Netiva Ben-Yehuda

Netiva Ben-Yehuda
Netiva Ben-Yehuda

Netiva Ben-Yehuda, 2008
Born 26 July 1928(1928-07-26)
Died 28 February 2011(2011-02-28) (aged 82)
Residence Israel
Nationality Israeli
Ethnicity Jewish
Occupation Author, Editor, and former soldier of the Palmach

Netiva Ben Yehuda (Hebrew: נתיבה בן-יהודה‎, b. July 1928, Tel Aviv  – d. 28 February 2011) was an Israeli author, editor and media personality. She was a commander in the pre-state Jewish underground, Palmach.



Netiva ("Tiva") Ben Yehuda was born in Tel Aviv, in Mandate Palestine, on 26 July 1928. Her father was Baruch Ben-Yehuda, director general of the first Israeli ministry of education.[1] She joined the Palmach at the age of 19 and was trained in demolition, bomb disposal, topography, and scouting. Her duties included transferring ammunition, escorting convoys, and training recruits. She commanded a sapper unit,[2] and fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.[3] She left the army in 1949.

Ben-Yehuda considered competing in discus throwing at the Olympics, but a bullet injury to her arm kept her from pursuing an athletic career.[1] She studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Ben Yehuda was a freelance editor, and in 1972 published The World Dictionary of Hebrew Slang. Between 1981 and 1991 she published her Palmah trilogy, of her own memoirs of the War of Independence[4]. She was a resident of Palmach Street in the capital, and the local cafe she patronized on that street became known as "Cafe Netiva." [5]

Ben Yehuda died on 28 February 2011 at the age of 82.

Literary and media career

Ben Yehuda wrote over 30 books, including a Hebrew slang dictionary, coauthored with Dahn Ben-Amotz. Ben-Yehuda was the host of a late-night Israel Radio show for 14 years. She played old-time Israeli songs and talked with callers. [6]

Awards and honours

In 2005, she was voted the 96th-greatest Israeli of all time, in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet to determine whom the general public considered the 200 Greatest Israelis.[8]


On the subject of the Palmach: "I don't think that there has ever been any other underground movement in the world in which 'male chauvinism' triumphed so powerfully and so proudly".[9]

Published works

  • The World Dictionary of Hebrew Slang (with Dahn Ben Amotz), Zmora Bitan, 1972 [Ha-Milon Le-Ivrit Meduberet]
  • 1948 – Between Calendars (novel), Keter, 1981 [Ben Ha-Sefirot]
  • The World Dictionary of Hebrew Slang, Part 2 (with Dahn Ben Amotz), Zmora Bitan, 1982 [Ha-Milon Le-Ivrit Meduberet II]
  • Blessings and Curses (writings), Keter, 1984 [Brachot U-Klalot]
  • Through the Binding Ropes (novel), Domino, 1985 [Mi-Bead L'Avotot]
  • Jerusalem from the Inside (novel), Edanim, 1988 [Yerushalayim Mi-Bifnocho]
  • Autobiography in Poem and Song (folk songs), Keter, 1991 [Otobiografia Be-Shir U-Zemer]
  • When the State of Israel Broke Out (novel), Keter, 1991 [Ke-She Partzah Ha-Medinah]


External links

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