Today I write about one of my favourite political characters Golda Meir, the only female Prime Minister of the Holy land of Israel.
A devout Jew
A committed Nationalist
A strong leader
The iron lady of Israeli Politics
She is often portrayed as the “strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people.”
Golda was born today, in 1898, in Kyiv, Russia Kingdom (present day Ukraine). Her father Moshe Mabovitch left to find work in New York Coty in 1903. In his absence, the rest of the family moved to Pinsk to join her mother’s family. In 1905, Moshe moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in search of higher-paying work, and found employment in the workshops of the local local railroad yard. The following year, he had saved up enough money to bring his family to the United States.
Golda’s mother Blume Mabovitch ran a grocery store on Milwaukee’s north side, where by the age of 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.
At 14, Golda studied and worked part time too. Her mother wanted her to get married but she declined. She bought a train ticket of train to Denver and went to live with her married sister, Sheyna, whom she was very close too. Here she was exposed to the Zionist philosophy, literature, woman suffrage, trade unionism and many more things.
In Denver, she also met Morris Meyerson, a sign painter, whom she later married on December 24, 1917.
When Golda and Morris married in 1917, settling in Palestine was her precondition for the marriage. So they moved to Palestine, after the First World War. In Palestine, Meir and her husband joined a kibbutz. Their first application to kibbutz Merhavia in the Jezreel Valley was rejected, but later 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, the couple left the kibbutz and lived briefly in Tel Aviv before settling in Jerusalem. There they had two children, a son Menachem (1924) and a daughter Sarah (1926)
In 1928, Meir 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. The children went with her, but Morris stayed in Jerusalem. Morris and Golda grew apart, but never divorced
In 1934, when Meir returned from the United States, she joined the Executive Committee of the Histadrut and moved up the ranks to become the head of its Political Department. This appointment was important training for her future role in Israeli leadership.
The next two events of her life fill each woman on Mother Earth with pride and made the world realise the potential of Golda. One was her fundraising trip to America and second was her trip to Amman, Jordan.
In January 1948, the treasurer of the Jewish Agency was convinced that Israel would not be able to raise more than seven to eight million dollars from the American Jewish community. Golda traveled to the United States, and she raised $50,000,000, which was used to purchase arms in Europe for the young country. Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion wrote that Golda’s role as the “Jewish woman who got the money which made the state possible” would go down one day in the history books
On May 10, 1948, four days before the official establishment of Israel, Golda traveled to Amman, disguised as an Arab woman, for a secret meeting with King Abdullah I 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. To which Golda replied: “We’ve been waiting for 2,000 years. Is that hurrying?”
Can go on and on and on writing about Golda about She became the PM, how she became Golda Meir from Golda Meyerson, what work she did for Israel. And many more things. But this blog has become to long and I leave those memories from history for some other time.
Happy Birthday Golda!!!