GIBORIM 2021 – Golda Meir

GIBORIM 2021 – Golda Meir

Golda Meir was born Goldie Mabovitch in Kiev, Ukraine on May 3, 1898, the daughter of Moshe and Bluma Mabovitch. In 1905 year, the family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to escape pogroms, 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.

During the WWII, Golda Meir emerged as a powerful spokesperson for the Zionist movement and fought hard against the policy, pleading that increased Jewish immigration was crucial in light of the persecution by the German Nazi regime.

In 1948, Israel declared its independence and Golda Meir was one of the signers of Israel’s declaration. That same year, she was appointed minister to Moscow, but when hostilities broke out, she returned and was elected to the Israeli Parliament. Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion sent Meir on a secret mission.

Hostilities ended with an armistice that preserved Israeli independence and increased its size by 50 percent. Golda 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 America.

At age 68, Golda 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.

Though she remained an important political figure, Golda 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. She was buried on December 12, 1978 at Mount Herzl in J