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Israeli Women, Part 3: The Jews’ Iron Lady, Golda Meir

She puts today's Labor Party to shame.

by
P. David Hornik

Bio

April 13, 2014 - 7:00 am
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Golda Meir was Israel’s fourth prime minister, serving from 1969 to 1974, and the world’s third female head of government. In her seventies at the time, she charmed much of the world with her “Jewish grandmother” image—especially as juxtaposed with her defense minister Moshe Dayan, a tough sabra (native-born Israeli) with an eye-patch.

Unlike Dayan, Meir was not a sabra; she was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1898. Her first memory was of her father boarding up the front door because of rumors of a pogrom. In 1905 her father moved to Milwaukee by himself in search of work; a year later, having found a job in a railroad yard, he brought the rest of the family over.

Golda showed leadership qualities early, forming something called the American Young Sisters Society. She was also drawn to socialist Zionism, then an energetic enterprise devoted to creating pioneering settlements in the Land of Israel. She joined a socialist-Zionist youth movement, and in that context she met Morris Meyerson. They got married in 1917, and in 1921 they left to join the fledgling Jewish community in Palestine. (Golda later Hebraicized the name Meyerson to Meir.)

Golda Meir’s story stirs a certain nostalgia. The current Israeli Labor Party—a descendant of socialist Zionism or, as it came to be called, Labor Zionism—is a pallid, even ludicrous remnant. It hardly has the spunk and grit that Golda Meir embodied. True, the decline of socialism left a void for this ideological trend; but it’s not only that.

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Top Rated Comments   
Please add in her two most famous sayings:

"Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.

"When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons."
h/t Wikiquote
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (4)
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Golda Meir's quotable quotes could be an entire article. One of my favorites of hers was: "Don't be humble. You're not that great."
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
When she was once asked by a reporter if she was worried about Israel being surrounded by heavily armed, hostile Arab nations, her reply was, "I'll worry when they learn to queue up."
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I always though it funny when Livni ran as if she would be the first female PM. I guess they forgot Golda Myerson of Milwaukee, WI, whom Ben-Gurion supposedly referred to as "the only man in my cabinet".
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please add in her two most famous sayings:

"Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.

"When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons."
h/t Wikiquote
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
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