Golda Meir

by Nava from Victoria

Golda at her Office (noteswoman.(March 26, 2011) Golda Meir << Notes to women. Retrieved on: October 9, 2011.
Golda at her Office (noteswoman.(March 26, 2011) Golda Meir << Notes to women. Retrieved on: October 9, 2011.

A Brave and Giving Woman

Golda Meir was a determined woman, who accomplished many things, and gave hope and comfort to many others. Golda was was born in Ukraine, and moved to America for a better life when she was a little girl. She then moved to Palestine in her early twenties with her husband to help reclaim it. Golda accomplished, learned and did many great things. She was an active Zionist, and she helped Palestine (now known as Israel) in many different ways. She was also a daughter, a builder, a mother, and a beloved leader and politician of Palestine/Israel.

Golda was born in Kiev, Ukraine, on May third, 1898. She lived there for eight years, facing poverty, racial discrimination against Jews, and pogroms (an organized group that would massacre minority groups (usually Jews), stealing their things, breaking shops, and killing them for fun.). In 1906, when she was eight, her family consisting of her mother, father and sister, fled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, America, seeking a better life, away from the pogroms, and hatred. The pogroms, open discrimination, and hatred also influenced Golda: They gave her an idea, that maybe they could build a place that was safe for Jews, after all, G-d had promised them one: Eretz Yisrael: The land of Israel. That sole thought motivated her throughout the rest of her life, to build a great place where all Jews could be safe.

A Teenage Golda (freelance design.(2009).GoldaWikipedia.(last modified October 4, 2011). Golda  Meir-The 100 best articles. Retrieved on: October 18, 2011. )
A Teenage Golda (freelance design.(2009).GoldaWikipedia.(last modified October 4, 2011). Golda Meir-The 100 best articles. Retrieved on: October 18, 2011. )

When they moved to Milwaukee, they knew no English growing up (only speaking Yiddish), and had almost no money. Their family set up a small grocery store, and Golda went to school, where she learned to speak English, and got a teaching degree. Golda’s parents didn’t believe that a young woman should go to work, but instead settle down with a husband, and start a family. Golda did both of those things: three years after her marriage to Morris Myerson in 1917 when she was nineteen, Golda and her new husband moved to Israel, and worked on a kibbutz there. A kibbutz is a communal living place where people work the land, and in return, get fed, clothed, and sheltered. Palestine was full of mosquito-infested swampland in the north, and arid desert in the south, so living was very difficult, and the land needed to be cultivated before more people came to live. The kibbutzim (plural for kibbutz) took care of that. Through their time in the Kibbutz, Morris, got ill, so they moved away to Tel Aviv, then later to Jerusalem, where they had two kids.

After their two children, Golda decided to get into politics and started to govern the emerging country. One of the major things that she did was fight against the British (who currently governed Palestine) for larger numbers of immigrants to immigrate to Israel. She also helped illegal immigrants come to Israel during the second world war (1939-1945).

An older Golda Meir (Wikipedia Retrieved on: October 9, 2011.
An older Golda Meir (Wikipedia Retrieved on: October 9, 2011.

Golda not only helped illegal immigrants, but also helped with something equally important: Fundraising. They could not help, house, and feed all of the new people without money, so Golda bravely volunteered to go back to America, to fund raise money from the already poor people. She succeeded, and returned with enough to help them for a while.

After all of her previous work, Golda was still desperately needed, so she took on another position: The Minister of Labor and Social Insurance. The difficult part about that, was that there were thousands of illegal people flooding the borders of Israel, who were illiterate, uneducated, starving, and in great need of health care. Golda, being a brilliant woman, pulled another trick out of her hat. The first problem was housing: so far, everyone was being crammed into tents: 5-10 families in each one! So she devised a plan called the “Myerson Plan”. This plan was that they build an apartment out of cement blocks. They weren’t finished and didn’t have ceilings, and the idea, was that as the families became literate, and got jobs, they would finish of the houses. That way, they could build thousands of houses for the hundreds of thousands of people bursting through.

In 1956 (8 years after Israel became a state), the Israeli Prime Minister at that time, David Ben Gurion, appointed Myerson as Foreign Minister. It was then as a result of Gurion's desire for everyone to have Hebrew names that she took on the last name Meir, being as it was very close to Myerson. It is very interesting though that she took this name because, if you translate it, Meir means “the one who shines” which in my opinion is exactly what Golda did: Shine and glow.

After a long career of selfless acts of kindness, she continued to be the fourth Prime Minister of Israel in 1969. After many more squabbles, and wars with others who don’t want Israel to be a state, she resigned in 1974. Golda published her autobiography "My Life", and was a grandmother, and loved woman by all. She passed away in Jerusalem on December 8th, 1978, at 80 years old.

The Jews were very fortunate to have Golda Meir come their way. She not only helped others selflessly, but also worked tirelessly to build her dream: A place that was safe for all Jews to live. She was so determined, and didn’t let anything sway her away from her goal. One of my favorite quotes from her is “I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.” That underlies how selfless and giving she was in all that she did. She is my hero, and I learned that she was a noble woman, who helped others before herself. I look up to her, and have visited her grave in Har Herzl, Jerusalem and am proud to acknowledge all that she has done.

Page created on 11/3/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 11/3/2011 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

Encyclopedia of World Biography - LInk to page of a biography of Golda Meir