NAME: Cohen, Geula

LEHI ALIAS: Ilana

DATE OF BIRTH: December 25, 1925

DATE OF DEATH: December 18, 2019

Geula was born in Tel Aviv in December 1925 to her father Yosef, who made aliyah from Yemen, and her mother Miriam, born in Jerusalem’s Old City. She studied in the Balfour School in Tel Aviv, and in late 1943, she joined Lehi. Geula continued studying at the Levinsky Seminary, from which she was expelled due to her “subversive” ideas. In 1945, she left her parents’ home and went underground. Among other jobs, she was an announcer for the secret radio station. She was arrested while on the air in February 1946, then sent to Bethlehem Women’s Prison to begin a nine-year sentence. She first tried to escape but failed and was injured; her second attempt was more successful, in April 1947, aided by the Arabs of Abu Ghosh, who were Lehi supporters. Disguised as a veiled Arab woman, she managed to escape from the government-run hospital in Jerusalem.

She then returned to full duty in the underground. She married Emmanuel “Adam” Hanegbi, one of the most prominent Lehi commanders. After the State was established, she completed her studies in Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was part of the editorial board of Sullam, and she wrote the book The Story of a Fighter. (Prime Minster Ben-Gurion sent her a letter in which he wrote of Yair: “I have no doubt that he was one of the most precious and glorious personalities of the period of the British Mandate, and I respect and value, with all my heart, his poetry, the steeliness of his soul and his endless dedication to the redemption of Israel.”

Geula then dedicated herself to the struggle to bring Soviet Jews to Israel. In the early 70s, within the Herut Party, she founded the National Seminary, for studying Judaism, Zionism and the history of the underground movements IZL and Lehi.

As a Gush Emunim activist, she took a part in the settlement of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. She was elected to the Eighth Knesset on the Likud list and established the Aliyah and Absorption Committee. She served in the Knesset until 1992.     

Her opposition to the Camp David Accords led her to leave the Likud in 1978 and establish the new Tehiya Party. In order to prevent withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, she moved in 1981 to Yamit. She was the point of the spear in the opposition to the Camp David Accords and the support for settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, in particular Jewish residence in Hebron and Kfar HaShiloach. As a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, one of her initiatives was “Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel.” She founded the caucus for Jonathan Pollard. As the head of the Aliyah and Absorption Committee, she fought for the aliyah of Ethiopian Jews. In 1990, she became Deputy Science Minister in Yitzhak Shamir’s government. From late 1992, she spent some of her time living in Kiryat Arba. From the 60s until today, Geula has written a column in Maariv, and in later years she has had her own segment on Kol Israel radio.

Geula is the mother of Tzachi Hanegbi, who has served in Knesset since 1988 and as Minister of Health, Communications, Justice, the Environment, etc. She is also a grandmother.

Join our mailing list

הצטרפו לרשימת התפוצה