The 7th International Women's Film Festival will celebrate this year 120 years for the city of Rehovot. “The Founders” is a project commemorating the women founders of Rehovot. Rehovot is one of the sole cities in Israel that were founded by women. A project of memorialization of these women will be inaugurated this year during the festival.
A short background of the first two women founders to be commemorated follows.
Thursday, 2.9.10, 20:00-21:30, Miriam Mizrahi street
Monday, 6.9.10, 20:00-21:30, Batya Makov street
Miriam Mizrahi: Miriam Mizrahi immigrated to Israel from Sa'dah in North Yemen in 1892, along with nine other families who were considered as the pioneers of Yemenite immigration to the Land of Israel. Due to the horrible distress of the first Yemenite immigrants, Miriam was forced to do the house keeping at seven years old, and work as a housemaid for Ashkenazi families as a young girl, whereas her brother was sent to learn to read and write and to study the bible. From young age Miriam was jealous of her brother and wanted more for herself. She demonstrated leadership since her childhood and thanks to charity work by people of that time she managed to acquire basic education at the house of Yesha Stamper, an Anglo-American poet and philosopher. Her strong personality made Miriam the most prominent feminist in Yemenite society. She was involved in many things: in education – she founded a philanthropic kindergarten for unfortunate families; in security – she helped the underground organizations fighters and the IDF soldiers; in welfare – she aided every person in need; and in immigration absorption – she gave advice and helped newcomers. Miriam was one of few Yemenite women of that time who decided to change their lives against tradition and contributed to the social melting pot and the creation of a bridge between East and West.
Batya Makov: Batya Makov immigrated to Israel at the age of 50 in 1891, with five of her little children. Another five children stayed in Poland. Her husband objected to this step and even summoned her to the rabbinical jurisdiction claiming she had gone crazy and asking to appoint her a guardian. But a woman like Batya is not one to fear rabbinical jurisdiction, and so she said to the rabbi: “According to Jewish law, the husband of a woman who lost her mind is freed from her without divorce, and therefore my husband is rid of me and so I am from him”. Batya came from Poland, where she leased an estate of a Russian count, including woods, orchards and three factories: cigarette, leather and brandy factories. She had always run those factories alone, being pregnant at the same time. She got to Israel with a large capital and silverware, and bought 250 dunam (a unit of area used in the Ottoman Empire) of Rehovot's lands. Batya took an active part in the life of the Rehovot. In 1891 she participated in the first general meeting of the moshava and discussed her business with the council. She did not get elected (women had no voting rights), but her firm position and status in the moshava became well known. Batya also led the resistance to Rothschild's patronage, and indeed, Rehovot still takes pride in the moshava's independence and for not having received money and charity from the baron. In Israel, she traded her business for agriculture and raised vineyards. The “Batya Makov Vineyard” was very famous in the moshava.
Thursday, 2.9.10, 20:00-21:30, Miriam Mizrahi Street
Monday, 6.9.10, 20:00-21:30, Batya Makov Street