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Golda Meir (born Golda Mabovitch; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was an Israeli stateswoman, politician, teacher, and kibbutznik who served as the fourth prime minister of Israel. Born in Kyiv , she emigrated to the United States as a child with her family in 1906, and was educated there, becoming a teacher.
- Early Life
- Becoming A Political Operative
- Working to Legitimize The Jewish State
- Becoming Prime Minister
- The Yom Kippur War
- Later Life and Death
Golda Meir was born Goldie Mabovitch in Kiev, Ukraine on May 3, 1898, the daughter of Moshe and Bluma Mabovitch. Her autobiography tells of her father boarding up the house during the 1905 Kiev pogrom where mobs killed over 100 Jews. That year, the family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Golda attended North Division High School and joined a Zionist group that supported the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In 1916-17, Golda Mabovitch attended Milwaukee Normal School (now the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) over the objections of her parents, who wanted her to get married rather than pursue a profession. She did both, attaining a teaching certificate and marrying Morris Meyerson.
In 1921, Golda and Morris Meyerson (she officially Hebraized her name from Meyerson to Meir in 1956) immigrated to Palestine and joined the Merhavia kibbutz, a communal settlement. In 1924, the couple moved to Jerusalem and soon had a son, Menachem, and a daughter, Sarah. Golda intensified her political activity by representing the Histadrut Trade Union and serving as a delegate to the World Zionist Organization. Before World War II, much of the Middle East was under the control of France and Great Britain, as prescribed by the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 (officially termed the 1916 Asia Minor Agreement). British officials made promises to establish a Jewish homeland, but this never materialized and the matter was left for the next generation. The British White Paper of 1939 only called for a Jewish homeland, not a Jewish state and it allowed Arab officials to determine the rate of Jewish immigration. During the war, Golda Meir emerged as a powerful spokesperson for the Zio...
In 1948, Israel declared its independence and Meir was one of the signers of Israel’s declaration. That same year, she was appointed minister to Moscow, but when hostilities broke out between Arab countries and Israel, she returned and was elected to the Israeli Parliament. Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion sent Meir on a secret mission, disguised as an Arab, to plead with King Abdullah I not to enter in a war against Israel. He declined and the conflict expanded to include the nations of Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq and Syria against Israel. Hostilities ended with an armistice that preserved Israeli independence and increased its size by 50 percent. Meir served as minister of labor and worked to solve Israel’s housing and employment problems by implementing major residential and infrastructure construction projects. In 1956, she was appointed foreign minister and helped establish relations with emerging African countries and strengthened ties with the United States and Latin Amer...
At age 68, Meir wanted to retire from public life. She was tired and ill but members of the Mapai political party encouraged her to serve as the party’s secretary general. Over the next two years, she helped merge her party and two dissident political parties into the Israel Labor Party. Following the death of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in 1969, she put off retirement again and agreed to serve out the remainder of his term. That same year, her party won the elections, giving her a four-year term as prime minister. During her tenure, she gained economic and military aid from U.S. President Richard Nixon, which helped her open peace talks with the United Arab Republic in hopes of ending hostilities.
During the relative period of peace between the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars, Meir straddled the line between radicals who wanted to settle the captured territory of the 1967 war (which she supported) and proposals by moderates who favored giving up land claims in exchange for peace. The debate ended with the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli war on October 6, 1973, which is also known as the Yom Kippur War. Syrian forces had been massing along the Golan Heights. Concerned that a preemptive strike would bring condemnation by international supporters, especially the United States, Meir prepared for a defensive war. Syrian forces attacked from the north and Egypt attacked from the west. After three weeks, Israel was victorious and had gained more Arab land. Meir formed a new coalition government but resigned on April 10, 1974, exhausted and willing to let others lead. She was succeeded by Yitzhak Rabin.
Though she remained an important political figure, Meir retired for good and published her autobiography, My Life, in 1975. On December 8, 1978, Meir died in Jerusalem at the age of 80. It was revealed that she suffered from leukemia. She was buried on December 12, 1978 at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
Golda Meir, Israeli politician and stateswoman who helped found (1948) the State of Israel and later served as its fourth prime minister (1969–74). She was the first woman to hold the post. Meir previously served as foreign minister (1956–66). Learn more about Meir’s life and career.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Golda Meir, Israel's 'Iron Lady', left behind a complex legacy
Golda Meir was the fourth prime minister of Israel and the first woman to hold that position. She was hugely influential in the building of a Jewish and Zionist Israel, and a significant – and also controversial – figure in world politics. Born Golda ...
2 weeks ago
About. Golda Meir School offers an array of gifted and talented programs including PLTW, the SpringBoard program and extended local, regional, national and international field trips, and regional college tours. The school offers cultural experiences in collaboration with Present Music, Skylight Opera, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee ...
- Early Childhood in Russia
- A New Life in America
- Young Golda Meir Rebels
- Life in Denver
- Return to Milwaukee
- World War I and The Balfour Declaration
- Marriage and The Move to Palestine
- Life on A Kibbutz
- Parenthood and Domestic Life
- World War II and Rebellion
Golda Mabovitch (she would later change her surname to Meir in 1956) was born in the Jewish ghetto within Kiev in Russian Ukraine to Moshe and Blume Mabovitch. Moshe was a skilled carpenter whose services were in demand, but his wages were not always enough to keep his family fed. This was partly because clients would often refuse to pay him, something Moshe could do nothing about since Jews had no protection under Russian law. In late 19th century Russia, Czar Nicholas IImade life very difficult for the Jewish people. The czar publicly blamed many of Russia's problems on Jews and enacted harsh laws controlling where they could live and when — even whether — they could marry. Mobs of angry Russians often participated in pogroms, which were organized attacks against Jews that included the destruction of property, beatings, and murder. Golda's earliest memory was of her father boarding up the windows to defend their home from a violent mob. By 1903, Golda's father knew that his family...
In 1906, Golda, along with her mother (Blume) and sisters (Sheyna and Zipke), began their trip from Kiev to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to join Moshe. Their land journey through Europe included several days crossing Poland, Austria, and Belgium by train, during which they had to use fake passports and bribe a police officer. Then once on board a ship, they suffered through a difficult 14-day journey across the Atlantic. Once safely ensconced in Milwaukee, eight-year-old Golda was at first overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the bustling city, but soon came to love living there. She was fascinated by the trolleys, skyscrapers, and other novelties, such as ice cream and soft drinks, that she hadn’t experienced back in Russia. Within weeks of their arrival, Blume started a small grocery store in the front of their house and insisted that Golda open the store every day. It was a duty that Golda resented since it caused her to be chronically late for school. Nevertheless, Golda did well in...
Golda Meir's parents were proud of her achievements but considered eighth grade the completion of her education. They believed that a young woman's primary goals were marriage and motherhood. Meir disagreed for she dreamed of becoming a teacher. Defying her parents, she enrolled in a public high school in 1912, paying for her supplies by working various jobs. Blume tried to force Golda to quit school and began to search for a future husband for the 14-year-old. Desperate, Meir wrote to her older sister Sheyna, who by then had moved to Denver with her husband. Sheyna convinced her sister to come to live with her and sent her money for train fare. One morning in 1912, Golda Meir left her house, ostensibly headed for school, but instead went to Union Station, where she boarded a train for Denver.
Although she had hurt her parents deeply, Golda Meir had no regrets about her decision to move to Denver. She attended high school and mingled with members of Denver's Jewish community who met at her sister's apartment. Fellow immigrants, many of them Socialists and anarchists, were among the frequent visitors who came to debate the issues of the day. Golda Meir listened attentively to discussions about Zionism, a movement whose goal it was to build a Jewish state in Palestine. She admired the passion the Zionists felt for their cause and soon came to adopt their vision of a national homeland for Jews as her own. Meir found herself drawn to one of the quieter visitors to her sister's home — soft-spoken 21-year-old Morris Meyerson, a Lithuanian immigrant. The two shyly confessed their love for one another and Meyerson proposed marriage. At 16, Meir was not ready to marry, despite what her parents thought, but promised Meyerson she would one day become his wife.
In 1914, Golda Meir received a letter from her father, begging her to return home to Milwaukee; Golda’s mother was ill, apparently partly from the stress of Golda having left home. Meir honored her parents' wishes, even though it meant leaving Meyerson behind. The couple wrote each other frequently, and Meyerson made plans to move to Milwaukee. Meir's parents had softened somewhat in the interim; this time, they allowed Meir to attend high school. Shortly after graduating in 1916, Meir registered at the Milwaukee Teachers' Training College. During this time, Meir also became involved with the Zionist group Poale Zion, a radical political organization. Full membership in the group required a commitment to emigrate to Palestine. Meir committed in 1915 that she would one day immigrate to Palestine. She was 17 years old.
As World War Iprogressed, violence against European Jews escalated. Working for the Jewish Relief Society, Meir and her family helped raise money for European war victims. The Mabovitch home also became a gathering place for prominent members of the Jewish community. In 1917, news arrived from Europe that a wave of deadly pogroms had been carried out against Jews in Poland and Ukraine. Meir responded by organizing a protest march. The event, well-attended by both Jewish and Christian participants, received national publicity. More determined than ever to make the Jewish homeland a reality, Meir left school and moved to Chicago to work for the Poale Zion. Meyerson, who had moved to Milwaukee to be with Meir, later joined her in Chicago. In November 1917, the Zionist cause gained credibility when Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, announcing its support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Within weeks, British troops entered Jerusalem and took control of the city from Turki...
Passionate about her cause, Golda Meir, now 19 years old, finally agreed to marry Meyerson on the condition that he move with her to Palestine. Although he did not share her zeal for Zionism and didn't want to live in Palestine, Meyerson agreed to go because he loved her. The couple was married on December 24, 1917, in Milwaukee. Since they didn’t yet have the funds to emigrate, Meir continued her work for the Zionist cause, traveling by train across the United States to organize new chapters of the Poale Zion. Finally, in the spring of 1921, they had saved enough money for their trip. After bidding a tearful farewell to their families, Meir and Meyerson, accompanied by Meir's sister Sheyna and her two children, set sail from New York in May 1921. After a grueling two-month voyage, they arrived in Tel Aviv. The city, built in the suburbs of Arab Jaffa, had been founded in 1909 by a group of Jewish families. At the time of Meir's arrival, the population had grown to 15,000.
Meir and Meyerson applied to live on Kibbutz Merhavia in northern Palestine but had difficulty getting accepted. Americans (although Russian-born, Meir was considered American) were believed too "soft" to endure the hard life of working on a kibbutz (a communal farm). Meir insisted on a trial period and proved the kibbutz committee wrong. She thrived on the hours of hard physical labor, often under primitive conditions. Meyerson, on the other hand, was miserable on the kibbutz. Admired for her powerful speeches, Meir was chosen by members of her community as their representative at the first kibbutz convention in 1922. Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion, present at the convention, also took notice of Meir's intelligence and competence. She quickly earned a place on the governing committee of her kibbutz. Meir's rise to leadership in the Zionist movement came to a halt in 1924 when Meyerson contracted malaria. Weakened, he could no longer tolerate the difficult life on the kibbutz. To M...
Once Meyerson recuperated, he and Meir moved to Jerusalem, where he'd found a job. Meir gave birth to son Menachem in 1924 and daughter Sarah in 1926. Although she loved her family, Golda Meir found the responsibility of caring for children and keeping the house very unfulfilling. Meir longed to be involved again in political affairs. In 1928, Meir ran into a friend in Jerusalem who offered her the position of secretary of the Women's Labor Council for the Histadrut (the Labor Federation for Jewish workers in Palestine). She readily accepted. Meir created a program for teaching women to farm the barren land of Palestine and set up childcare that would enable women to work. Her job required that she travel to the United States and England, leaving her children for weeks at a time. The children missed their mother and wept when she left, while Meir struggled with guilt for leaving them. It was the final blow to her marriage. She and Meyerson became estranged, separating permanently in...
Following Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany in 1933, the Nazisbegan to target Jews — at first for persecution and later for annihilation. Meir and other Jewish leaders pleaded with heads of state to allow Palestine to accept unlimited numbers of Jews. They received no support for that proposal, nor would any country commit to helping the Jews escape Hitler. The British in Palestine further tightened restrictions on Jewish immigration to appease Arab Palestinians, who resented the flood of Jewish immigrants. Meir and other Jewish leaders began a covert resistance movement against the British. Meir officially served during the war as a liaison between the British and the Jewish population of Palestine. She also worked unofficially to help transport immigrants illegally and to supply resistance fighters in Europe with weapons. Those refugees who made it out brought shocking news of Hitler's concentration camps. In 1945, near the end of World War II, the Allies liberated many of t...
May 19, 2021 · Perhaps Golda Meir's most unlikely legacy was the official women's footwear of the Israeli army. Until 1987, the Israeli military — which drafts all Israeli citizens, men and women, for two or three years of mandatory service — issued all female recruits a pair of clunky, reportedly uncomfortable shoes that were allegedly based on the ...
- One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present. Golda Meir. Inspiration, Past, Trying.
- We can forgive [the Arabs] for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with [the Arabs] when they love their children more than they hate us...
- Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.
- There will be peace in the Middle East only when the Arabs love their children more than they hate Israel. Golda Meir. Children, Hate, Israel.
May 11, 2021 · As the first and only female prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir was a powerful leader. Here are 50 of the top Golda Meir quotes. Born in Kyiv in 1898, Meir immigrated with her family to the United States in 1906. As a child, she showed signs of being a strong leader. In school, she […]
Nov 21, 2019 · Then-prime minister Golda Meir with southern command chief Gen. Shmuel Gonen during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, visiting an IDF command post in the Sinai Desert.
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