Israel Heads

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Female Heads of State of Israel/ Midinat Yisrael/Isra’il

Also see Israel Substates, Israel Parliament and Israel Ministers

Kingdom of Israel was divided in 928 BCE into two: Israel (Northern region, consisted of 10 tribes) and Judeah (Southern region, consisted of two tribes).

The Babylonian Talmud lists seven female Prophetesses of Israel: Sarah (wife of Abraham), Hannah (mother of Prophet Samuel), Miriam (sister of Moses), Abigail (wife of King David), Esther (Queen of Persia, Heroine of the Book of Esther), Huldah (consulted by King Josiah) and Debrah.

BCE circa 1120 Judge and Prophetess Debrah of Judeah
She was the fourth Judge and only female Judge in pre-monarchic Israel. Held her position for 40 years and led the Israeli tribes to a war with Canaan. Her story is told in the Old Testament in Judges.

BCE 911-….. Regent Queen Dowager Maacah of Southern Judeah
She was the wife or mother of King Abijam of Judeah. Following his death she reigned with his successor (her son or grandson), King Asa of Judeah, until he became of age.

BCE 873-852 Politically influential Queen Consort Jezebel of Israel
BCE 852-842 Politically influential Queen
She was the daughter of King Ithobaal I of Tyre. Married to King Ahab of Israel and continued to control the Kingdom in the reigns of her sons, Kings Ahaziah and Joram. She turned the Kingdom to desert the Lord and worship her God, Baal, and was responsible for the slaughter of the Prophets of the Lord. She was killed in a coup against Joram. Her story is told in the Old Testament in I Kings

BCE 842-37 Queen Athaliah of Judeah
She was the daughter of Ahab, King of Israel, and Jezebel. Married Jehoram, King of Judeah, and after the death of her son King Ahaziah she seized power, ruling alone for six years, the only recorded Queen of Judah. She is said to have massacred all the male members of the royal house except for a baby son of Ahaziah, Jehoash, who was concealed by her stepdaughter Jehosheba. Some years later Jehosheba and her husband, the priest Jehoiada, organized a successful coup to place Jehoash on the throne, during which Athaliah was killed. Her story is told in the Old Testament in II Kings, and II Chronicles.

BCE 598-97 Regent Queen Dowager Nehusta of Judeah
Queen Consort of her husband, King Jehoiakim. Their son, King Jeconiah, succeeded him at 18 years of age. She was deported with her son by the Babylonians three months and ten days after his succession.

BCE 76-67 Queen Salome Alexandra (Shlomtzion) of Judeah
She was Queen Consort during the reign of her husbands, Arisobulus I, and later his brother, Alexander Jannaeus. Ascended to the throne after Alexander and was succeeded at her death by her son. During her reign she led a siege against Damascus.

1128-31 Co-Ruler Princess Melisende of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
1131-45 Queen Regnant
1145-52 Regent
1157 Regent
Melisende was the daughter King Baldwin II of Jerusalem (d.1131) and his Armenian wife Morphia (d.1129). In 1128 she was designated as her father’s successor and began her reign with him. In 1129 she married Fulk V of Anjou (France). In 1131, they became joint rulers of Jerusalem until he launched a war against her. But her forces prevailedand she insisted on strong peace-terms, which included her admission to the inner councils of the kingdom. After Fulk's death Melisende became regent for her 13 year old son, Baldwin. 1145 was the year Baldwin was to celebrate the attainment of his majority. Melisende ignored the date, easing him out of every place of influence, omitting his name from public acts. Her son Baldwin would not agree to this and once again the Kingdom of Jerusalem was divided - this time between the supporters of Melisende and those of her son. The open breach between mother and son nearly became fatal to the fragile existance of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and in time a compromise was reached before open war between the two broke out. The Kingdom of Jersualem was to be divided between mother and son - Melisende would rule Judaea and Samaria, whilst her son Baldwin governed all the North. Soon, however, it was realised that the Kingdom could not be ruled in the manner and Melisende was soon deserted by nobility. Faced with this loss of support, she finally yielded to her son Baldwin in around 1152. Even though she retained Nablus as part of the settlement, she retired from politics, though she did remained her son's closest adviser. When her son Baldwin was absent during the many wars that plagued the Kingdom, Melisende acted a regent. She lived (1105-60/61)

1185-92 Queen Sibylla d’Anjou
She succeded her son, Baldwin V and ruled jointly with husband prince Guy de Lusignan of Cyprus. She was crowned Sibylla as Queen and then immediately herself crowned Guy as King.
1190-1205 Queen Isabella I de Lusignan of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
The first two years she claimed the throne from her sister. Ruled jointly together with three husbands. Her first husband was Conrad de Montferrat, with whom she had her first daughter, Maria. Her second husband and co-ruler was Henri de Champagne (1192), father of Alice and Philippa. Her third husband was Amalric de Lusignan, father of Sibylla and Melisende and a son. The son died in 1205, afterwards her husband and then she self died. Succeded by oldest daughter. Lived (1172-1205).
1205-13 Queen Maria I de Montferrat of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Maria succeeded to throne of Jerusalem aged 13. The regent was John of Ibelin, Lord of Beirut (her mother Isabella's half-brother). When Maria came of age at the age of 17 in 1208, she assumed the throne in her own right. The nobles of Outremer decided though that she was rather young and the Jerusalem should be ruled by a man and so the search went out for a suitable husband for this young woman. In 1210 she married Jean de Brienne. Maria gave birth to a daughter, Isabella/Yolanda in 1212 and died shortly after and her husband, Jean de Brienne, became regent for daughter in Jerusalem until 1225. Lived (1192-1212).

1212-44 Queen Yolande (Isabella II) de Brienne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Ruled jointly with husband, Emperor Friedrich II Hohenstaufen of Germany. Through their marriage she was Empress of the Roman Empire and Queen Consort of Sicily. In 1244 the Osman Turks concqured the state, and the capital of the Kingdom moved to Acre.

1243-46 (†) Regent Queen Alice de Champagne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Cyprus
She was the daughter of Queen Isabella and her second husband Henry of Champagne. She was the sister of Philippa of Champagne, and half sister of Maria of Montferrat, and Sibylla and Melisende of Lusignan. 1208 Alice married Hugh of Cyprus. He took over the government of Cyprus in 1210/11 from his sister Burgundia and her husband Gautier de Montbeliard, who were regents during his minority. After the sudden death of her husband Hugh at Tripoli in 1218 Alice acted as regent for her 8 month old son Henry in Cyprus. In 1223 she married Bohemond V of Antiochia. In Jerusalem, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor was recognized as suzerain but not regent of Cyprus in 1228 in his capacity as the husband of the young Queen Yolanda. On the death of Yolanda, Alice travelled to Acre to put forward her claim to Crown of Jerusalem (1229). By now Alice was divorced on grounds of consanguinity (she and Bohemond were third cousins), and her claims to the throne of Jerusalem were rejected. Alice became reconciled with her Ibelin cousins. She married Ralph, Count of Soissons in 1240. As she was the great-aunt of King Conrad of Germany, who succeeded to the throne of Jerusalem but who had failed to come East to accept throne, Alice was entrusted with regency of Jerusalem, which passed to her son and heir Henry, King of Cyprus, on her death. She lived (1193-1246)

See Titular Queens of Jerusalem

1968 Acting President of the State of Israel Dvorah Netzer
As Deputy Speaker of the Knesset (1965-69) from the ruling party of Mapai, she was elected as acting Speaker at his absence. She served as Acting Head of State as both the President and Knessent Speaker was absent from the country.

2006-09 Deputy Head of State Dalia Itzik of the State of Ireael
2007 Acting President (25.01-15.07)
As Speaker of the Knesset 2006-09 she was also Deputy Head of State. Former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem in charge of Education, Labour Member of the Knesset 1992-2005, Minister of Environment 1999-2001, Minister of Trade and Industry 2001-02, Group Chairperson of Labour 2003-05 and Minister of Communication in 2005. She joined Kadima, a new party formed by Ariel Sharon in 2006. She became Acting President when the President was given absence of leave because of accusations of rape and other offences, until a successor was elected. Chairperson of the Kadima Knesset Group 2009-13 and and Presidential Candidate in 2014. (b. 1952-).


 Last update 12.06.14