Shulamith Hareven was born to a Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland. Her parents Abraham Ryftin, a lawyer, and Natalia Wiener, a teacher, were Zionists, and the family emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1940. In 1948, at age 17, she served as a combat medic during the siege of Jerusalem in Israel's War of Independence. She was then assigned to establish Israel Defense Forces Radio, opening the station's broadcasts in 1950. She worked as a war correspondent in Israel's subsequent wars. In 1962, she published her first book, a collection of poems called Predatory Jerusalem. Jerusalem was also the subject of her first novel, City of Many Days (1972). She wrote essays, plays, and translations of books, and contributed articles about Israeli society and culture to national magazines and newspapers. She also published a thriller under the pen name "Tal Yaeri." She was the first woman inducted into the Academy of the Hebrew Language. In 1995, the French weekly L'Express listed her among the "100 women who move the world" for her peace activism. Her last book was Many Days, Autobiography (2002). She married Alouph Hareven, a social activist. Their daughter is the writer Gail Hareven.