Golda Meir

Golda Meir was born in the Ukraine but when she was eight years old her family moved to the United States. It was during her time living in the U.S. that she became a committed Zionist (a person who supports the re-establishment of the Jewish nation in Israel today). Following her marriage she moved to Palestine where she had two children.

Her political activism first drew widespread attention during World War II. She argued there should be increased Jewish immigration considering what was happening to the Jewish population all over Europe at the time. In 1948 she was one of the signatories of Israel’s Proclamation of Independence. The following year she was named the Minister of Labour. During this time she supported unrestricted Jewish immigration to Israel. She also oversaw improvements to the country’s infrastructure. In 1956 she became the country’s foreign minister. She retired from the foreign ministry in 1966 and went on to become the secretary-general of the Mapai political party. Following the death of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, she was chosen by the party to serve out the rest of his term, becoming only the fourth prime minister of Israel and the first woman to hold the position.

During her time as Prime Minister, Meir received support from the United States, both financially and militarily. She was hopeful of securing a peace deal in the Middle East through diplomatic means. She met with various world leaders as well as with the Pope. These talks came to an end following the outbreak of the Yom Kippur Wars in 1973. Israel won this war after three weeks of fighting but it ultimately led to the resignation of Meir the following year. She died in 1978 at the age of 80; it was only after her death that it was revealed that she had been suffering from leukaemia for the previous 12 years.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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