olda Mebovitz (Meir) was born on May 3, 1898, in Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine. At the age of 8, her family immigrated to the United States, and she grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she excelled in her high school studies, and at a seminar for teachers. When she was young, Golda Meir joined the 'Poalei Tzion' youth movement. At the end of 1917, she married Morris Meyerson, and they immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1921, and joined the Merhavia group.
Golda Meyerson, later Meir, served as Secretary of the Workers' Council, and a member of the Secretariat of the Federation Workers' Council. Following the establishment of the Land of Israel Workers Party ('Mapai') in 1930 she was considered one of the party's central figures. At the end of 1940, following the death of Dov Hoz, Golda headed the Political Action Department of the Federation, and was among the most hard-line activists against British rule.
For eight months Golda Meir served as Secretary of the Labor Party, the unified party which included the 'Mapai', 'Ahdut Ha'avoda' and 'Rafi' parties. On August 1, 1968, she retired. In February 1969, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol passed away, and on March 17, 1969, Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister, being the sole candidate acceptable to the Labor Party and the other parties in the Government.
Golda Meir served as Prime Minister for five years. Under her leadership, Israel declared its willingness to accept the Rogers Peace Initiative, which included returning territory occupied by Israel. This declaration led to the dissolution of the National Unity Government, and to the resignation of the 'Likud' Party in August 1970.
[link to www.pmo.gov.il]
In June 1946, the British cracked down on the Zionist movement in Palestine, arresting many leaders of the Yishuv. They had been provoked by paramilitary Zionist activities. Meir took over as acting head of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency during the incarceration of Moshe Sharett. Thus she became the principal negotiator between the jewish people in Palestine and the British Mandatory authorities. After his release, Sharett went to the United States to attend talks on the UN Partition Plan, leaving Meir to head the Political Department until the establishment of the state in 1948.
In January 1948, the treasurer of the Jewish Agency was convinced that Israel would not be able to raise more than $7–8 million from the American Jewish community. Meir traveled to the United States and managed to raise $50 million, which was used to purchase arms in Europe for the nascent state. Ben-Gurion wrote that Meir's role as the "Jewish woman who got the money which made the state possible" would go down one day in the history books.
On May 10, 1948, four days before the official establishment of the state, Meir traveled to Amman disguised as an Arab woman for a secret meeting with King Abdullah of Transjordan at which she urged him not to join the other Arab countries in attacking the jewish people. Abdullah asked her not to hurry to proclaim a state. Meir replied: "We've been waiting for 2,000 years. Is that hurrying?"
As head of the Jewish Agency Political Department, Meir called the mass exodus of Arabs before the War of Independence in 1948 "dreadful" and likened it to what had befallen the jewish people in Nazi-occupied Europe.
In 1949, Meir was elected to the Knesset as a member of Mapai and served continuously until 1974. From 1949 to 1956, she served as Minister of Labour, introducing major housing and road construction projects. In 1955, on Ben Gurion's instructions, she stood for the position of mayor of Tel Aviv. She lost by the two votes of the religious bloc who withheld their support on the grounds that she was a woman.
In 1956, she became Foreign Minister under Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Her predecessor, Moshe Sharett, had asked all members of the foreign service to Hebraicize their last names. Upon her appointment as foreign minister, she shortened "Meyerson" to "Meir," which means "illuminate." As Foreign Minister, Meir promoted ties with the newly established states in Africa in an effort to gain allies in the international community. But she also believed that Israel had experience in nation-building that could be a model for the Africans. In her autobiography, she wrote: "Like them, we had shaken off foreign rule; like them, we had to learn for ourselves how to reclaim the land, how to increase the yields of our crops, how to irrigate, how to raise poultry, how to live together, and how to defend ourselves." Israel could be a role model because it "had been forced to find solutions to the kinds of problems that large, wealthy, powerful states had never encountered."
Meir sided with Dayan, citing Israel's need for foreign aid. She believed that Israel could not depend on European countries to supply Israel with military equipment, and the only country that might come to Israel's assistance was the United States. Fearing that the U.S. would be wary of intervening if Israel were perceived as initiating the hostilities, Meir decided against a pre-emptive strike. She made it a priority to inform Washington of her decision. Then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger later confirmed Meir's assessment by stating that if Israel had launched a pre-emptive strike, Israel would not have received "so much as a nail.
she decided wisely, with common sense and speedily, in favour of the full mobilization of the reserves, as recommended by the chief-of-staff, despite weighty political considerations, thereby performing a most important service for the defence of the state"
[link to en.wikipedia.org]