Monday, May 21, 2018

Woman of Iron

Again Israel is in the news as the media join the terrorists that surround that tiny sliver of democracy at the East end of the Mediterranean in pouring petrol on the fires. Like it or not Israel has war brought to its borders and not just by evil middle eastern types but by the massed liars of the western press. One has to thank those who populate the internet for giving a more balanced picture of events.  But balance is not what Israel ever seems to get. 

It gets War instead. And it is hardly a surprise that it has War Leaders arise.

In 1973 it had shootin' War and the Leader was a woman of iron. It wasn't a long war, and it won, but the cost was high and the weight fell on Grand-maternal shoulders. As my Lady of the Tavern was telling today. She was sitting out on the patio in the sunshine reading about Golda Meir.  (The Southern Gal sitting out, not Mrs Meir ). I joined her, taking her a Mint Julep. 
The Israeli Iron Lady
She Looks Fine Enough to Me.
“Not being beautiful was the true blessing. Not being beautiful forced me to develop my inner resources. The pretty girl has a handicap to overcome.” ― Golda Meir
It is said that a strong matriarchal figure can be the glue that holds the family together. 
Golda Meir represents the strong Jewish grandmother holding her nation together through her wisdom and strength. 
Love her or hate her, she was living under an extreme time that often required extreme measures.
In comparison to other cultures (i.e. their pagan counterparts), Jewish women often enjoyed great liberty and esteem. Many women in the Old Testament distinguished themselves as prophetesses and leaders in Jewish society. Women such as Deborah, Esther, Hannah, Huldah, Jochebed, Miriam, Noadiah, Rachel, Rebekah, Rahab, Ruth and Sarah played important and decisive roles in Israel's history.  
These women were not weak.  
Anyone who grew up as a child hearing these stories can see the strong impact that these women made in their time. 
As evidence of the equality of men and women in the Jewish faith, the Ten Commandments require children to honour both their father and mother.  The degradation of women was, and is, often a perversion of the scriptures, which was never a part of the Creator’s intent for women.   Women were often used outside of the role of wife and mother to carry out a greater purpose throughout biblical history.  
"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12, NAS)
It is said that a strong matriarchal figure can be the glue that holds the family together.   Golda Meir represents the strong Jewish grandmother holding her nation together through her wisdom and strength. Love her or hate her, she was living under an extreme time that often required extreme measures.
 Meir was atypical for her time.  For one simple reason: she was a woman. 
Israel was her child….to nurture, to grow, to protect and even risk her life for. Much like a mother does her young.
 Every once in a while, you run across particular women in history who stand out for the good of humanity.  Women who take risks and do the right thing no matter what it costs.  Women who abandoned a life of comfort for the good of their people.  Women who are ordained by God for something bigger than themselves.  These women are willing to pay the costs.  
Golda Meir paid the cost, at times both personally and professionally.  
“It isn't really important to decide when you are very young just exactly what you want to become when you grow up. It is much more important to decide on the way you want to live. If you are going to be honest with yourself and honest with your friends, if you are going to get involved in causes which are good for others, not only for yourselves, then it seems to me that that is sufficient, and maybe what you will be is only a matter of chance.” 
― Golda Meir  
Golda Meir, was born Golda Mabovitch on May 3, 1898, in  Kiev, Ukraine.  Due to severe anti-Semitism in the former Soviet bloc country, her family immigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1906.  It was here she attended the Milwaukee Normal School (now University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and later became a leader in the Milwaukee Labor Zionist Party.  
Meir once revealed she didn’t have many fond memories of her childhood in Ukraine.  Being a Jew in Ukraine meant always being on guard against pogroms. Supporting a family during that time and place became nearly impossible.   The family was living in a ghetto in virtual poverty.  The anti-Semitism Golda witnessed early in her life would remain with her and greatly influence the course of her life.  Golda’s father, like so many of his countrymen, longed for a better life for his family and journeyed to the United States to earn money.  
Not long after immigrating to the United States, Meir showed interest in public service.  Golda was known for her strong will and stubbornness.  She grew to love the idea of the Jewish people having their own homeland and become a staunch Zionist.      
When Golda married Morris Myerson in 1917, settling in Palestine was her precondition for the marriage.   In 1921, she and Myerson and immigrated to Palestine and joined the Merẖavya kibbutz.  In the kibbutz her duties included planting trees, picking almonds and running the kitchen. She was a capable woman who managed all her responsibilities well. She became the kibbutz’s representative to the Histadrut (General Federation of Labour), the secretary of that organization’s Women’s Labour Council and many other. 
On May 14, 1948, Goldie Myerson was a signatory of Israel’s independence declaration and that year she was appointed minister to Moscow. She was elected to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in 1949 and served in that body until 1974. 
As minister of labour (1949–56), she carried out major programs of housing and road construction and vigorously supported the policy of unrestricted Jewish immigration to Israel. Appointed foreign minister in 1956, she Hebraized her name to Golda Meir. She promoted the Israeli policy of assistance to the new African states aimed at enhancing diplomatic support among uncommitted nations. 
Two Iron Ladies
Shortly after retiring from the Foreign Ministry in January 1966, she became secretary-general of the Mapai Party and supported Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in intraparty conflicts. After Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War (June 1967) against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, she helped merge Mapai with two dissident parties into the Israel Labour Party.  
A formidable personality, she was called the ‘Iron Lady’ of Israeli politics; she was also called ‘the best man in the government’ by former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.
“We Jews have a secret weapon in our war with the Arabs; we have nowhere else to go…. we have to fight.”
-Golda Meir
 February 26, 1969, Meir, became prime minister.  Meir pressed for a peace settlement in the Middle East by diplomatic means.
“A story once went the rounds of Israel to the effect that Ben-Gurion described me as 'the only man' in his cabinet. What amused me about is that he (or whoever invented the story) thought that this was the greatest compliment that could be paid to a woman. I very much doubt that any man would have been flattered if I had said about him that he was the only woman in the government!” 
― Golda Meir
Her efforts at forging a peace with the Arab states were halted by the outbreak of the fourth Arab-Israeli war, called the Yom Kippur War in October 1973
Israel’s lack of readiness for the war shocked the nation.  
Meir formed a new coalition government, albeit with great difficulty, in March 1974 and resigned her post as prime minister on April 10. 
Just to fill in a little for the younger folk in the bars.....  the war began when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli positions in the Israeli-occupied territories on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, which also occurred that year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights respectively. Both the United States and the Soviet Union initiated massive resupply efforts to their respective allies during the war, and this led to a near-confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers.

The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal. Egyptian forces crossed the cease-fire lines, then advanced virtually unopposed into the Sinai Peninsula. 

After three days, Israel had mobilized most of its forces and halted the Egyptian offensive, resulting in a military stalemate. The Syrians coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive and initially made threatening gains into Israeli-held territory. Within three days, however, Israeli forces had pushed the Syrians back to the pre-war ceasefire lines. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) then launched a four-day counter-offensive deep into Syria. Within a week, Israeli artillery began to shell the outskirts of Damascus, and Egyptian President Sadat began to worry about the integrity of his major ally. He believed that capturing two strategic passes located deeper in the Sinai would make his position stronger during post-war negotiations; he therefore ordered the Egyptians to go back on the offensive, but their attack was quickly repulsed. 
The Israelis then counter-attacked at the seam between the two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal into Egypt, and began slowly advancing southward and westward towards the city of Suez in over a week of heavy fighting that resulted in heavy casualties on both sides.

On October 22, a United Nations–brokered ceasefire unraveled, with each side blaming the other for the breach. By October 24, the Israelis had improved their positions considerably and completed their encirclement of Egypt's Third Army and the city of Suez. This development led to tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, and a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on October 25 to end the war.

Here endeth the history lesson. 

Like Mrs Thatcher (who very likely gained iron in her britches watching from the sidelines, and who also successfully faced  surprise attack, although as far from home as one can imagine, and also had a stunning victory) Golda Meir was politically punished.
The Meir government was heavily criticized for failing to predict the imminent war and for being ill-prepared. Even though Israel won with American assistance and against overwhelming odds, Meir had lost the trust of the people.  The casualties for the Israelis were high.  Her party won the December 1973 elections, but she decided not to continue as the Prime Minister.
She remained in power as head of a caretaker government until a new one was formed in June. Although in retirement thereafter, she remained an important political figure. 
Upon her death it was revealed that she had been privately battling lymphatic cancer for 15 years. 
On December 8, 1978, she died at the age of 80.  
Golda had many accomplishments during her political life including being one of the 24 signatories who signed the Israeli Declaration of Independence which established a separate State of Israel.  She is also remembered as a person of strong character, known for her honest and straightforward ways.  Her extraordinary life was not without pain or controversy.  Many said her children and her own family were often neglected due to her political commitments.  
Despite Meir’s strong presence, she was no fan of the women’s movement.  She felt women held power on their own merit and wanted to be known for what she could accomplish first and foremost for her people.  
Meir was passionate about everything she became involved in.  She had an iron will to defend her people at all costs.  Some would call her policies extreme. Her nickname was the ‘Iron Lady’ of Israeli politics.  She has remained a controversial figure for some and was considered a savior of Israel for others.  
“I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.” 
― Golda Meir
Golda remained an important political presence and to this day retains a place in the heart of the people of Israel as the kindly grandmother who rose to greatness in her country’s hour of need. Golda Meir died in Jerusalem on December 8th 1978.  
What history says about her for good or bad…remains to be seen.  
And it will say much, and much will be mixed. There will be much more said about many more Israeli leaders, too, as their story continues.

A more abused people it would be hard to find, unless one looks to their enemies. 

The Muslim nations are very good at abusing themselves in their blood hatreds. 

Time will tell if the Israelis will prosper where they sit, or whether they will be driven into/onto the blue, warm waters of the Med.

Oz has huge expanses of desert, ripe for enterprising Israelis to turn into fruitful gardens, as those courageous and hard working people have done to that tiny, rocky land. They would make far better neighbours.

I sat and pondered with TSG this picture of Golda. Not a handsome old lady, but a warrior's heart.

Drink to Heroic people.

Pray for all the souls.



  1. Thank goodness there are just enough of these about to keep the world just this side of the line.

  2. Right here is the right website for anybody who really wants to understand this topic.

    You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you
    (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You
    certainly put a brand new spin on a subject which has been discussed for years.
    Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

    1. Thank you. I'm sure the Southern Gal will appreciate that.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..