Though they may have played important roles in helping Israel achieve statehood, these 75 people deserve recognition for what they did after Israel’s Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. Everyone on this list either is dead or has largely retired from the area of greatest influence. Those still playing an active role in shaping Israel appear on our separate list of current essential Israelis. Those whose greatest influence came before statehood appear on our list of Zionist founders.

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S.Y. Agnon, 1888-1970

Reuven Alcalay, 1907-1976

Yigal Allon, 1918-1980

Shulamit Aloni, 1928-2014

Natan Alterman, 1910-1970

Yehuda Amichai, 1924-2000

Aharon Appelfeld, 1932-2018

Gabriel Baer, 1919-1982

Aharon Barak, 1936-

Salo Wittmayer Baron, 1895-1989

Shulamit Bat-Dori, 1904-1985

Menachem Begin, 1913-1992

Dorit Beinisch, 1942-

David Ben-Gurion, 1886-1973

Miriam Ben-Porat, 1918-2012

Mordechai Bentov, 1900-1985

Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 1884-1963

Martin Buber, 1878-1965

Eli Cohen, 1924-1965

Moshe Dayan, 1915-1981

Edis De Philippe, 1912-1979

Abba Eban, 1915-2002

Eliyahu Elath, 1903-1990

Arik Einstein, 1939-2013

Shmuel Eisenstadt, 1923-2010

Levi Eshkol, 1895-1969

Amir Gilboa, 1917-1984

Leah Goldberg, 1911-1970

Gila Goldstein, 1947-2017

Leah Gottlieb, 1918-2012

Abraham Granot, 1890-1962

Gideon Hausner, 1915-1990

Ofra Haza, 1957-2000

Chaim Herzog, 1918-1997

Eliezer Hoofien, 1881-1957

David Horowitz, 1899-1979

Eli Hurvitz, 1932-2011

Salim Joubran, 1947-

Eliezer Kaplan, 1891-1952

Jacob Katz, 1904-1998

Ephraim Kishon, 1924-2005

Israel Kolatt, 1927-2007

Teddy Kollek, 1911-2007

Rabbi Moshe Levinger, 1935-2015 

Sarah Levy-Tanai, 1910-2005

Ehud Manor, 1941-2005

Golda Meir, 1898-1978

Yoni Netanyahu, 1946-1976

Ehud Olmert, 1945-

Shaike Ophir, 1928-1987

Amos Oz, 1939-2018

Shimon Peres, 1923-2016

Yehoshua Porath, 1938-2019

Yitzhak Rabin, 1922-1995

Gideon Rafael, 1913-1999

Ilan Ramon, 1954-2003

Hanna Rovina, 1888-1980

Pinhas Sapir, 1906-1975

Gershom Scholem, 1897-1982

Yitzhak Shamir, 1915-2012

Moshe Sharett, 1894-1965

Ariel Sharon, 1928-2014

Naomi Shemer, 1930-2004

Reuven Shiloah, 1909-1959

Moshe Sneh, 1909-1972

Yosef Sprinzak, 1885-1959

Chaim Topol, 1935-

Ephraim Urbach, 1912-1991

Rabbi Zerach Warhaftig, 1906-2002

Yosef Weitz, 1890-1972

Ezer Weizman, 1924-2005

Chaim Weizmann, 1874-1952

Yigael Yadin, 1917-1984

A.B. Yehoshua, 1936-2022

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, 1920-2013