Esther Herlitz

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Esther Herlitz
EstherHerlitz.jpg
Date of birth 9 October 1921
Place of birth Berlin, Germany
Year of aliyah 1933
Date of death 24 March 2016(2016-03-24) (aged 94)
Knessets 8, 9
Faction represented in Knesset
1974–1977 Alignment
1979–1981 Alignment

Esther Herlitz (Hebrew: אסתר הרליץ‎, 9 October 1921 – 24 March 2016) was an Israeli diplomat and politician who served as a member of the Knesset for the Alignment between 1973 and 1977 and again from 1979 until 1981. She was also Israel's first female ambassador, having been appointed as the country's ambassador to Denmark in 1966.[1]

Biography[edit]

Born in Berlin in Germany in 1921, Herlitz migrated with her family to Mandatory Palestine in 1933. Her father, historian George Herlitz, founded the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem. She attended high school in Jerusalem, first at the Gymnasia Rehavia, and later at the Hebrew University Secondary School. She also studied at a teachers seminary and the Foreign Service school. She joined the Haganah while serving as an officer in the British Army,[2] and later served in the Israel Defense Forces.[3]

In 1948 she began working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was involved in negotiating the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany.[3] She served as consul to New York between 1955 and 1958, and as ambassador to Denmark from 1966 until 1971, as well as on several missions to the United Nations.[4] She was director of public relations for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 1960s,[5] and was regarded as a pioneer in building the relationship between American Jews and Israel.[3]

Herlitz was also a member of Tel Aviv City Council, and chaired its culture committee between 1960 and 1964. In 1972 she founded the Centre for Volunteer Services, and the following year was elected to the Knesset on the Alignment list. She lost her seat in the 1977 elections, but returned to the Knesset on 14 August 1979 as a replacement for the deceased Yehoshua Rabinovitz.[6] She lost her seat again in the 1981 elections.

Between 1977 and 1981 Herlitz served as secretary of the Tel Aviv branch of Na'amat, and was also on the organisation's central committee.[4] In 2015 she was awarded the Israel Prize for her "unique contribution to society and the state".[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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