Israel Prime Minister

After Levi Eshkol (the previous Prime Minister of Israel) died, Golda Meir became Prime Minister under the backing of the Labor Party’s support in 1969. Under Golda Meir, Israel took a defensive stance in foreign policy and Egypt during the War of Attrition. Her contributions to Israel and her legacy as a seeker of peace will live on forever.

Right after being Prime Minister, Israel and Egypt had a War of Attrition, a limited war where both sides fought with limited resources. Despite the Watergate scandal, President Nixon was a valuable ally for Golda Meir as he also agreed with her stance that Israel should remain defensive and not cede until a solid agreement was made.  Golda Meir knew what was at stake for Israel. Israel could not afford to accept any solution that would be imposed upon by others, nor sit down and comprise with the Russians, French, and British to compromise with the Arabians and Israel. Russia was feeding and aiding the entire Egyptian War whiles the British and French, swayed by the luxuries of oil in the Middle East, would be obligated to side with the Arabians. Meir knew that the only foreign aid would be from the United State’s Richard Nixon’s sympathy towards Israel.

Golda Meir respected other religions, yet stood up for her own Jewish heritage. Defending Judaism on the grounds that they had been “unmerciful” towards the Arabs, Golda Meir retorted to the Pope, “Let me assure you that my people know all about real harshness and also that we learned all about real mercy when we were being led to the gas chambers of the Nazis”(My Life 408). Golda Meir truly wanted unity and friendship despite clashing beliefs between Muslims and Jews.

However, to her surprise, the Yom Kippur War started three years after the end of the War of Attrition. During Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, Egypt and Syria combined forces and seized Golan Heights which had been occupied by the Jews since the Six-Day War six years before. With great courage and strategy, Israel managed to counterattack and drove off the Egyptian and Syrian army and agreed to a United Nations ceasefire resolution. There were many decisions in which Golda Meir could have taken in dealing with the war. Meir could have mobilized Israel’s forces early to prevent the threat of Arab forces invading saving many lives, but believing in Israel’s need for foreign aid; Meir decided against a pre-emptive strike and informed the United States of their decision to do so. This earned U.S. aid in the eventual victory for the Israelis in the war.  

Golda Meir’s goal was peace, genuine peace with the Arab people where “Arab Farmers will cross the Jordan not with planes or tanks, but with tractors and with their hands outstretched in friendship, as between farmer and farmer, as between human beings”(My Life 394). Despite being criticized by in-fighting and lack of preparedness for the war, Golda Meir was an optimistic humanitarian who believed in the best of people, even her enemies. While it was true that lives could have been saved if she took a more aggressive stance, such action would have displeased foreign relations and resulted in a lack of U.S. support, ending with the loss of the Yom Kippur War and any hopes of an independent Jewish state.

Women's Rights


Histadrut Activities

Establishing Israel

Israel Ministerial Career

Israel Prime Minister