Golda Meir was the first female head of state in the Western world and one of the most influential women in modern history. A blend of Emma Goldman and Martin Luther King Jr. in the guise of a cookie-serving grandmother, her uncompromising devotion to shaping and defending a Jewish homeland against dogged enemies and skittish allies stunned political contemporaries and transformed Middle Eastern politics for decades to follow. She outmaneuvered Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger at their own game of Realpolitik, and led Israel through a bloody war even as she eloquently pleaded for peace, carrying her nation through its most perilous hours while she herself battled cancer.
In this masterful biography, critically acclaimed author Elinor Burkett paints a vivid portrait of a legendary woman defined by contradictions: an iron resolve coupled with magnetic charm, a kindly demeanor that disguised a stunning hard-heartedness, and a complete dedication to her country that often overwhelmed her personal relationships.
personal, how could she trust Kissinger knowing that his priority was to protect America’s oil supply and détente with the Soviets rather than the security of Israel? At times, his arrogance overwhelmed her. “There’s no greater expert on American policy than Kissinger,” she once retorted after he’d issued yet another treatise on how Israel should conduct itself. “But on Israeli policy, I have my PhD.” Kissinger didn’t trust Golda either—and she was frustrating his carefully laid plans. Never one
history, the Lavon Affair has been written about extensively. The most complete analysis is Shabtai Teveth, Ben Gurion’s Spy: The Story of the Political Scandal That Shaped Modern Israel (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996). But Golda had gamed out every move: Ibid., p. 305. “Stating that no party member”: Almogi, Total Commitment. Ben-Gurion prepared himself carefully: For background on Ben-Gurion’s mood, see Kurzman, Ben-Gurion, Prophet of Fire, pp. 446–48. thrown down the gauntlet:
131–33, 138–39, 144, 148–49 peace signals by, ignored by Golda, 8 restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine and, 90, 93, 96–98, 108, 113 Soviet Union and, 150 Arab terrorists, 10, 46, 181–82, 187–92, 219, 236, 257, 283–87, 297, 305, 314–15, 368, 382 Arab women, 173 Arab workers occupied territories and, 235, 241, 297 pre-partition Palestine and Jewish labor, 57, 76, 81–82 Arafat, Yasir, 138, 258, 283–84, 288–89, 292, 306, 355, 380 Aranne, Zalman, 209, 217, 235, 294–95
attacks on police stations and the waterfront. Gangs of young people blocked the streets of the city to allow the illegal immigrants to escape detection. While the commissioners debated the future of Palestine, the British made a serious miscalculation that shifted international sentiment more drastically against them. In La Spezia, a small port on Italy’s Ligurian coast, the British occupying forces blocked the harbor to prevent the sailing of the ship Fede, carrying 1,014 Jewish refugees. The
its final report, a 750-page document laying out a broad program of reform—a negative income tax, recalculation of children’s allowances and old age pensions, the revamping of the educational system, the funding of informal educational facilities, and new initiatives in housing. The next government, Golda promised, the one that would be elected in October 1973, would deal vigorously with the committee’s recommendations. CHAPTER FOURTEEN Moses dragged us for forty years through the desert