World WIZO Honorary President
It is with shock, and deep sadness, that we announce the passing away of our beloved Michal Modai, z”l, Third President of World WIZO, on Friday, 2nd March.
Michal Modai z”l
Michal Modai,, a seventh generation sabra, was born in Jerusalem to one of Israel’s oldest families, the Solomon family.Mr Yoel Moshe Solomon, an ancestor of hers, was one of the founders of Petach Tikva in the 19th century.
Michal was married to the late Yitzhak Modai, a former Minister of Finance, and they have a son and daughter and seven grandchildren.
Michal was a graduate of the Evelina de Rothschild School, Jerusalem and then continued to the David Yellin Teachers Training College, Jerusalem. After finishing her studies, she worked as a kindergarten teacher at an immigrant camp near Zichron Yaacov.This was her first encounter with the distress of the new immigrants where she saw the need for the veteran society of Israel to give a helping hand to these newcomers.
In 1968 Michal was elected as Chairperson of the Herzliah-Pituach WIZO branch, and concentrated the majority of her activities giving assistance to the residents of Neve Israel, an underprivileged suburb of Herzlia, which is mainly populated by new immigrants.
From 1974 to 1979 Michal served as Deputy Chairperson of WIZO Israel.Amongst her many other activities,she headed a campaign which succeeded in enlisting some 10,000 women, of all ages and from different social back-grounds into the Israeli Defence Forces in an annual voluntary service of a few weeks.
From 1979 to 1984 Michal held the office of Chairperson of WIZO Israel. She initiated the establishment of WIZO’s first shelter for battered women which opened its doors in 1983.From 1980 to 1984 she also served as Vice-Chairperson of the World WIZO Executive.
In 1984 Michal was elected as Chairperson of World WIZO Executive. That same year she was nominated as a member of the Presidium of the Zionist General Council and member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency
In January 1996, Michal Modai was elected to the position of President of World WIZO. In 1997 Michal was appointed as a member of the Executive of the World Zionist Organization and in 1998 she was appointed Co-Chairman of the Planning Committee of the Jewish Agency Assembly and in 2000 she was appointed member of the Executive of the World Jewish Congress.
In 2004, after concluding two terms as President of World WIZO, she served as Honorary Life President. That same year, 2004, she was nominated Chairperson of the Council of Womens Organization in Israel for a three year term of office.
Michal was loved by all who knew her, and all who had the privilege to meet her.