Golda Meir (1898-1978) was Israel's third prime minister, having served from 1969-1974, and to date is the only woman to be premier of Israel.
Meir was born in Kiev in 1898, but her family immigrated to the United States in 1906 in hopes of finding a better economic prospects. They settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
While in high school, Meir joined the Poalei Zion (Workers of Zion) Zionist organization. In 1921, she immigrated to Palestine, which was then under British rule, with her husband, Morris Myerson. They settled in Kibbutz Merhavya.
In 1924 they moved to Tel Aviv and Meir became an official in the Histadrut Labor Federation, and from 1932 to 1934, she worked as an emissary in the U.S.
In 1946, Meir served as head of the Jewish Agency's Political Department after British authorities in
Palestine imprisoned most of the Jewish community's leadership there. She was active raising funds in the U.S. to cover Israel's costs for the War of Independence,
and her American upbringing and fluent English helped make her one of Israel's most effective representatives abroad.
In 1948, David Ben-Gurion
appointed Meir to the Provisional Government, and in June of that year she was made ambassador to the Soviet Union. The following year, she was elected to the Knesset as a member of the ruling Mapai party and served as Minister of Labor until 1956. In June, 1956 she was appointed Foreign Minister, which she held until 1966.
From 1966-1968, Meir was secretary general of Mapai, then became the first secretary-general of the newly formed Labor Party.
When Prime Minister Levi Eshkol
died in early 1969, Meir became premier.
The major event during her administration was the Yom Kippur War,
when Israel was surprised by attacks from Egypt, Syria and other Arab forces on October 6, 1973. An official inquiry found that the Israel Defense Forces and the government had seriously erred in assessing Arab moves prior to the war.
Although Meir led the Labor Party to victory in elections held at the end of 1973, Meir resigned in 1974, and was replaced by Yitzhak Rabin.
She died in December 8, 1978.