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Famous People From Israel: Who Are Nation's Most Famous Women?

Image: Famous People From Israel: Who Are Nation's Most Famous Women?
In this July 8, 1975 file photo, Golda Meir smoking. (Israel Sun/Simionski/Landov)

By    |   Sunday, 07 Sep 2014 04:57 PM

From political leaders to actresses to athletes, the nation of Israel has produced dynamic famous people, many of them women, who have served as voices to their generations. Here’s a look at some of the most famous Israeli women through the years:

Golda Meir is one of the most quoted and respected political leaders of the 20th century. Meir (1898-1978) became Israel’s first female prime minister in 1969. Meir was born in Kiev, Russia, and lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as a child. At the age of 23, Meir moved to then-Palestine where she became actively involved with the Labor Zionism movement. Meir traveled often to the U.S. to raise money and awareness for Israel.

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Natalie Portman is a critically acclaimed actress born in Israel and raised in the United States. Portman set aside her blooming film career to study psychology at Harvard University. Portman earned an Academy Award for her performance in the thriller "Black Swan" and has starred in dozens of movies and stage performances. Portman is socially active in animal and poverty rights and is married with one child.

Bar Refaeli is an Israeli-born supermodel who in 2012 landed at No. 1 on Maxim’s Hot 100 list. Refaeli became a household name in the U.S. when she began dating actor Leonardo DiCaprio in 2007. Born in 1985, Refaeli has appeared on dozens of magazine covers around the world, including the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Refaeli has served as spokesperson for numerous global brands including Southwest Airlines, Sears, Samsung, and Subaru. In addition to her modeling career, Refaeli has launched two tech companies and in 2013 began serving as co-host of "X-Factor Israel."

Tamar Katz is a three-time national Israeli figure skating champion. In 2010, Katz was the first woman to qualify a spot for Israel in ladies figure skating for the Olympic Games in Vancouver. However, Katz was unable to compete because previous standings in competitions didn’t meet requirements set by the Israeli Olympic committee. Spurred on by hundreds of fans on social media, Katz appealed the decision without success.

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Meital Dohan is best known for her role as seductress Yael Hoffman in the U.S. comedy "Weeds," but her acting career has spanned both America and her native Israel. Dohan starred as Aurora in the online dark comedy "Woke Up Dead" and played a role in the Richard Eddes thriller "Foreclosure." Dohan attended one of Israel’s most respected theater schools, the Nissan Nativ School of Acting.

Former Miss Israel Gal Gadot is best known for starring alongside Vin Diesel in 2008’s "Fast & Furious." Her acting career took off in 2007 when she appeared in the Israeli drama "Bubot," just one year after being featured in Maxim magazine. Gadot played the role of Netanya in the Steve Carrell/Tina Fey 2010 comedy "Date Night," and that same year starred with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in James Mangold’s "Knight and Day." But arguably her biggest role is yet to come — as Wonder Woman in 2016's "Batman v Superman."

Mili Avital is a native of Jerusalem with a successful film, TV, and stage career in both the United States and Israel. Avital launched her Hollywood career in the 1993 film "Stargate." Successive roles included "Dead Man" in 1995 alongside Johnny Depp, as well as 2003’s critically acclaimed "The Human Stain," and several other movies. In 2000, Avital appeared in the ABC miniseries "Arabian Nights," and on the FX television show "Damages," which ran from 2007-2012. In Israel, Avital has appeared in numerous films and television shows and received the Israeli Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

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From political leaders to actresses to athletes, the nation of Israel has produced dynamic famous people, many of them women, who have served as voices to their generations. Here's a look at some of the most famous Israeli women through the years.
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