Golda Meir quotes

Golda Meir photo
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Golda Meir

Birthdate: 21. April 1898
Date of death: 8. December 1978

Golda Meir was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik, stateswoman, politician and the fourth Prime Minister of Israel.

Born in Kiev, she emigrated to the United States as a child with her family in 1906, and was educated there, becoming a teacher. After marrying, she and her husband emigrated to then Mandatory Palestine in 1921, settling on a kibbutz. Meir was elected prime minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. The world's fourth and Israel's first and only woman to hold the office, she has been described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics; the term was later applied to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. 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."Meir resigned as prime minister in 1974, the year following the Yom Kippur War. She died in 1978 of lymphoma. Wikipedia

Photo: Marion S. Trikosko / Public domain

Works

My Life
Golda Meir

„When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.“

—  Golda Meir

Press conference in London (1969), as quoted in A Land of Our Own : An Oral Autobiography (1973) edited by Marie Syrkin, p. 242
Variant: When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.

„We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon — no alternative.“

—  Golda Meir

As quoted in LIFE magazine (3 October 1969), p. 32
Context: We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon — no alternative. The Egyptians could run to Egypt, the Syrians into Syria. The only place we could run was into the sea, and before we did that we might as well fight.

„I prefer to stay alive and be criticized than be sympathized.“

—  Golda Meir

Fallaci interview (1973)

„We hate war. We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown, and when strawberries bloom in Israel.“

—  Golda Meir

As quoted in As Good as Golda : The Warmth and Wisdom of Israel's Prime Minister (1970) edited by Israel Shenker and Mary Shenker, p. 28
Context: We owe a responsibility not only to those who are in Israel but also to those generations that are no more, to those millions who have died within our lifetime, to Jews all over the world, and to generations of Jews to come. We hate war. We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown, and when strawberries bloom in Israel.

„It is a dreadful thing to see the dead city. Next to the port I found children, women, the old, waiting for a way to leave.“

—  Golda Meir

As acting head of the Jewish Agency Political Department visited Arab Haifa and reported to the Jewish Agency Executive (6 May 1948); as quoted in "The birth of the Palestinian Refuge problem revisited" by Benny Morris, p. 309/10 of 2nd Edition 2004, citing Protocol of meeting of JAE, 6 May 1948, CZA 45/2
Context: It is a dreadful thing to see the dead city. Next to the port I found children, women, the old, waiting for a way to leave. I entered the houses, there were houses where the coffee and pita bread were left on the table, and I could not avoid [thinking] that this, indeed, had been the picture in many Jewish towns [i. e., in Europe, during World War II]'.

„There were no such thing as Palestinians.“

—  Golda Meir

When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.
As quoted in Sunday Times (15 June 1969), also in The Washington Post (16 June 1969)

„Above all, this country is our own. Nobody has to get up in the morning and worry what his neighbors think of him. Being a Jew is no problem here.“

—  Golda Meir

On 30th anniversary of the founding of Israel, in International Herald Tribune (11 May 1978)

„[The Soviet government] is the most realistic regime in the world — no ideals.“

—  Golda Meir

Source: https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=WWMHAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA132&dq=%5BThe+Soviet+government%5D+is+the+most+realistic+regime+in+the+world+%E2%80%94+no+ideals.&hl=es-419&sa=X&ei=YpSgVOShKoyogwT9loTIAg&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%5BThe%20Soviet%20government%5D%20is%20the%20most%20realistic%20regime%20in%20the%20world%20%E2%80%94%20no%20ideals.&f=false

„In Israel, we read from right to left.“

—  Golda Meir

To Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State, who had written her that he considers himself 'an American first, Secretary of State second, and a Jew third'
Source: https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=kOICAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA28&lpg=PA28&dq=Golda+Meir+In+Israel,+we+read+from+right+to+left.&source=bl&ots=JVGhSq8aqj&sig=i0y3YiXiGFjO7UPRpBvAP36p6e0&hl=es-419&sa=X&ei=zpOgVJjnDIuVNvJK&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Golda%20Meir%20In%20Israel%2C%20we%20read%20from%20right%20to%20left.&f=false

„To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.“

—  Golda Meir

When questioned on Israel's future, in The New York Times (12 December 1974)

„I have given instructions that I be informed every time one of our soldiers is killed, even if it is in the middle of the night. When President Nasser leaves instructions that he is to be awakened in the middle of the night if an Egyptian soldier is killed, there will be peace.“

—  Golda Meir

Source: https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=iFsKDzuRfNkC&pg=PA35&lpg=PA35&dq=I+have+given+instructions+that+I+be+informed+every+time+one+of+our+soldiers+is+killed,+even+if+it+is+in+the+middle+of+the+night.+When+President+Nasser+leaves+instructions+that+he+is+to+be+awakened+in+the+middle+of+the+night+if+an+Egyptian+soldier+is+killed,+there+will+be+peace.&source=bl&ots=uyEzv-aQ4v&sig=ee9r_1Rchk34xECFV2PoqgnTLYk&hl=es-419&sa=X&ei=_ZOgVNjyBZKDNsT6gbAL&ved=0CBkQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=I%20have%20given%20instructions%20that%20I%20be%20informed%20every%20time%20one%20of%20our%20soldiers%20is%20killed%2C%20even%20if%20it%20is%20in%20the%20middle%20of%20the%20night.%20When%20President%20Nasser%20leaves%20instructions%20that%20he%20is%20to%20be%20awakened%20in%20the%20middle%20of%20the%20night%20if%20an%20Egyptian%20soldier%20is%20killed%2C%20there%20will%20be%20peace.&f=false

„It is true we have won all our wars, but we have paid for them. We don't want victories anymore.“

—  Golda Meir

Source: As quoted in LIFE magazine (3 October 1969), p. 32

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