Anita Shapira

Shapira headshot
Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1940, Anita Shapira arrived in Palestine in 1947, and grew up in Tel Aviv. She studied history and Jewish history at Tel Aviv University, earning her Ph.D. in 1974 under Professor Daniel Carpi. Her dissertation, “The Struggle for Hebrew Labor, 1929-1939,” indicated her interest in the history of the Labor Zionist movement, which was to be a continuing focus of her research. Shapira became an assistant professor at Tel Aviv University in 1969 and a full professor in 1985. She was dean of its Faculty of Humanities (1990-95), held the Ruben Merenfeld Chair for the Study of Zionism (1995-2009), was head of the Chaim Weizmann Institute for the Study of Zionism and Israel (2000-12), and was a director at the Israel Democracy Institute (2008-13).

Shapira also was a member of the Planning and Budgeting Commission of the Council for Higher Education in Israel (1985-89), chaired the board of Am Oved publishing house (1987-90), was president of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture (2002–08) and has been a board member of the Zalman Shazar Institute since 1988. She founded the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies and was its first director (1996–99). She is academic co-editor of Yale University Press’s biography series “Jewish Lives” and of the
Journal of Israeli History, and served on the editorial board of the Jewish Review of Books.

Shapira’s books include a biography of
Zionist socialist leader Berl Katznelson, which was so widely acclaimed when it appeared as the first academic biography published in Israel that Shapira became overnight a famous scholar in Israel; Land and Power: The Zionist Resort to Force, 1881-1948 and biographies of Palmach leader Yigal Allon, of the revered writer Yosef Hayyim Brenner, who was murdered by Arab assailants at the age of 40, and of David Ben Gurion; all were also published in English. She also wrote Israel: A History, a comprehensive book on the history of Israel. She won many prizes, including the Israel Prize in 2008. She was elected to the Israeli Academy of Science in 2021.

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Berl eBook cover Land and Power eBook cover 2