Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel

By :  The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary Posted On Oct 26, 2017 | Author Conversations: Between the Lines | Israel
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Francine Klagsbrun’s definitive new biography of Golda Meir brings to life a world figure unlike any other. An iron-willed leader, chain-smoking political operative, and tea-and-cake-serving grandmother who became the fourth prime minister of Israel, Meir was one of the most notable women of our time.

Born in czarist Russia in 1898, Meir immigrated to America in 1906 and grew up in Milwaukee, where from her earliest years she displayed the political consciousness and organizational skills that would eventually catapult her into the inner circles of Israel’s founding generation. Moving to mandatory Palestine in 1921 with her husband, the passionate socialist joined a kibbutz but soon left and was hired at a public works office by the man who would become the great love of her life.

A series of public service jobs brought her to the attention of David Ben-Gurion, and her political career took off. Fundraising in America in 1948, secretly meeting in Amman with King Abdullah right before Israel’s declaration of independence, mobbed by thousands of Jews in a Moscow synagogue in 1948 as Israel’s first representative to the USSR, serving as minister of labor and foreign minister in the 1950s and 1960s, Golda brought fiery oratory, plainspoken appeals, and shrewd deal-making to the cause to which she had dedicated her life—the welfare and security of the State of Israel and its inhabitants.

Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, JTS, served as moderator.

Francine Klagsbrun is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day and Married People: Staying Together in the Age of Divorce. She was the editor of the best-selling Free to Be . . . You and Me and is a regular columnist for The Jewish Week, a contributing editor to Lilith, and on the editorial board of Hadassah magazine. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Newsweek, and Ms. Magazine. She lives in New York City.