‘Valley of Strength’: Feminism in the Zionist narrative – Israel in Translation


Poet, novelist, and playwright Shulamit Lapid was born in Tel Aviv in 1934. She is the mother of Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid. All of her novels, with one exception, feature female protagonists, and most address social issues and ethnic discrimination.

Shulamit Lapid’s novel Valley of Strength, turned into a film by Dan Wolman in 2010, depicts the first seven years of the Gai Oni agricultural settlement, later renamed ‘Rosh Pina’ or ‘Corner Stone’ after Psalm 118: 22: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.”

Valley of Strength is one of the first ‘Feminist’ novels written in Hebrew. It follows Fania, a 16-year-old survivor of a pogrom in the Ukraine. She arrives in Jaffa with her uncle, her brother, and her baby daughter, the product of rape.  She enters the male-dominated world of commerce and politics. Dressed as a man she travels alone and defends herself, even after her marriage of convenience to a widower with children.

Marcela Sulak reads from one of the opening scenes, when Fania first glimpses Gai Oni.

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Shulamit Lapid, Valley of Strength. Translated Philip Simpson. Toby Press, 2009.



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