That woman: Golda Meir
Golda Meir. Maybe time has tarnished her image a bit. Maybe, some of her decisions were not the best, and as we all know "hindsight is 20-20". Yet, let's take a few moments to remind ourselves of her exemplary public life and contributions to the State of Israel.
International Women's Month is quickly drawing to a close, but Israel is Beautiful could not end the month without spending a few moments talking about the most important woman of modern Israel: Golda Meir.
Golda was born in 1898 in Ukraine and at a time when Jewish life was restricted to the Pale of Settlement. It's an age-old story, Jews being restricted to where they could live, how they could make a living and whether and how they could observe Jewish ritual. But Golda had a bit of luck, her parents saw the dangers of remaining in their native land. And so her father left for New York, moved to Milwaukee and earned enough money, laying tracks for the burgeoning railway industry, that he was able to bring the family over to the U.S. in 1904.
Like all immigrants, Golda struggled to learn a new language and create new friendships. Happily she enjoyed the resilience of youth and quickly settled into a comfortable mid-Western American life. Yet Golda was restless. She followed her married sister, Sheyna, to Colorado where she was exposed to trade unions and Zionism. The idea of Labor Zionism spoke to her so much that she made Aliyah (moving to Israel), a condition of her marriage to Morris Meyerson.
Golda in Israel - the kibbutnik
It wasn't an easy journey but, ultimately, the young couple were accepted as members of Kibbutz Merhavia in the Jezreel Valley, where the woman, who would one day be prime minister, spent her days picking almonds and washing dishes.
Golda's restless spirit was not abated. It wasn't enough for her to move to move to Palestine during the British Mandate. She needed to become an integral part of the political movement that would push for an independent Jewish homeland.
Golda the fundraiser
You know the rest of the story. Golda returns to America to become one of the best fundraisers the Jewish people had ever seen. She was the real deal! She personally sacrificed the comforts of American living for the hardships of a mosquito-infested land in the hopes of gaining a homeland. No one could say NO to a woman who sacrifices hand cream for a hoe!
Golda, the King of Jordan and socialism
She then embarked on, what was at the time, a secret mission to Jordan and disguised as a Muslim woman, she met with King Abdullah I to try and convince him not to enter the fighting in 1948. She wasn't successful, but she was proof that Israel wasn't interested in war. Israel wanted peace not just for themselves but for all the nations in the area as well.
Even as Golda ascended the political ranks, her modesty of dress and home is a character trait to be admired. She was a socialist through and through and never allowed the trappings of wealth, that were available to her, to deter her from her beliefs or her mission.
Golda in private and in public
Golda was not perfect. Her personal life suffered as her public responsibilities grew. But Golda was a person on a mission: to create a thriving Jewish state. She was often the only woman in a sea of men, whether it be on the podium of a speaking engagement in New York or the floor of the Knesset. She was never intimidated by her singularity. We have all benefitted from her Herculean ability to remain committed to her beliefs, despite the many challenges she faced.
May her memory be a blessing and to serve as an inspiration for both men and women to work toward their goals regardless of seeming insurmountable odds.
Israel is Beautiful was developed by Onnie Schiffmiller and Dr. Peter Abelow, both licensed tour guides, with a shared love of the Land of Israel, sharing nearly thirty years of professional tour guiding experience. The premise is simple, Israel is Beautiful brings Israel, in all its beauty, into the comfort of your home via weekly you-are-there video tours, along with Meet the Tour Guide video chats. Join us in this adventure, subscribe today and begin your own personal journey of the Holy land with Israel is Beautiful.