Manya Shochat Figurine
Manya Shochat (1878-1961) | Pioneer, founder of the first agricultural collective in Eretz Israel, and the Jewish defense organization Hashomer. Born Mania Wilbushevich in Belarus to a wealthy, educated family. From youth, she was exposed to the Jewish labor movement, following which she joined the Bund and was even imprisoned by the Tsarist police for her subversive activities. Shochat founded the "Jewish Independent Labor Party" and helped convene the "Minsk Conference". In 1904 she immigrated to Eretz Israel, raised funds for the Yishuv and smuggled weapons. Shochat founded the first agricultural collective on the Sajra farm, from which emerged the "Bar Giora" organization founded by her husband Israel Shochat, with whom she later founded "Hashomer". During WWI, the couple was deported to Turkey by the Ottomans. On their return, Shochat was among the founders of Gdud HaAvoda, helped in smuggling illegal immigrants (Maapilim) and raised money worldwide, also for the establishment of Bank Hapoalim. She was one of the leaders of Kfar Giladi and worked extensively for Jewish-Arab cooperation. Died in Tel Aviv at the age of 81.