Geulah Cohen

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Geulah Cohen
Geulah Cohen D126-118.jpg
Date of birth (1925-12-25) 25 December 1925 (age 92)
Place of birth Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine
Knessets 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Faction represented in Knesset
1974–1979 Likud
1979–1992 Tehiya

Geulah Cohen (Hebrew: גאולה כהן‬, born 25 December 1925) is former Israeli politician and activist who founded the Tehiya party. She won the Israel Prize in 2003.


Geulah Cohen was born in Tel Aviv to a Mizrahi-Jewish family (from Yemen, Morocco, and Turkey) during the Mandate era. Her family was from the city of Urmia. She studied at the Levinsky Teachers Seminary, and earned a master's degree in Jewish Studies, Philosophy, Literature and Bible at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.[1]

Geula Cohen 1948.jpg

In 1942 she joined the Irgun, and moved to Stern gang (Lehi) the following year.[2][3][4] A radio announcer for the group, she was arrested by the British authorities in 1946.[5] She was imprisoned in Bethlehem, but escaped from jail in 1947.[5] She was also editor of the Lehi newspaper Youth Front. After Israeli independence in 1948, she contributed to Sulam, a monthly magazine published by former Lehi leader Israel Eldad.

Cohen married former Lehi comrade Emanuel Hanegbi.[6] From 1961 to 1973, she wrote for the Israeli newspaper Maariv and served on its editorial board.[7] While working as a journalist, she came to New York to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Schneerson encouraged her to get involved with Israeli youth.[8]

In the early 1970s, she, together with Yitzhak Shamir, and other right-wing Israelis, some of whom were in the Mossad, persuaded Meir Kahane to target Soviet representatives in the US. The goal was to strain the relations between the USSR and the United States, thereby leading to an increase in the Jewish emigration from the USSR.[9]

Political career[edit]

In 1972, Cohen joined Menachem Begin's Herut party,[5] then part of the Gahal alliance, and was elected to the Knesset the following year, by which time Gahal had become Likud. She was re-elected in 1977.[10]

As an opponent of the Camp David Accords and the return of Sinai to Egypt as a land-for-peace deal, even to the extent of being thrown out of the Knesset when Begin presented to it the deal,[5] Cohen and Moshe Shamir left Likud in 1979 to found a new right-wing party Banai, later Tehiya-Bnai, and then Tehiya. The new party was a strong supporter of Gush Emunim and included prominent members of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza such as Hanan Porat and Elyakim Haetzni.[11]

Cohen retained her seat in the 1981 elections, and despite their previous differences, Tehiya joined Begin's coalition. She retained her seat elections in 1984 and 1988, and in June 1990, following a coalition crisis, was appointed to the cabinet as Deputy Minister of Science and Technology.[12]

Cohen lost her seat in the 1992 elections. That year, she rejoined Likud and remained active in right-wing politics. Her son, Tzachi Hanegbi, served as a Knesset member for Likud.

Views and opinions[edit]

Cohen opposes territorial concessions. She was a vocal critic of the Camp David Accords in 1978 and of disengagement plan from Gaza in 2005.[13] She has described herself as a "woman of violence" in the pursuit of political ends.[14]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • In 2003, Cohen was awarded the Israel Prize for her lifetime achievements and special contribution to society and the State of Israel.[15][16]
  • In 2007, she received the Yakir Yerushalayim (Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem) award from the city of Jerusalem.[17]

Published work[edit]


  1. ^ Atkins, S.E. (2004). Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups. Greenwood Press. p. 66. ISBN 9780313324857. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  2. ^ BenDov, H. Nobody Wants To Die. PublishAmerica. ISBN 9781456081942. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  3. ^ Heller, J. (1995). The Stern Gang: Ideology, Politics, and Terror, 1940-1949. F. Cass. p. 265. ISBN 9780714645582. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d "Fighter in the Promised Land, Geula Cohen and the New Zionism", 11 Oct 1978
  6. ^ Bowker-Saur (1991). Who's Who of Women in World Politics. Bowker-Saur. ISBN 9780862916275. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  7. ^ Viorst, M. (1987). Sands of Sorrow: Israel's Journey from Independence. Tauris. p. 216. ISBN 9781850430643. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  8. ^ "If I Forget Thee, Oh Jerusalem… - Program Three Hundred Twenty Seven - Living Torah – Geulah Cohen". Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  9. ^ [2], By Robert I Friedman, October 1988, The Nation
  10. ^ Gorenberg, G. (2007). The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977. Henry Holt and Company. p. 281. ISBN 9780805082418. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  11. ^ Tessler, M.A. (1994). A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Indiana University Press. p. 646. ISBN 9780253208736. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  12. ^ Lochery, N. (1997). The Israeli Labour Party: In the Shadow of the Likud. Ithaca Press. p. 184. ISBN 9780863722172. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  14. ^ Cohen 1966
  15. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site (in Hebrew) – Recipient's C.V." 
  16. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site (in Hebrew) – Judges' Rationale for Grant to Recipient". 
  17. ^ "Recipients of Yakir Yerushalayim award (in Hebrew)". Archived from the original on 2011-06-17.  City of Jerusalem official website

External links[edit]