confronted women authors writing in Hebrew.

Israel Defense Forces

Israel is the only country where military service is obligatory for both men and women. Women constitute approximately a third of the conscripts and close to twenty percent of the standing professional army. In 2003, the military conscripted some seventy-seven percent of the cohort of eighteen-year-old Jewish men and fifty-nine percent of the cohort of eighteen-year-old Jewish women.

Irgun Zeva'i Le'ummi (I.Z.L.)

Following World War I, the government of Britain was granted a mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations, with the aim of establishing a national home for the Jews. That “National Home,” the Jewish community in Palestine prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. "Old Yishuv" refers to the Jewish community prior to 1882; "New Yishuv" to that following 1882.Yishuv, would later become an independent Hebrew state. However, in May 1939, with World War II imminent, the British government issued a “White Paper” banning Jewish immigration to Palestine. “Illegal” immigrant ships that had managed to escape from Europe were barred from entering Palestine and some were even forced to return to Europe, to almost certain death.

Clara Immerwahr

Clara Immerwahr was born on June 21, 1870 on the Polkendorff Farm near Breslau, where she grew up together with her three older siblings, Elli, Rose and Paul, in a wealthy, highly-cultured, open and liberal family, which wore its Jewishness lightly. Her father, Philipp Immerwahr, had studied chemistry and sought to establish a factory, but when this enterprise failed he turned to Polkendoff, where his farming skills and inventive spirit combined to make him wealthy. He married his cousin Anne, née Korn. The family regularly spent the winter months in Breslau, where Philipp’s mother owned a large store selling clothes and dress materials.

Esther Herlitz

A staunch Zionist and dedicated volunteer, born in Berlin on October 9, 1921, Esther Herlitz inherited many of her admirable traits from her beloved “Yekke” parents. Her father, Georg Herlitz (1885–1968), was born in Oppeln, a small town in Upper Silesia, into a totally assimilated Jewish family and received a typical Prussian education. However, since his parents could not afford to send him to university, he registered—with the help of the local rabbi—at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin, a center for the scientific study of Judaism and a rabbinical seminary. Here the liberal Jewish administration awarded him a stipend and here, also, both his studies and the Zionist movement introduced him to a new world. Returning home, he led the first A seven-day festival to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt (eight days outside Israel) beginning on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan. Also called the "Festival of Mazzot"; the "Festival of Spring"; Pesah.Passover Lit. "order." The regimen of rituals, songs and textual readings performed in a specific order on the first two nights (in Israel, on the first night) of Passover.seder ever held in the history of the family and when he resumed studies, this time at the University of Berlin, he became an ardent Zionist activist. On completing his studies in 1919, he refused to become a rabbi and instead founded the Central Zionist Archive. When the Zionist Federation, which was interested in influencing the local Jewish community, asked him to infiltrate the city’s large 3,500-member Reform synagogue, Herlitz and his friends took on the role of wardens and replaced the rabbi with one who was a Zionist. His wife, Irma (née Herzka, 1888–1970), who came from a traditional home in Moravia and whose father was a melamed (teacher) of little children, hated what she perceived as the empty ceremonial of the Reform Jews, but Esther herself came to love it.

Rivka Guber

Rivka Guber (née Bumaghina) was born in Novo-Vitebsk in the Ukraine and went to high school in Yekaterinoslav (Dnipropetrovsk) intending to continue her studies at university. The outbreak of the revolution disrupted her plans and forced her to return to Novo-Vitebsk where she worked as a teacher. In 1920 she married Mordecai Guber, who was born in 1893 in the town of Gorodik near Bialystok. They immigrated to Palestine in 1925. The couple settled in Rehovot, where Mordecai taught Hebrew. They were among the founders of Kefar Bilu (1933), later leaving to join Kefar Warburg, where they raised their two gifted sons, Ephraim (b. 1927) and Zvi (b. 1931).

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