Golda Meir - The Original "Iron Lady"
To be successful, a woman has to be much better at her job than a man
One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present
Golda Meir was the fourth Prime Minister of Israel and the first woman elected to the post there. In fact, she was only the third woman in the world to be elected a Prime Minister.
Golda was born in 1898 in a Kiev, the present day capital of Ukraine. She was one of eight children, five of whom died in childhood. She remained close to her two surviving sisters, Sheyna and Tzipke for the rest of her life.
One of Golda's earliest memories as a child was her father getting the house ready to be protected from a "pogrom". Pogrom's were violent mob attacks, usually directed towards Jews in 19th and 20th centuries all over Russia and Ukraine. During these, Jews were often beaten, their property stolen or destroyed, their houses vandalized.
In 1906 Golda moved with her mother and two sisters to join their father in the United States. They ran a small grocery store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While attending school in Milwaukee, Golda exhibited the first signs of leadership when she formed American Young Sisters Society and organized fundraisers to help some of her classmates pay for textbooks.
When Golda's mother wanted her to stop going to school and marry, Golda rebelled against the idea and went to live with her older sister Sheyna. Sheyna and her husband often held intellectual gatherings in their apartment. There, Golda became exposed to the ideas of Zionism, women's rights and unions. Upon her return to Milwaukee, she graduated from high school and because an activist in the Labor Zionist youth movement.
|Golda Meir with John F. Kennedy|
Golda taught at a Yiddish speaking school from 1917 until 1921. Also, in 1917 she got married to Morris Meyerson. In 1921 they went to live in Palestine and joined a kibutz - a farming collective community on which early Israel was built. They lived there for the next three years, after which they settled in Jerusalem, where they had two children, a boy and a girl. Golda continued to be an activist, and was elected secretary of Working Women's Council (Moetzet HaPoalot) Golda went to US for two years as an emissary and took her children. Her husband stayed behind. Although never divorced, they were never again close, until his death in 1951.
When she came back from America, Golda quickly continued to rise in ranks of the Executive Committee of the Histradut. In 1948, Golda was one of the 24 to sign Israeli Declaration of Independence. In the next years, she was an ambassador to the Soviet Union, a Labour Minister and a Foreign Minister. Golda was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969 and served as such until her resignation in 1974.
She was knows as a strong leader. Outraged by the lack of global support and help during the Munich Olympics incident, when the Israeli athletes were taken as hostages and massacred by Muslim extremists, she ordered the Israeli Massad to hunt down an assassinate those who were part of the massacre.
Golda Meir died of cancer in 1978. During her lifetime, she received the Israel Prize and awarded the honor of World Mother by American Mothers, Inc. She was also called "the Iron Lady" years before Margaret Thatcher was called that.
Quotes by Golda Meir: