Quick Facts: Golda Meir
Quick Facts: Golda Meir
- Born Golda Mabovitch in 1898, in Kiev in present-day Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire.
- In 1906, family immigrates to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In the U.S., introduced to Zionism, the western colonial religious-nationalist movement to establish a Jewish state in Palestine.
- In 1921, immigrates to Palestine, then governed by the British with a mandate from the new League of Nations. In Palestine, becomes involved with Mapai, which would later become the Israeli Labor party, rising in its ranks over the following decades and playing a significant role in Israel’s establishment in 1948..
- Becomes minister of labor (1949-1956) and foreign minister (1956-1966) after Israel’s establishment and accompanying ethnic cleansing of three quarters of the Muslim and Christian population of Palestine to make way for a Jewish majority state.
- As foreign minister, was involved in planning and coordinating Israel’s invasion of Egypt in 1956, in collusion with France and Great Britain, aimed at overthrowing Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and taking control of the Sinai Peninsula and Suez Canal. Following an international outcry and pressure from the U.S., the invading countries are forced to withdraw from Egyptian territory.
- After the sudden death of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in 1969, becomes prime minister after being elected new head of the Labor Party by the party’s central committee. Resigns from office in 1974 after being unable to form another coalition following the December 1973 election amid criticism of her government’s handling of the 1973 war.
- Under Meir’s government (1969-1974), Israel’s settlement enterprise on occupied Palestinian land, which began under the previous government, takes deeper root. When Meir takes office, there are five small settlements. By the time she leaves power, there are upwards of 14, many established under false pretenses. Summing up the strategy of expanding Israel’s borders by building settlements on occupied Palestinian, Egyptian, and Syrian land, explains: "The [extent of Israel’s borders] is where Jews live, not where there is a line on the map."
- Rejection of diplomatic overtures from Egypt to make peace based on U.N. resolutions and a return of land occupied by Israel’s military during the 1967 war leads to the 1973 war. Only intervention by the U.S. government, including a massive military airlift of weapons and munitions, allows Israel to avoid defeat. U.S. support for Israel in the war causes Arab members of OPEC to declare an oil embargo against the U.S., resulting in the 1973 oil crisis and major repercussions for the U.S. and world economies.
- Infamous for denying the existence of Palestinians and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians during Israel’s establishment, declaring: “It was not as if there was a Palestinian people in Palestine and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist."
- Also known for racist views towards other people of Middle Eastern origin, including Jews. In 1964, tells the Zionist Federation of Great Britain: "We in Israel need immigrants from countries with a high standard, because the future of our social structure is worrying us. We have immigrants from Morocco, Libya, Iran, Egypt and other countries with a 16th century level. Shall we be able to elevate these immigrants to a suitable level of civilization?"