Golda Meir

Golda Meir

Golda Mobovich, the daughter of Jewish parents, was born in Kiev, Russia in 1898. When she was a child her family emigrated to the United States. The family settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After graduating from college she taught in a local school.

Golda married Morris Myerson in 1917 but later adopted the Hebrew name of Meir. The couple emigrated to Palestine in 1921 and became active in the emerging socialist movement in the country. She was elected to the woman's labour council of Histadrut in 1928.

The Jewish state of Israel was established on 14th May 1948 when the British mandate over Palestine came to an end. David Ben-Gurion became prime minister and appointed Golda Meir as Israeli ambassador to the Soviet Union (1948-49), Minister of Labour (1949-56) and Foreign Minister (1956-66).

Meir became prime minister in 1969. In this post she clashed with Moshe Dayan, the Defence Minister, who wanted to colonize the Arab territories occupied during the Six-Day War. For a while Meir wanted to negotiate a peace settlement that would allow the return of Sinai to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Syria. However, she eventually sided with Dayan.

On 6th October 1973, Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a surprise attack on Israel. Two days later the Egyptian Army crossed the Suez Canal while Syrian troops entered the Golan Heights. Israeli troops counter-attacked on 8th October. They crossed the Suez Canal near Ismailia and advanced towards Cairo. The Israelis also recaptured the Golan Heights and moved towards the Syrian capital. The October War came to an end when the United Nations arranged a cease-fire on 24th October.

The Labour Party won the general election in December, 1973. However, she could not get her cabinet to agree on policies and she resigned in April 1974.

Golda Meir died in Jerusalem, on 8th December, 1978.