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Golda Meir - The Most International of Women!

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's beginnings

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!