Marcia Freedman

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Marcia Freedman
Date of birth 17 May 1938
Place of birth Newark, United States
Year of aliyah 1967
Knessets 8
Faction represented in Knesset
1974–1975 Ratz
1975–1976 Ya'ad – Civil Rights Movement
1976–1977 Independent Socialist Faction

Marcia Freedman (Hebrew: מרשה פרידמן‎‎, born 17 May 1938) is an American-Israeli activist on behalf of peace, women's rights, and gay rights. In the early 1970s she helped create and lead the feminist movement in Israel. Freedman was the founding president of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom and a past president of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.[1][2]


Born in Newark in the United States, Freedman was active in the American Civil Rights Movement between 1960 and 1967. In 1967 she immigrated to Israel, and soon became involved in activism and politics. She helped found the Israeli feminist movement in 1971.

In 1973, the feminist movement decided to support Shulamit Aloni's Ratz (the Civil Rights Movement), and Freedman was given third place on the Ratz slate. The party won three seats, and Freedman was elected to the Knesset. Ratz soon merged into Ya'ad – Civil Rights Movement, but Freedman and Aryeh Eliav broke away to form the Social-Democratic Faction (later renamed the Independent Socialist Faction).

Prior to the 1977 elections Freedman formed the Women's Party,[1] though she did not stand as its candidate. The party failed to cross the 1% electoral threshold though it did succeed in attracting public support for women's issues. While a member of the Knesset, Freedman was outspoken on women's issues and brought to public attention issues that had never been discussed publicly in Israel, including domestic violence, breast cancer, rape, incest, and teenage prostitution.

Freedman helped create an advocacy and support network for women in Israel. She was a co-founder, together with Barbara Swersky and others of Israel's first shelter for battered women, established in 1977 in Haifa. Freedman left Israel and returned to the United States in 1981. She again lived in Israel from 1997 to 2002, and founded the Community of Learning Women, which provided education in women's studies and computer literacy.[1][2][3] Freedman still regularly visits Israel, and a ceremony in her honor was held in Haifa in 2007.

Freedman has written a memoir, Exile in the Promised Land. She is also the author of many articles and reviews.[1]

As of April 2008, Freedman is a member of J Street's Advisory Council.


  1. ^ a b c d "Marcia Freedman". Brit Tzedek v'Shalom. Archived from the original on 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  2. ^ a b "Marcia Freedman". Famous GLTB People. Matt & Andrej Koymasky. June 16, 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  3. ^

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