Ilana was born on 24.10.1934 in Raanana to Atara and Israel, one of the first settlers of the area near the Givat Chen settlement, which eventually became part of Raanana. The Yardeni family had nine children, and Ilana was the fourth among them. She studied in elementary school in Raanana and continued as more grades were added. She then studied at Levinsky Teachers Seminary in Tel Aviv and Achva College near Be’er Tuvia, where she completed her bachelor’s degree. Her father, Yisrael Yardeni, was a Lehi member; he put everything he had at the disposal of the underground, from his house to his farm. Naturally, most of his family joined him.
Ilana was part of Mahanot Olim youth movement openly, but the truth was that she had absorbed the nationalist teachings in her home and was working for Lehi like her family. They would host Lehi fugitives from the CID in their home, escapees from prisons, jails and detention camps. Ilana helped her parents care for them, whether in the house or in the orchard; they needed to be fed and carefully looked out for and warned in case of danger. Along the road near their house (in an orchard held in partnership), mounted patrols of Arab and British policeman would often pass. Their house also held arms caches; if an impromptu search was on the way, Ilana had to run to move the weapons to a hiding place outside of the house. She also was a courier, carrying messages to local underground members, as far as Ramatayim and Herzliya. She also would clean and warehouse their firearms.
When the State was established, she was still far too young to enlist in the IDF with other Lehi members. Instead, she pursued her studies, teaching in Raanana and eventually becoming a teacher and principal in Ta’ashur in the Negev. In 1955, she married Raphael Rothschild, and they had three children: Gil (now a PhD in microbiology), Natan (now a PhD in biochemistry) and Hannah (graduate of the prestigious Bezalel Art Academy).
Ilana volunteered with WIZO to help absorb those making aliyah and teach them Hebrew. She received the Aleh commendation for this.