Golda Meir - Fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel; born Golda Mabovitcho in Kiev, Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine) on May 3, 1898 and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Israel's first woman prime minister.
In 1905, Meir's father, Moshe Mabovitch, moved from New York to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in search of higher-paying work and found employment in the workshops of the local railroad yard. The following year, he had saved up enough money to bring his family to the United States.
Meir's mother, Blume Neiditch, ran a grocery store on Milwaukee's north side, where by age eight Golda had been put in charge of watching the store when her mother went to the market for supplies. Golda attended the Fourth Street Grade School (now Golda Meir School) from 1906 to 1912. A leader early on, she organised a fund raiser to pay for her classmates' textbooks. After forming the American Young Sisters Society, she rented a hall and scheduled a public meeting for the event. She went on to graduate as valedictorian of her class.
At 14, she studied at North Division High School and worked part-time. Her employers included Schuster's department store and the Milwaukee Public Library. Her mother wanted her to leave school and marry, but she demurred. She bought a train ticket to Denver, Colorado, and went to live with her married sister, Sheyna Korngold.
The Korngolds held intellectual evenings at their home, where Meir was exposed to debates on Zionism, literature, women's suffrage, trade unionism, and more. In Meir's autobiography, she wrote: "To the extent that my own future convictions were shaped and given form ... those talk-filled nights in Denver played a considerable role." In Denver, Meir also met Morris Meyerson, a sign painter, whom she later married on December 24, 1917.
In 1913, Meir returned to North Division High, graduating in 1915. While there, she became an active member of Young Poale Zion, which later became Habonim, the Labor Zionist youth movement. She spoke at public meetings, embraced Socialist Zionism and hosted visitors from Palestine.
Meir attended the teachers college Milwaukee State Normal School (now University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee) in 1916, and probably part of 1917. In 1917, she took a position at a Yiddish-speaking Folks Schule in Milwaukee. While at the Folks Schule, she came more closely into contact with the ideals of Labor Zionism. She was a committed Labor Zionist and he was a dedicated socialist. During this time, Meir also worked part-time at the Milwaukee Public Library.
When Meir and Meyerson married in 1917, settling in Palestine was her precondition for the marriage. Meir had intended to make aliyah (the immigration of Jews from the diaspora to the Land of Israel) straight away but her plans were disrupted when all transatlantic passenger services were canceled due to the entry of the United States into the First World War. Instead she threw her energies into Poale Zion activities. A short time after their wedding, she embarked on a fund raising campaign for Poale Zion that took her across the United States. The couple finally moved to Palestine in 1921 together with her sister Sheyna, and joined a kibbutz.
Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. The world's fourth and Israel's first and only woman to hold such an office, she has been described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics, though her tenure ended before that term was applied to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
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Fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel
Above: Golda Meir when living in Milwaukee (1914).
Above: Golda Meir film (Part 1).
Above: Golda Meir film (Part 2).
Above: Golda Meir's at first session of the third government (1951).