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Israel State Archives publishes new commemorative book on Golda Meir Photo by: Moshe Milner
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Israel State Archives publishes new commemorative book on Golda Meir

16 August 2016

The book, which includes 182 published papers, many for the first time, brings to light the story of Golda's life's work from previously unknown perspectives.

The book describes her childhood and her days in the pre-state Histadrut (labor federation) institutions. An extensive chapter deals with the period in which she served as the first Minister of Labor, from 1949 to 1956.  These were years of mass immigration and the ministry was in charge of all the main functions of immigrant absorption, management and operation of the refugee transition camps, and massive public construction projects greater in scale than any in the Western world. It further describes the ten years in which Meir headed the Foreign Ministry and worked to improve Israel's relations with the world.

Most of the book is devoted to Meir's years as Prime Minister (1969 to 1974). These years were filled with diplomatic contacts, terrorism and border hostilities, alongside economic prosperity and storms of social protest.  It culminated with a threatening and painful war.  Did Meir really say that, "The [Black] Panthers are not nice?" How did she view the relationship between religion and state? How did she deal with widespread terror? Was she really a chronic objector who rejected any chance of progress towards peace, or did she act to promote a political settlement in a way that is unknown to the public?

The book, using documentation never previously unearthed, extensively examines Meir's leadership during the Yom Kippur War: Why didn't she act to call up reserves before the war? What was her role in the recovery that led the IDF to immense accomplishments? How did she deal with the Americans during the post-war crisis? How did she face postwar criticism and the Agranat Commission findings?