Radio Host Netiva Ben Yehuda Passes on at 83

Ben Yehuda was also a poet and author who wrote of her former experiences as one of the only women to command a Palmach platoon.

Netiva Ben Yehuda, the poet, radio broadcaster and former member of the pre-state Jewish underground fighting force Palmach, has passed away at the age of 83.

Ben Yehuda was known for her coarse manner and for her love for the Palmach era, which she reminisced over on her radio show. She wrote over 30 books, including the Global Dictionary of Spoken Hebrew, which she co-authored with Dan Ben-Amotz.

netiva - Alon Levita - June 30 2008
Alon Levita

Ben Yehuda broadcast her nightly radio program "Netiva Speaks and Listens" on Israel Radio Reshet Bet for 14 years. She would play songs from the time of the founding of the state and would have conversations with callers. The program had many loyal listeners, and in the last four years it was broadcast on Reshet Gimmel.

Ben Yehuda, the daughter of Baruch Ben Yehuda (principal of the Herzliya Gymnasium High School), was one of the only women to pass a Palmach combat and command course in the 1940s. She commanded a force that fought in the Galilee during the 1948 War of Independence. She wrote a book about the events of that era entitled "Between the Spheres".

"She was a woman of certain contradictions," said journalist Yitzhak Tishler, one of her contemporaries.

"She passed a platoon commander course, but in one of her first active missions in the Galilee, she oversaw the bombing of a bus filled with civilians near Kiryat Shmona," Tishler said "After that, it took a toll on her health, psychologically. She never reconciled the attack on civilians. She was against acting unethically."