This piece is part of a new series in collaboration with the ABC’s Saturday Extra program. Each week, the show will have a “who am I” quiz for listeners about influential figures who helped shape the 20th century, and we will publish profiles for each one. You can read the other pieces in the series here.
Golda Meir was the fourth prime minister of Israel and the first woman to hold that position. She was hugely influential in the building of a Jewish and Zionist Israel, and a significant – and also controversial – figure in world politics.
Born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1898, Meir grew up in the United States and died in Jerusalem in 1978. This was a common Jewish migration pattern in that era, as people escaped the persecutions of the Pale of Settlement – the areas of the Russian empire in which Jews were allowed to settle – for a new life in the West.
Having served as Israeli ambassador to the Soviet Union, minister of foreign affairs, minister of labour and minister of internal affairs, Meir became prime minister in 1969. She held this role until 1974, resigning after the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.