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Golda Meir
גולדה מאיר

In office
17 March 1969 – 3 June 1974
Preceded by Levi Eshkol
Succeeded by Yitzhak Rabin

In office
18 June 1956 – 12 January 1966
Preceded by Moshe Sharett
Succeeded by Abba Eban

Born 3 May 1898(1898-05-03)
Kiev, Russian Empire
Died 8 December 1978 (aged 80)
Jerusalem, Israel
Political party Mapai, Alignment, Labor
Religion Judaism

Golda Meir (pronounced [ɡolˈda meˈʔiʁ],[1] Hebrew: גּוֹלְדָּה מֵאִיר‎, born Golda Mabovitch, 3 May 1898 – 8 December 1978, known as Golda Meyerson from 1917–56) was the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on 17 March 1969,[2] after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. Israel's first and the world's third female to hold such an office, she was described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.[3] Former prime minister David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir "the best man in the government"; she was often portrayed as the "strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people".[4]



Meir was born Golda Mabovitch (Ukrainian: Голда Мабович) in Kiev in the Russian Empire (today Ukraine) to Blume Neiditch and Moshe Mabovitch, a carpenter. Meir wrote in her autobiography that her earliest memories were of her father boarding up the front door in response to rumors of an imminent pogrom. She had two sisters, Sheyna and Tzipke, as well as five other siblings who died in childhood. She was especially close to Sheyna. Moshe Mabovitch left to find work in New York City in 1903.[5] In his absence, the rest of the family moved to Pinsk to join her mother's family. In 1905, Moshe moved to Milwaukee in search of higher-paying work and found employment in the workshops of the local railroad yard. The following year, he had saved up enough money to bring his family to the United States.

Blume ran a grocery store on Milwaukee's north side, where by age eight Golda had been put in charge of watching the store when her mother went to the market for supplies. Golda attended the Fourth Street Grade School (now Golda Meir School) from 1906 to 1912. A leader early on, she organized a fundraiser to pay for her classmates' textbooks. After forming the American Young Sisters Society, she rented a hall and scheduled a public meeting for the event. She went on to graduate valedictorian of her class despite not knowing English at the beginning of her schooling.

1914 photo of Meir in Milwaukee

At 14, she went to North Division High School and worked part-time. Her mother wanted her to leave school and marry, but she rebelled. She bought a train ticket to Denver, Colorado, and went to live with her married sister, Sheyna Korngold. The Korngolds held intellectual evenings at their home where Meir was exposed to debates on Zionism, literature, women's suffrage, trade unionism and more. In her autobiography, she wrote: "To the extent that my own future convictions were shaped and given form... those talk-filled nights in Denver played a considerable role." In Denver, she also met Morris Meyerson, a sign painter, whom she later married at the age of 19.[6]

She attended the Milwaukee Normal School (now University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee) in 1916, and probably part of 1917. The same year, she took a position at a Yiddish-speaking Folks Schule. While at the Folks Schule, she came more closely into contact with the ideals of Labor Zionism. In 1913, she began dating Morris Meyerson, and they married on 24 December 1917. She was a committed Labor Zionist and he was a dedicated socialist. Together, they left their jobs to join a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921. She gradually became more involved with the Zionist movement. At the end of World War II, she took part in the negotiations with the British that resulted in the creation of the state of Israel. In 1948, she became Israel's first ambassador to the Soviet Union. That position lasted seven months, and she returned to Israel in 1949 to become Minister of Labor. In 1956, she became Foreign Minister, and served in this capacity until her retirement in 1965. She changed her name from "Meyerson" to "Meir" in 1956.

On 26 February 1969, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol died of a heart attack, at which time many members of the Knesset asked Meir to return to politics. She became prime minister of Israel with the Labor Party's support. Meir's greatest crisis came during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. While prime minister, she spent much of her time developing support for Israel by meeting with western leaders. In 1974, the labor coalition broke up and Meir left office. She died four years later.

Zionist activism

In 1913, she returned to North Division High School in Milwaukee, graduating in 1915. While there, she became an active member of Young Poale Zion, which later became Habonim, the Labor Zionist youth movement. She spoke at public meetings, embraced Socialist Zionism and hosted visitors from Palestine.

After graduating from the Milwaukee State Normal School (a predecessor of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee), she taught in Milwaukee public schools. She formally joined Poale Zion in 1915.

Golda and Morris married in 1917. Settling in Palestine was her precondition for the marriage.[4] Golda had intended to make Aliyah straight away but her plans were disrupted due to all transatlantic passenger services being canceled due to the first world war. Instead she threw her energies into Poale Zion activities.[7] A short time after their wedding, she embarked on a fundraising campaign for Poale Zion that took her across the United States.[4] Finding herself pregnant, she underwent an abortion because she felt "her Zionist obligations simply did not leave room for a child."[4] The couple moved to Palestine in 1921 together with her sister Sheyna.

Aliyah to Palestine

Golda Meir in the fields at Merhavia

In Palestine, the couple joined a kibbutz. Their initial application to kibbutz Merhavia in the Jezreel Valley was rejected, but in the end they were accepted. Her duties included picking almonds, planting trees, working in the chicken coops and running the kitchen. Recognizing her leadership abilities, the kibbutz chose her as its representative to the Histadrut, the General Federation of Labour. In 1924, she and her husband left the kibbutz and resided briefly in Tel Aviv before settling in Jerusalem. There they had two children, a son Menachem (born 1924) and a daughter Sarah (born 1926). In 1928, she was elected secretary of Moetzet HaPoalot (Working Women's Council), which required her to spend two years (1932–34) as an emissary in the United States.[8] The children went with her, but Morris stayed in Jerusalem. Morris and Golda grew apart and eventually divorced.[4] Morris died in 1951.

Histadrut activities

In 1934, when Meir returned from the United States, she joined the Executive Committee of the Histadrut and moved up the ranks to become head of its Political Department. This appointment was important training for her future role in Israeli leadership.[9]

In July 1938, Meir was the Jewish observer from Palestine at the Évian Conference, called by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to discuss the question of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. Delegates from the 32 invited countries repeatedly expressed their sorrow for the plight of the European Jews but made excuses as to why their countries could not help by admitting the refugees. The only exception was the Dominican Republic, which pledged to accept 100,000 refugees on generous terms.[10] Meir was disappointed at the outcome and remarked to the press, "There is only one thing I hope to see before I die and that is that my people should not need expressions of sympathy anymore."[6]

Pre-state political role

In June 1946, the British cracked down on the Zionist movement in Palestine, arresting many leaders of the Yishuv. They had been provoked by paramilitary Zionist activities.[11] Meir took over as acting head of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency during the incarceration of Moshe Sharett. Thus she became the principal negotiator between the Jews in Palestine and the British Mandatory authorities. After his release, Sharett went to the United States to attend talks on the UN Partition Plan, leaving Meir to head the Political Department until the establishment of the state in 1948.[9]

In January 1948, the treasurer of the Jewish Agency was convinced that Israel would not be able to raise more than $7–8 million from the American Jewish community.[4] Meir traveled to the United States and managed to raise $50 million, which was used to purchase arms in Europe for the nascent state.[4] Ben-Gurion wrote that Meir's role as the "Jewish woman who got the money which made the state possible", would go down one day in the history books.[4]

On 10 May 1948, four days before the official establishment of the state, Meir traveled to Amman disguised as an Arab woman for a secret meeting with King Abdullah of Transjordan at which she urged him not to join the other Arab countries in attacking the Jews. Abdullah asked her not to hurry to proclaim a state. Golda, known for her acerbic wit, replied: "We've been waiting for 2,000 years. Is that hurrying?"[12]

As head of the Jewish Agency Political Department, Meir called the mass exodus of Arabs before the War of Independence in 1948 as "dreadful" and likened it to what had befallen the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.[13]

Ministerial career

Meir was one of twenty-four signatories (two of them women) of the Israeli declaration of independence on 14 May 1948. She later recalled, "After I signed, I cried. When I studied American history as a schoolgirl and I read about those who signed the Declaration of Independence, I couldn't imagine these were real people doing something real. And there I was sitting down and signing a declaration of establishment." Israel was attacked the next day by the joint armies of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, and Iraq in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.


Ambassador to Moscow

Armed with the first Israeli-issued passport,[14][15] Meir was appointed Israel's ambassador to the Soviet Union. During her brief stint there, which ended in 1949, she attended high holiday services at the synagogue in Moscow, where she was mobbed by thousands of Russian Jews chanting her name. The Israeli 10,000 shekel banknote issued in November 1984 bore a portrait of Meir on one side and the image of the crowd that turned out to cheer her in Moscow on the other.[16]

Labour minister

In 1949, Meir was elected to the Knesset as a member of Mapai and served continuously until 1974. From 1949 to 1956, she served as Minister of Labour, introducing major housing and road construction projects.[17] In 1955, on Ben Gurion's instructions, she stood for the position of mayor of Tel Aviv. She lost by the two votes of the religious bloc who withheld their support on the grounds that she was a woman.[18]

Foreign minister

In 1956, she became Foreign Minister under Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Her predecessor, Moshe Sharett, had asked all members of the foreign service to Hebraicize their last names. Upon her appointment as foreign minister, she shortened "Meyerson" to "Meir", which means "illuminate." As Foreign Minister, Meir promoted ties with the newly-established states in Africa in an effort to gain allies in the international community.[17] But she also believed that Israel had experience in nation-building that could be a model for the Africans. In her autobiography, she wrote: "Like them, we had shaken off foreign rule; like them, we had to learn for ourselves how to reclaim the land, how to increase the yields of our crops, how to irrigate, how to raise poultry, how to live together, and how to defend ourselves." Israel could be a role model because it "had been forced to find solutions to the kinds of problems that large, wealthy, powerful states had never encountered."[19]

On 29 October 1957 she was slightly injured in the foot when a 'Mills grenade' was thrown into the debating chamber of the Knesset. David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Carmel were more seriously injured. The attack was carried out by 25 year old Moshe Ben Yaakov Dueg. Born in Aleppo, his motives were attributed to a dispute with the Jewish Agency, though he was also described as 'mentally unbalanced'.[20]

In 1958, she was recorded as having praised the work of Pope Pius XII on behalf of the Jewish people shortly after the pontiff's death. Pope Pius's legacy as a wartime pope remains controversial to this day.[21]

The same year, during the wave of Jewish migration from Poland to Israel, Meir sought to prevent handicapped and sick Polish Jews from immigrating to Israel. In a letter sent to Israel's ambassador in Warsaw, Katriel Katz, she wrote: "A proposal was raised in the coordination committee to inform the Polish government that we want to institute selection in aliyah, because we cannot continue accepting sick and handicapped people. Please give your opinion as to whether this can be explained to the Poles without hurting immigration."[22]

In the early 1960s, Meir was diagnosed with lymphoma. In January 1966, she retired from the Foreign Ministry, citing exhaustion and ill health, but soon returned to public life as secretary general of Mapai, supporting the Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, in party conflicts.[17]

Prime minister

Meir (center) with Pat and Richard Nixon in 1973.

After Levi Eshkol's sudden death on 26 February 1969, the party elected Meir as his successor.[23] Meir came out of retirement to take office on 17 March 1969, serving as prime minister until 1974. Meir maintained the coalition government formed in 1967, after the Six-Day War, in which Mapai merged with two other parties (Rafi and Ahdut HaAvoda) to form the Israel Labour party.[17]

In 1969 and the early 1970s, Meir met with many world leaders to promote her vision of peace in the Middle East, including Richard Nixon (1969), Nicolae Ceausescu (1972) and Pope Paul VI (1973). In 1973, she hosted the chancellor of West Germany, Willy Brandt in Israel.[17]

In August 1970, Meir accepted a U.S. peace initiative that called for an end to the War of Attrition and an Israeli pledge to withdraw to "secure and recognized boundaries" in the framework of a comprehensive peace settlement. The Gahal party quit the national unity government in protest, but Meir continued to lead the remaining coalition.[24]

Munich Olympics

In the wake of the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics, Meir appealed to the world to "save our citizens and condemn the unspeakable criminal acts committed."[25] Outraged at the perceived lack of global action, she ordered the Mossad to hunt down and assassinate the Black September and PFLP operatives who took part in the massacre.[26] The 1986 TV film Sword of Gideon, based on the book Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team by George Jonas, and Steven Spielberg's movie Munich (2005) were based on these events.

Yom Kippur War

In the days leading up to the Yom Kippur War, Israeli intelligence was not able to determine conclusively that an attack was imminent. However, on 5 October 1973, Meir received official news that Syrian forces were massing on the Golan Heights. The prime minister was alarmed by the reports, and felt that the situation reminded her of what happened before the Six Day War. Her advisers, however, assured her not to worry, saying that they would have adequate notice before a war broke out. This made sense at the time, since after the Six Day War, most Israelis felt it unlikely that Arabs would attack again. Consequently, although a resolution was passed granting her power to demand a full-scale call-up of the military (instead of the typical cabinet decision), Meir did not mobilize Israel's forces early. Soon, though, war became very clear. Six hours before the outbreak of hostilities, Meir met with Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan and general David Elazar. While Dayan continued to argue that war was unlikely and thus was in favor of calling up the air force and only two divisions, Elazar advocated launching a full-scale pre-emptive strike on Syrian forces.[27]

Meir sided with Dayan, citing Israel's need for foreign aid. She believed that Israel could not depend on European countries to supply Israel with military equipment, and the only country that might come to Israel's assistance was the United States. Fearing that the U.S. would be wary of intervening if Israel were perceived as initiating the hostilities, Meir decided against a pre-emptive strike. She made it a priority to inform Washington of her decision. Then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger later confirmed Meir's assessment by stating that if Israel had launched a pre-emptive strike, Israel would not have received "so much as a nail."[28]


Following the Yom Kippur War, Meir's government was plagued by in-fighting and questions over Israel's lack of preparedness for the war. The Agranat Commission appointed to investigate the war cleared her of "direct responsibility", and related to her actions on Yom Kippur morning;

she decided wisely, with common sense and speedily, in favour of the full mobilization of the reserves, as recommended by the chief-of-staff, despite weighty political considerations, thereby performing a most important service for the defence of the state.[28]

Her party won the elections in December 1973, but she resigned on 11 April 1974, bowing to what she felt was the "will of the people." and what she felt was a sufficient premiership as well as the pending pressures of forming a coalition; "Five years are sufficient...It is beyond my strength to continue carrying this burden."[28][29]Yitzhak Rabin succeeded her on 3 June 1974.

In 1975, she published her autobiography, My Life.[28][30]


On 8 December 1978, Meir died of lymphatic cancer in Jerusalem at the age of 80. She was buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on 12 December 1978.


In 1975, Meir was awarded the Israel Prize for her special contribution to society and the State of Israel.[28][31]

Golda Meir's grave on Mount Herzl

Portrayals in film and theater

Meir's story has been the subject of many fictionalized portrayals. In 1977, Anne Bancroft played Meir in William Gibson's Broadway play Golda. The Australian actress Judy Davis played a young Meir in the television film A Woman Called Golda (1982), opposite Leonard Nimoy. Ingrid Bergman played the older Golda in the same film. In 2003, the American Jewish actress Tovah Feldshuh portrayed her on Broadway in Golda's Balcony, Gibson's second play about Meir's life. The one-woman show was controversial in its implication that Meir considered using nuclear weapons during the Yom Kippur War. Valerie Harper portrayed her in the touring company and in the film version of Golda's Balcony.[32] Supporting actress Colleen Dewhurst portrayed her in the 1986 TV-movie Sword of Gideon.[33] In 2005, actress Lynn Cohen portrayed Meir in Steven Spielberg's film Munich. Later on, Tovah Feldshuh assumed her role once again in the 2006 English-speaking French movie O Jerusalem. She is being played by the Polish actress Beata Fudalej in the 2009 film The Hope by Márta Mészáros.[34]


Memorial plaque in Kiev
Golda Meir Square is designated in New York City south of Times Square.

Cultural references

In Israel, the term "Golda's shoes" (na'alei Golda), a reference to the sturdy orthopedic shoes that Golda favored, has become a euphemism for all that is ugly and old-fashioned.[39]

Published works

  • This is Our Strength (1962) – Golda Meir's collected papers
  • My Father's House (1972)
  • My Life (1975). Putnam, ISBN 0-399-11669-9.

See also


  1. ^ Golda Meir Center (Reference on name pronunciation)
  2. ^ Golda Meir becomes Israeli Prime Minister, History Today]
  3. ^ Golda Meir, a BBC News profile.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Mother of a nation, but not much of a mother Haaretz, 7 July 2008
  5. ^ Golda Meir’s American Roots
  6. ^ a b c Golda Meir: An Outline Of A Life Metropolitan State College of Denver
  7. ^ Elinor Burkett Golda Meir; The Iron Lady of the Middle East, Gibson Square, ISBN 978-1-906142-13-1 p. 37.
  8. ^ Golda Meir, Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel, ed. Raphael Patai, New York, 1971, vol.II, pp. 776–77
  9. ^ a b "Golda Meir", Encyclopedia Judaica, Keter, 1972, Jerusalem, vol. 11, pp. 1242–45
  10. ^
  11. ^ The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict: Seventh Revised and Updated E by Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin
  12. ^ "Golda Meir: Peace and Arab Acceptance Were Goals of Her 5 Years as Premier". The New York Times. 9 December 1978. 
  13. ^ Endless War New York Times, 4 May 2008
  14. ^ Golda's Circle The Emery/Weiner School
  15. ^ Golda Meir’s life was devoted to building Zionism Jewish News Weekly, 15 July 2005
  16. ^ Call Uncle Sam News Behind the News, 10 June 2001
  17. ^ a b c d e "Golda Meir", Encyclopædia Britannica, Micropædia, 1974, 15th edition, pp.762
  18. ^ 'My Life'. Page 232. She 'wasn't very pleased' with B.G. and was 'enraged' by the religious bloc.
  19. ^ Golda Meir, My Life, (NY: Dell Publishing Co., 1975), pp. 308–09
  20. ^ Robert St John, 'Ben Gurion'. Jarrods Publishers (Hutchinson Group), London. 1959. pages 304-306
  21. ^ Jewish gratitude for the Help of Pope Pius XII who helped them against the perverse regime of the Nazis
  22. ^ "Golda Meir wanted to keep sick Poles from making aliyah". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 9 December 2009. 
  23. ^ 1969: Israel elects first female leader BBC News
  24. ^ Golda Meir Encyclopedia Judaica, Keter, Jerusalem, 1972, pp. 1242–44.
  25. ^ Hostages killed in gun battle Daily Telegraph, 5 September 1972
  26. ^ Morris, B. (1999, 2001). Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab conflict, 1881–2000. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-74475-4. 
  27. ^ Interview with Abraham Rabinovich: The Yom Kippur War as a Turning Point History News Network]
  28. ^ a b c d e Meir, Golda (1975). My Life. G. P. Putnam's Sons. 
  29. ^ Biography of Golda Meir Zionism and Israel
  30. ^ Golda Meir Virtual Jerusalem
  31. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1975 (in Hebrew)". 
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ Mészáros wraps production on historical drama The Hope Screen Daily. 26 February 2009
  35. ^ Fourth Street School Wisconsin Historical Society
  36. ^ Golda Meir Square
  37. ^ Golda Meir Center
  38. ^ Golda Meir House U.S. Library of Congress
  39. ^


  • Agres, Elijahu (1969). Golda Meir: Portrait of a Prime Minister. Sabra Books. ISBN 0-87631-020-X. 
  • Burkett, Elinor (2008). Golda Meir: The Iron Lady of the Middle East. Gibson Square. ISBN 978-1906142131. 
  • Fallaci, Oriana (1976). Interview With History. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-25223-7. 
  • Martin, Ralph G. (1988). Golda Meir: The Romantic Years. Ivy Books. ISBN 0-8041-0536-7. 
  • Meir, Menahem (1983). My Mother Golda Meir: A Son's Evocation of Life With Golda Meir. Arbor House Pub. Co.. ISBN 0-87795-415-1. 
  • Syrkin, Marie (1969). Golda Meir: Israel's Leader. Putnam. 
  • Syrkin, Marie (1963). Golda Meir: Woman with a Cause. 

External links





Political offices
Preceded by
Yigal Allon - acting
Prime Minister of Israel
1969 – 1974
Succeeded by
Yitzhak Rabin
Party political offices
Preceded by
Yigal Allon
Interim leader
Leader of the Alignment
Succeeded by
Yitzhak Rabin


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Many accuse me of conducting public affairs with my heart instead of my head. Well, what if I do? . . . Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.

גּוֹלְדָּה מֵאִיר Golda Meir (born Golda Mabovitz, 1898-05-03; died 1978-12-08) was an Israeli politician and one of the founders of the State of Israel. She served as Minister of Labor, Foreign Minister, and as the fourth Prime Minister of Israel.



  • My delegation cannot refrain from speaking on this question — we who have such an intimate knowledge of boxcars and of deportations to unknown destinations that we cannot be silent.
    • On Soviet actions in Hungary to the UN General Assembly (1956-11-21)
  • Any one who speaks in favor of bringing the Arab refugees back must also say how he expects to take the responsibility for it, if he is interested in the state of Israel. It is better that things are stated clearly and plainly: We shall not let this happen.
    • Speech to the Knesset, reported in Ner (October 1961)
  • How can we return the held territories? There is nobody to return them to.
  • I have faced difficult problems in the past but nothing like the one I'm faced with now in leading the country.
    • Speech when elected as the first female prime minister of Israel (1969)
  • There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.
  • We don’t thrive on military acts. We do them because we have to, and thank God we are efficient.
    • Vogue (July 1969)
  • We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon — no alternative.
  • The Egyptians could run to Egypt, the Syrians into Syria. The only place we could run was into the sea, and before we did that we might as well fight.
    • LIFE magazine (3 October 1969)
  • It is true we have won all our wars, but we have paid for them. We don’t want victories anymore.
    • LIFE magazine (3 October 1969)
  • [The Soviet government] is the most realistic regime in the world — no ideals.
  • This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy.
    • Le Monde, 1971-10-15 [Note: This is an alleged quote that has never been confirmed as authentic by Le Monde.]
  • Women’s Liberation is just a lot of foolishness. It’s the men who are discriminated against. They can’t bear children. And no one’s likely to do anything about that.
  • The man of the Cross, who heads the church whose symbol is the Cross, under which Jews were killed for generations. I could not escape the feeling. It stuck with me. And he felt it — that a Jewess was sitting opposite him.
    • On an audience with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican (1973-01-20)
  • Arab sovereignty in Jerusalem just cannot be. This city will not be divided—not half and half, not 60-40, not 75-25, nothing.
  • Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!
    • At a dinner honoring West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, as reported in The New York Times (1973-06-10)
    • Unsourced variants: Moses dragged us for 40 years through the desert to bring us to the one place in the Middle East where there was no oil.
      Moses dragged us through the desert for 40 years to bring us to the one place in the Middle East where there was no oil.
  • To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.
    • When questioned on Israel's future, in The New York Times (1974-12-12)
  • Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.
  • It is not only a matter, I believe, of religious observance and practice. To me, being Jewish means and has always meant being proud to be part of a people that has maintained its distinct identity for more than 2,000 years, with all the pain and torment that has been inflicted upon it.
    • My Life (1975)
  • I don’t know why you use a fancy French word like détente when there’s a good English phrase for it — cold war.
  • What do you gain, Soviet Union, from this miserable policy? Where is your decency? Would it be a disgrace for you to give up this battle?
    • On the suppression of freedom of Jews in the USSR to the World Conference on Soviet Jewry, Brussels, in The New York Times (1976-02-20)
  • I never did anything alone. Whatever was accomplished in this country was accomplished collectively.
  • Above all, this country is our own. Nobody has to get up in the morning and worry what his neighbors think of him. Being a Jew is no problem here.
    • On 30th anniversary of the founding of Israel, in International Herald Tribune (1978-05-11)
  • We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel.

Fallaci interview (1973)

Interview with Oriana Fallaci published in Ms. magazine (April 1973)
  • It’s no accident many accuse me of conducting public affairs with my heart instead of my head. Well, what if I do? . . . Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.
  • I thought that a Jewish state would be free of the evils afflicting other societies: theft, murder, prostitution... But now we have them all. And that’s a thing that cuts to the heart ...
  • How can I explain the difference to me between America and Russia?... the America I’ve known is a place where men on horseback escort union marchers, the Russia I’ve known is a place where men on horseback slaughter young Socialists and Jews.
  • From Russia I didn’t bring out a single happy memory, only sad, tragic ones. The nightmare of pogroms, the brutality of Cossacks charging young Socialists, fear, shrieks of terror ...
  • America is a great country. It has many shortcomings, many social inequalities, and it’s tragic that the problem of the blacks wasn’t solved fifty or even a hundred years ago, but it’s still a great country, a country full of opportunities, of freedom! Does it seem nothing to you to be able to say what you like, even against the government, the Establishment?
  • Those nuts that burn their bras and walk around all disheveled and hate men? They’re crazy. Crazy.
  • I’m a slave to this leaf in a diary that lists what I must do, what I must say, every half hour.
  • I want to see a film, they send the Israeli army reserves to escort me! What kind of life is this?
  • Fashion is an imposition, a rein on freedom.
  • I prefer to stay alive and be criticized than be sympathized.


  • Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.
    • Sometimes cited as a statement to the National Press Club in Washington, D. C. in 1957.
    • Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.
      • As quoted in Media Bias and the Middle East (2003) by Paul Carlson, p. 10
    • Peace will come when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us.
      • As quoted in The Agony of the Promised Land (2004) by Joshua Levy, Ch. 23 "The Hope for Peace", p. 187

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Golda Meir
גּוֹלְדָּה מֵאִיר
جولدا مائير
File:Golda Meir

In office
March 17 1969 – June 3 1974
Preceded by Levi Eshkol
Succeeded by Yitzhak Rabin

Born May 3, 1898(1898-05-03)
Kiev, Russian Empire
Died December 8, 1978 (aged 80)
Jerusalem, Israel
Political party Mapai, Alignment

Golda Meir (pronounced, Gol-da My-ear), (Hebrew: גולדה מאיר, Arabic: جولدا مائير, born Golda Mabovitch, May 3 1898 - December 8 1978, known as Golda Myerson from 1917-1956) was the fourth prime minister of the State of Israel.

Golda Meir became Prime Minister of Israel on March 17 1969 after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. She was said to be the "Iron Lady" (a strong minded woman) of Israel's politics years before that name became said about the British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.[1] Meir was Israel's first and so far only female prime minister. She was the world's third female prime minister. The two biggest events of her time as prime minister were the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. After questions about her handling of the war, Meir resigned from her job even though she had been found to be not to blame for problems with the war.


Before she became prime minister

Her name at birth was Golda Mabovitch (Ukrainian: Голда Мабович) in Kiev in the former Russian Empire (today Ukraine), to Blume Naidich and Moshe Mabovitch, a carpenter.[2] The family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Her father found a job as a carpenter, and her mother ran a grocery store. At the age of eight, she was already put in charge of watching the store when her mother went to the market for supplies. At age 14, Golda went to North Division High School and worked part-time. Her mother wanted her to leave school and marry, but she did not. She ran away from home and bought a train ticket to Denver, Colorado, and went to live with her married sister, Sheyna Korngold. The Korngolds held evening meetings at their home where Meir learned about the Jew's desire for a country of their own, literature, women's rights, trade unions and more. In Denver, she also met Morris Meyerson, a sign painter, whom she later married at the age of 19.[3]

During time as prime minister

The two biggest things to happen during her time as prime minister were; the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games by the terrorist group Black September, and the twenty day warcalled the Yom Kippur War between Israel and the Arab states led by Egypt and Syria in October 1973.

End of time in office

The Yom Kippur War was from October 6 to October 26, 1973 and was between a group of Arab countries led by Syria and Egypt against Israel. Israel was surprised by the attack and after the Yom Kippur War, the government was asked questions about Israel's not being ready for the war. A group of people who were asked to look into the war cleared her of direct blame, and her party won the elections in December 1973, but she left on April 11 1974, because of what she felt the people of Israel wanted[4]. Yitzhak Rabin became prime minister after her on June 3 1974.

In 1975, Meir was awarded the Israel Prize for her services to the State of Israel.[5]


On December 8 1978, Golda Meir died of cancer in Jerusalem at the age of 80. She was buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on December 12, 1978.

File:Golda Meir
Golda Meir's grave on Mt. Herzl


  1. Golda Meir, a BBC News profile.
  2. Golda Meir's American Roots
  3. Golda Meir: An Outline Of A Life Metropolitan State College of Denver
  4. Biography of Golda Meir Zionism and Israel
  5. Golda Meir Virtual Jerusalem
Party political offices
Preceded by
Yigal Allon
Interim leader
Leader of the Alignment
Succeeded by
Yitzhak Rabin


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