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Rachel Cohen-Kagan

1888- 1982.

Born in Odessa (Ukraine), Rachel was a Zionist activist and Israeli politician.

Growing up in a traditional Jewish family, she studied mathematics at Odessa University and married Noah Cohen in 1913.

1919 after World War 1, she made Aliyah and joined her husband, who was already living in Mandatory Palestine.

She joined the Hebrew Women's Association, which became part of WIZO (Women's International Zionist Organization) in 1933.

As part of this movement, Rachel Cohen-Kagen was appointed to lead the Jewish welfare case in the Haifa municipality and elected to the local community committee.

In 1946, she joined The Jewish National Council. In 1948, as a member of the Council*, Rachel Cohen-Kagan signed the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel, along with 36 other signatories. Soon after, she became a member of the Provisional State Council**.

Golda Meir and Rachel Cohen-Kagen were the only women who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Cohen-Kagan signs the Israeli Declaration of independence (Source :

She actively represented women's issues in the first Knesset, from which she resigned in 1951. She then served as the chairman of the WIZO until 1961.

From 1961 to 1965, she was elected to the Fifth Knesset, on behalf of the Liberal Party.

Until she died in 1982, Rachel continued to be actively involved in the WIZO.

Streets in Ra'anana, Rishon Lezion, and Haifa are named after her.

*The Jewish National Council was part of the Assembly of Representatives of the Yishuv within Mandatory Palestine.

** The Provisional State Council was the temporary legislature of Israel from shortly before independence until the election of the first Knesset in January 1949.


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