Huberman Ben-ZviGracia

  • Issue: December 1991
  • Designer: R. Beckman
  • Sheet size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 148 - 149
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

Rahel Yanait Ben-Zvi 1886-1979

Rahel Yanait Ben-Zvi was born in 1886 in Maim, Ukraine. As a child she studied Hebrew in "heder" (hebrew classes) and later at a Russian gymnasium. In 1905 she was a delegate to the 7th Zionist Congress and a year later she participated in the founding committee of the Poalei Zion Labour party.

She immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1908 and dedicated her life to building the country. She was one ot the founders of the Hashomer Movement, edited the "Ahdut" publication of the Poalei Zion party and helped to establish the Hebrew Gymnasium high school in Jerusalem, where she then taught.

In 1911, Rahel Yanait went to France to study agronomy but, with the outbreak of World War I , she returned to Eretz Israel. During the war she helped to found the Jewish Legion whose members served with the British Army. In 1918 Rahel married lzhak Ben-Zvi, the second President of Israel.

Rahel Yanait Ben-Zvi continued her public activities after World War I. She was a founder of the Ahdut ha-Avodah Labour party which aspired to unite all the workers in Eretz Israel and the different labour movements. She was a leader of the Histadrut Workers Union and one of the first members of the Hagana.

In 1920, she helped to settle the land east of Talpiot in Jerusalem and established a girls' agricultural high school there.

Among the books that Rahel Yanait wrote were an autobiography, "Anu Ohm" (we are Immigrants) that describes characters from the Second Alyah, and "Sela Adom" (Red Rock) about a journey to Petra. Also, with her husband, she wrote "Eli", about their son who died in the Israel War of Independence.

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Dona Gracia Nasi 1510(?)-1569

The famous philanthropist, Dona Gracia, one of the first generation of Portuguese Marranos (Jewish people who were forced to practise Christianity) was born in Portugal, around 1510. In 1528 Gracia married Francisco Mendes, an international banker, also a Marrano. Eight Years after the death of her husband, she left Portugal and went to live in Antwerp. Together with her brother-in-law, Diogo, who managed a branch of Mendes's business in Antwerp, Gracia was active in trying to help the Marranos escape and to stop the activity of the Inquisition in Portugal.

After Diogo died, in 1543, Dona Gracia fled from Flanders to settle in Venice. However, the Venetian authorities were informed that Gracia was Jewish and she was immediately imprisoned only to be released after Turkish diplomats intervened, It was at this time that she became known by her Jewish name, Nasi.

In 1553 Gracia went to live in Constantinopole where she managed a profitable import business. Aside from business, she also helped to establish synagogues and centres for Torah study, and was involved in charitable activities. Gracia did not hesitate to use her connections with the Turkish Sultan to help her people. In retaliation for the burning of Marranos in Ancona, Italy, she tried to organise a boycott of the city's port and secured the intervention of the Sultan in favour of the accused who were Turkish subjects. Dona Gracia Nasi is well known for her efforts to rebuild the town, Tiberias, in Eretz Israel. She obtained rental rights for land in Tiberias and a few nearby villages from the Turkish authorities and gained special status in the area. The Jewish community in Tiberias grew and a city wall was built to defend the inhabitants. Dona Gracia knew how to use her status to help the Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel and the news of resettling the land gave hope and expectations to many Jews in the Diaspora.

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Famous women (II)