The Uniqueness of Israel
Inspiring Israeli Women
There have been many inspiring Israelis during the country’s relatively short history, and of course, many of them have been women. The first name that probably springs to mind is Golda Meir, and she was certainly a highly impressive woman.
Meir was an activist, a teacher, a politician, and famously, Israel’s fourth prime minister. She was born in Kiev before immigrating with her family to the United States and then to Mandatory Palestine with her husband. She quickly threw herself into Israeli politics and she became known as Israel’s very own “Iron Lady”. She is remembered for her no nonsense approach and remarkable leadership abilities.
Less well known is Dorit Beinisch, the first female president of Israel’s Supreme Court. She was born in Tel Aviv in 1942 and studied law in Jerusalem before she became the State Attorney (she was the first woman to do so), then a Supreme Court Judge, and then its president. She is known for not being afraid to stand up for what she believes in and for fighting for the law, even when it made her unpopular.
Another little known but hugely impressive Israeli woman is Ada Yonath, the first Israeli woman to win the Nobel Prize. She received the prize for her work on the structure of ribosome, the protein builders of the cell. Yonath studied at the Weizmann Institute of Science where she is still a leading faculty member. She won the prize in 2009, and was the first woman in 45 years to win the award in the field of chemistry.
Israel is known as the Start-up Nation and there have been plenty of impressive women involved in building the industry. Orna Berry was the founder of Ornet, the first Israeli start up to be bought by a European conglomerate. She also served as Israel’s first chief scientist. Berry is a hugely respected businesswoman and has been involved in numerous companies. She is also a passionate social activist and she has worked hard to promote the employment of Arab academics in Israel and has advocated for more women to become involved in industrial research.
One of the major issues in Israeli society is the education and integration of the ultra-orthodox. One woman who has had a huge impact in this area is Adina Bar-Shalom, the daughter of the late Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. She is an educator and social activist and is responsible for helping thousands of members of the ultra-orthodox community, and in particular woman, receive a higher education. She founded the first college for ultra-orthodox Jews in Jerusalem and works hard to overcome discrimination against ultra-orthodox women. She was awarded the Israel Prize in 2014.
Lucy Aharish is an Israeli Arab journalist and news anchor. She was born to a Muslim family in the Jewish town of Dimona and she is well known for promoting coexistence and tolerance. In 2015 Aharish was selected as one of the torch lighters at the official Independence Day ceremony, thanks to her work encouraging tolerance between Jews and Palestinians.
This is just a small selection of the many impressive women within Israeli society and there are sure to be many more in the years to come.