Golda Meir Interview on Arab-Israeli Relations and Terrorism (1973)
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Uploaded on Nov 26, 2011
Golda Meir (Hebrew: גּוֹלְדָּה מֵאִיר; earlier Golda Meyerson, born Golda Mabovich (Голда Мабович); May 3, 1898 -- December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel.
Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. Israel's first and the world's third woman to hold such an office, she was described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Former prime minister David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir "the best man in the government"; she was often portrayed as the "strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people."
In 1974, after the conclusion of the Yom Kippur War, Meir resigned as prime minister. She died in 1978.
After Levi Eshkol's sudden death on February 26, 1969, the party elected Meir as his successor. Meir came out of retirement to take office on March 17, 1969, serving as prime minister until 1974. Meir maintained the coalition government formed in 1967, after the Six-Day War, in which Mapai merged with two other parties (Rafi and Ahdut HaAvoda) to form the Israel Labour party.
In 1969 and the early 1970s, Meir met with many world leaders to promote her vision of peace in the Middle East, including Richard Nixon (1969), Nicolae Ceausescu (1972) and Pope Paul VI (1973). In 1973, she hosted the chancellor of West Germany, Willy Brandt in Israel.
In August 1970, Meir accepted a U.S. peace initiative that called for an end to the War of Attrition and an Israeli pledge to withdraw to "secure and recognized boundaries" in the framework of a comprehensive peace settlement. The Gahal party quit the national unity government in protest, but Meir continued to lead the remaining coalition.
In the wake of the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics, Meir appealed to the world to "save our citizens and condemn the unspeakable criminal acts committed." Outraged at the perceived lack of global action, she ordered the Mossad to hunt down and assassinate the Black September and PFLP operatives who took part in the massacre. The 1986 TV film Sword of Gideon, based on the book Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team by George Jonas, and Steven Spielberg's movie Munich (2005) were based on these events.
During the 1970s some Russian-Jewish emigrants were allowed to leave the Soviet Union for Israel by way of Austria. When seven of these emigrants were taken hostage at the Austria-Czechoslovakian border by Palestinian Arab fighters in September 1973, Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky closed the Jewish Agency's transit facility in Schönau, Lower Austria. A few days later in Vienna, Meir tried to convince Kreisky to re-open the facility by appealing to his own Jewish origin, and described his position as "succumbing to terrorist blackmail". Kreisky did not change his position, so Meir returned to Israel infuriated. A few months later Austria opened a new transition camp.
Meir's story has been the subject of many fictionalized portrayals. In 1977, Anne Bancroft played Meir in William Gibson's Broadway play Golda. The Australian actress Judy Davis played a young Meir in the television film A Woman Called Golda (1982), opposite Leonard Nimoy. Ingrid Bergman played the older Golda in the same film. In 2003, the American Jewish actress Tovah Feldshuh portrayed her on Broadway in Golda's Balcony, Gibson's second play about Meir's life. The one-woman show was controversial in its implication that Meir considered using nuclear weapons during the Yom Kippur War.
Valerie Harper portrayed her in the touring company and in the film version of Golda's Balcony. Supporting actress Colleen Dewhurst portrayed her in the 1986 TV-movie Sword of Gideon. In 2005, actress Lynn Cohen portrayed Meir in Steven Spielberg's film Munich. Later on, Tovah Feldshuh assumed her role once again in the 2006 English-speaking French movie O Jerusalem. She was played by the Polish actress Beata Fudalej in the 2009 film The Hope by Márta Mészáros.
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