Rachel Shalon

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Rachel Shalon (Hebrew: רחל שלון‎, born Rachel Znanmirowska) was the first woman engineer in Israel (and formerly in the British Mandate of Palestine)[1] and a professor for structural engineering.

Shalon was born in Kalush, Poland to a Hassidic family and graduated from a high school in Warsaw, following which she studied at the city's polytechnic institute. In 1925, Shalon made Aliyah to Palestine and studied structural engineering in the Technion.

From 1931 and until her retirement in 1973 Shalon was a member of the academic staff at the Technion, in the faculty for civil engineering. Over the years she was appointed as Vice President for Research, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and dean of the school for graduate studies. In 1956 Shalon was made a professor. Alongside her academic work she was a member of the Hagana organization and, upon the establishment of the State of Israel, served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces with the rank of a Major.

Shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel, Shalon was appointed as chairperson of the professional committee for building within the Scientific Council at the Prime Minister's Office. She remained in this position until 1956, quitting in protest of insufficient funds aimed at research of construction. At this time Shalon established the Building Research Station, which she headed for 20 years.

Shalon was a member of the Council for Higher Education in Israel. In 1954 she established the local chapter of Soroptimist organization,[2] later becoming president of its European federation. In 1959 Shalon was elected as president of the International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures (RILEM) and in 1962 as member of the executive in the International Council for Construction Research.

Together with her husband, engineer Uriel Shalon, she established a fund for construction of student dorms in the city.

Awards and honours[edit]

  • Honorary citizen of Haifa
  • In 1980, Shalon was among the torch lighters in the official Independence Day celebrations
  • In 1988, she received an honorary doctorate from the Technion[3]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110720064612/http://www.soroptimist-israel.org/changing_reality/thank_you.htm. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ [2] Archived July 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine