Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Following the October 2012 dissolution of the Knesset because of an impasse over the state budget, early elections were scheduled for January 22, 2013. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believed that holding early elections at a time when he enjoyed high approval ratings in most opinion polls would lead to an easy victory for Likud and his policies. The Prime Minister also supported early elections in order to reaffirm Israeli public support for a new government’s mandate to challenge the Iranian nuclear threat. The election, however, would not follow the script that most observers believed when they were announced in October. Two unexpected events unfolded which led to a decrease in Likud’s Knesset strength. First, Likud aligned itself with the more right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party headed by the Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The two parties presented a single list to voters in the election which alienated some of Likud’s more religious supporters and some of Yisrael Beiteinu’s Russian immigrant base. Second, a new center-left party Yesh Atid led by former journalist Yair Lapid emerged with an agenda focusing on social and economic issues that appealed to younger voters. The Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu dropped its combined Knesset representation from 42 seats to 31 seats. The result, while still a victory for Netanyahu (shown in the photo thanking his supporters, photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills), was a definitive decline in seats for right-wing parties including ultra-Orthodox parties, and a surprise rise for Lapid’s Yesh Atid party which garnered 19 seats. Netanyahu struggled to form a coalition, needing eight weeks to do so before forming the 33rd government in March. Voter turnout for the election was 67.8% better than the previous two Israeli elections, but far below the norms of near 80% in the 1999 election.. The election resulted in 54 new MK’s (48 of whom were elected for the first time, including all 19 members of Yesh Atid). A record number of 27 women were elected. Despite the fact that the ultra-Orthodox parties were not included in the government, nearly one third of the MK’s elected were religious.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Important Women in Israel's History

Original Lesson Plan submitted by Brania and Danila at Atlanta Workshop June 2011
Modified by CIE Staff
Lesson Overview
Women played an important role in the creation and building of Israel during the early 20th century.  At a time when women for fighting for greater equality in many areas throughout the world, Rachel Bluwstein, Sara Aaronson, Hannah Senesh, and Golda Meir all made important contributions in areas of culture, politics, and society within different dimensions of Israel. 

Through research and role play, students can get a greater understanding of what these four women accomplished as well as the obstacles that they faced.

Students will be able to:
  • Identify and document 10 important events and or actions of their selected women's biography
  • Draw conclusions through journal writing or role play by analyzing the events of their women's biography
Curriculum/Unit Connections - This lesson plan could be used as part of the following curricular units
  • History of Israel
  • Great Jewish Women/Women in Jewish History
  • Hebrew Language
  • Israeli Culture
  • Israeli Politics
Recommended Grade Level

Recommended Settings 
Day School
Supplementary High School
Camp Activity

Learning Activities (For Day School)
Group Development and Research (one class period)
Students will be divided into working groups of 4-5 students with each group either being assigned one of the four women or choosing themselves.  (If allowing students to choose, the teacher may want to set up a system to ensure that all four are chosen)

Using computers, each group will research the biography of their woman and write down ten important events and/or actions from their women's life.

Student Projects (one-two class periods or as a homework assignment)
Each student will choose one of the ten events/actions from their list and either create a journal entry or write an interview. 

Possible leading Questions:
  • How did the environment of the region affect the event/action?
  • How did the education and experiences of the woman affect the event/action?
  • How did the events of the time affect the woman you studied and her actions?
  • What outside forces affected the actions of the woman you studied?

Journal Entry

Students will write a journal in the voice of the woman they researched.  The entry should include:
  1. Discussion of the important action/event issue and
  2. Why she chose to act in the manner that she did
Students may also chose to do an interview between their woman and a newscaster.  Interview questions should include the same information as above.

Dressing in period costumes to look like their character and or interviewer, students can present their work to the class.

  1. Additional Women to Consider Including - Henrietta Szold (although not an Israeli played an important role in the development of the state), Hanna Rovina (actress), Rivka Guber (social activist) or you could expand the lesson to include contemporary women like Tzipi Livni, Dorit Benish (former President of Israel's Supreme Court), Esther Roth-Shachamarov (former Israeli sprinter) - or even compare the roles of women in the early part of the 20th century to today.
  2. For Summer Camp, Birthright Groups or Youth Group Activity - Staff or Counselors could present themselves in a role play as the women and then lead a discussion about the importance of their contributions or you could create an 8.5" x 11" card for each woman with their picture on one side and a brief biography on the other side.  Campers could be divided into four groups and each one assigned a card with the task of creating a museum display about their woman - it could get more creative by giving each group a series of different props that they need to incorporate into their display.  Campers could then serve as docents for younger campers or other groups etc.
  3. For Supplementary Schools/Family Education - A different woman from Israel History/Jewish History could be presented each month to the students - or each family could be assigned a different woman to learn about at the beginning of the school year and then come and present that woman to the class each month
  4. For Younger Students - Introduce the women by creating a puzzle from their pictures and seeing if students can put the puzzles together.  You can then introduce them by asking them questions about the pictures:  Why do you think this woman is important?  When do you think she lived? What did she do?  After the students give their suggestions, provide information about who each woman was and why she is important.
  5. For Adult Education  - A four part series on great Israeli Women could be set up with each session being devoted to the achievements and contributions of each of these women (or others).  Participants could be asked to research 2-3 facts about the next woman to prepare for the next session and present their results
Additional Resources

Famous Women on Israeli Postage Stamps
Hand-Written Letter from Golda Meir to Baruch Zuckerman
Rachel Bluwstein at Jewish Women's Archive
Hannah Senesh at Jewish Women's Archive
Sarah Aaronsohn at Jewish Women's Archive
Golda Meir at Jewish Women's Archive
Rachel Bluwstein at Poetry International
Audio Clips of Golda Meir

This is where we could also link to relevant documents from the Document CD (which I don;t have here) and/or add a bibliography

Please Use the Comment Section to Suggest Additional Ways to Incorporate this lesson into your setting or to suggest additional variations or other women to include.