Golda Meir was born in Kiev in 1898. Economic hardship forced her family to emigrate to the United
States in 1906, where they settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In high school she joined the Zionist group, "Poalei Zion" (Workers of Zion). She immigrated
to British Mandate Palestine in 1921 with her husband, Morris Myerson, and settled in Kibbutz Merhavya.
Moving to Jerusalem in 1924, she became an official of the Histadrut
Trade Union and served in a managerial post with the union's construction
corporation, Solel Boneh. Between 1932 and 1934 she worked as an emissary
in the United States, serving as secretary of the Hechalutz women's
organization; she also became secretary of the Histadrut's Action Committee,
and later of its policy section.
When the prestate British Mandatory Authorities imprisoned most of the Jewish
community's senior leadership in 1946, she replaced Moshe Sharett as head of the Jewish Agency's
Political Department, the chief Jewish liaison with the British.
Elected to the Executive of the Jewish Agency, she was active in
fundraising in the United States to help cover the costs of the
Israeli War of Independence,
and became one of the State's most effective spokesmen.
In 1948, David Ben-Gurion appointed
Golda Meir to be a member of the Provisional Government. A few days
before the Declaration of Independence,
BenGurion sent her disguised as an Arab on a hazardous mission to persuade
King Abdullah of Jordan not
to attack Israel. But the King had
already decided his army would invade the Jewish state following the
In June 1948, Meir was appointed Israel's Ambassador
to the Soviet Union. Elected to the Knesset as a Mapai member in 1949,
she served as Minister of Labor and National Insurance until 1956. In
June 1956, she became Foreign Minister,
a post she held until January 1966. As Foreign Minister, Meir was the
architect of Israel's attempt to create bridges to the emerging independent
countries of Africa via an assistance
program based on practical Israeli experience in nation building.
She also endeavored to cement relations
with the United States and was successful in creating extensive
bilateral relations with Latin American countries.
Between 1966 and 1968, she served as SecretaryGeneral
of Mapai, and then as the
first SecretaryGeneral of the newly formed Labor
Party. When Prime Minister Levi Eshkol died suddenly in early
1969, the 71yearold Meir assumed the post of Premier, becoming the
world's third female Prime
Minister (after Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka and Indira Gandhi
As Prime Minister she inherited Eshkol's second National
Unity Government administration, but this broke up over the question
of continuing the cease-fire with Egypt in the absence of a peace treaty. She then continued in office with
the Alignment (Labor & Mapam), the National
Religious Party and the Independent Liberals.
The major event of her administration was the Yom Kippur War, which broke out
with massive coordinated Egyptian and Syrian assaults against Israel
on October 6, 1973. As the postwar Agranant Inquiry Commission established,
the IDF and
the government had erred seriously in their assessment of Arab intentions.
Although she and the Labor
Party won the elections (postponed due to the war until December
31, 1973), she resigned in 1974 in favor of Yitzhak
Rabin. She passed away in December 1978 and was buried on Mount
Herzl in Jerusalem.
In 2009 documents revealed that a plot by the Black September terror organization to assassinate Meir during her trip to New York City on March 4, 1973, was foiled by the United States. A U.S. intelligence organization intercepted a communication between the Iraqi United Nations office and the Iraqi embassy in Washington D.C., containing specific information about placement of three car bombs around New York City meant to detonate when Meir was nearby. The message was sent to the FBI, who worked with the New York Police Department to find and dispose of the explosive devices.