Tehiya Founder Geulah Cohen Is Born
Geula Cohen pictured during a 1988 press conference. Photo: National Library of Israel

December 25, 1925

Politician and activist Geulah Cohen, the founder of the Tehiya party, is born in Tel Aviv.

Cohen becomes involved with political movements in Mandatory Palestine when she is young, and she joins Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement. She signs up for the Irgun underground military organization in 1942, then jumps to the more extreme Lehi, known the Stern Gang, as a radio broadcaster in 1943. Lehi carries out violence against British rule in Palestine during World War II and afterward, and the British detain Cohen and send her to a women’s prison in Bethlehem in 1946. She escapes in 1947 and resumes her duties as a broadcaster.

After Israel declares independence in 1948, Cohen serves on the editorial board of Sulam, a monthly publication covering Israeli politics. She works for Sulam until 1960, when she begins to write a column for and serve on the board of the daily newspaper Ma’ariv. She stays with Ma’ariv, writing social pieces and covering politics, until 1973, when she is elected to the Knesset on the Likud list, the largest opposition party.

Cohen chairs the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee while serving with Likud, which leads the governing coalition after the 1977 election. But Cohen breaks from Likud and founds the nationalist party Banai, which becomes Tehiya (“Revival”), in 1979 in opposition to the peace treaty with Egypt. Tehiya opposes any Israeli withdrawal from areas in the Land of Israel. The party exists until 1992, the year Cohen ends her 18-year run as a Knesset member.

Cohen joins the Cabinet in 1990 as the minister of science and technology, and she plays an active role in strengthening the absorption of immigrants from Ethiopia