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December 15, 1978 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-12-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, December 15, 1918 5

Israelis Mourn the Death of Former Prime Minister Golda Meir

(Continued from Page 1)
for state and. military fun-
erals, the casket was laid in
the grave, a justification
prayer was said, and a team
of girl soldiers laid wreaths
on the grave. Then, Still
under pouring rain, the
mourners passed by the
grave.
Only then, for a short
period of a few seconds, the
cloudy skies opened, and a
ray of sunshine covered the
new grave. Then it began
ing again.
rs. Meir died la
te Fri-
y afternoon, at the age
of 80, in Hadassah Hospi-
tal where she had been
under treatment since
August for lymphoma
cancer, an illness diag-
nosed 15 years ago, her
physician disclosed.
Mrs. Meir was acknowl-
edged by friends and foes
alike to have been one of the
most remarkable per-
sonalities of this century.
She was one of the few
women ever to hold the
office of Prime Minister,
serving as chief of govern-
ment during her nation's
gravest crisis, the Yom
Kippur War. She was Is-
rael's first Ambassador to
the Soviet Union and occu-
pied key Cabinet posts, first
as Minister of Labor and
later as Foreign Minister.
She was one of the signers of
Israel's proclamation of in-
dependence in 1948.
- In January, 1973, she was
received at the Vatican by
Pope Paul VI, the first Is-
raeli head of government to
have an audience with the
Pontiff.
No national day of
mourning was declared, as
the law prescribes such dec-
larations only when the
President, Prime Minister
or Knesset Speaker dies in
office. But the entire nation
was in mourning neverthe-
less from the moment Mrs.
Meir's death was officially
announced. The broadcast
media abandoned' its reg-
ular schedule for pro-
gramming appropriate to
an occasion of mourning.
Schools Sunday devoted
their classes to discussions
of Mrs. Meir's contributions
to the history of Israel, be-
fore and after it achieved
statehood.
Flags were flown at
half mast on all public
buildings; festivities
scheduled for the'
weekend were cancelled.
President Yitzhak Navon
described Mrs. Meir as "a
re leader" who had dedi-
ed her life to the Jewish
ople and identified with
every Jewish community in
the world. "She was loyal to
herself and herself was
loyal to the people of Israel,"
he said. One could differ
with her but one always re-
spected her and in times of
crisis "she stood as a firm
cliff in the face of threaten-

Ail

.

,

ing waves. She identified
completely with whatever
task she undertook," he
said.
Premier Menahem Begin,
in Oslo to accept the 1978
Nobel Peace Prize, ap-
peared on television there,
relayed by satellite to Is-
rael. A long-time political
foe of Mrs. Meir, Begin de-
clared that she had fought
all her life for the Jewish
people, their redemption
and their future.
He recalled her contribu-
tions to the establishment of
the State and noted espe-
cially her 'role as Israel's
first Ambassador to Moscow
where "she brought the
word of Zion to millions of
Jews in those days which
are remembered by all, and
tens of thousands of Jews
came, with great love to re-
ceive Israel's first Ambas-
sador.". Begin recalled that
Golda had once told him
that she told the Jews in the
USSR, "I thank you for hav-
ing.remained Jews."
"She was Israelis ,
spokesman to the nations
of the world;" Begin said.
She always addressed
them with pride, with
faith in the eternity of the
Jewish people. She was
Premier of the govern-
ment of national unity
and Premier in the , days
of agony and the triumph
of the Yom Kippur War.
She had historic
achievements to her cre-
dit in the annals of the
Jewish people and , her
memory will be engraved
in the hearts of our
people throughout the
generations," he said.
Shimon Peres, chairman
of the Labor Party, the
party long headed by Mrs.
Meir, called her "one of the
greatest women in the his-
tory of the Jewish people
and one of the decisive fig-
ures in the shaping and the
fate 'of the state of Israel.
She was a proud Jewess,"
Peres declared, "and un-
compromisingly certain of
the justice of her cause. She
may have had doubts dur-
ing her life but she was
never in doubt as to the jus-
tice of our actions, of our
existence and our path," he
said.

Golda Meir's life was in-
volved, in one way or an-
other, with every major
event of this century affect-
ing Jews and the struggle to
rebuild the Jewish State. Its
drama was such that she be-
came a living legend. In re-
cent years her career was
dramatized in a Broadway
theatrical production and
her autobiography was pub-
lished the world over in
many languages.
She was born Golda
Mabovitch in 1898 in Kiev,
Russia, one of three chil-
dren of a carpenter. Poverty
and pogroms drove the fam-
ily to immigrate to' the
United States -- as 'did
many tens of thousands 'of
Jewish families from East-
ern Europe at that time.
They settled in Milwaukee,
Wis., when Golda was eight.
She was graduated from
high school and enrolled in
the Milwaukee Norman
School for Teachers.
Childhood memories of
pogroms, intensified by the
massacres of Russian Jews
during the civil war that fol-
lowed the Bolshevik revolu-
tion, are credited with turn-
ing Golda toward Zionism
in her early teens. A
socialist in political outlook,
she joined the Poale Zion
(Labor Zionists) in 1915 at
the age of 17. She proved to
be a gifted orator in Yiddish
and English and quickly at-
tracted attention in local
Zionist circles.
She was graduated
from teachers' training
college in 1917 and was
married the same year to
Morris Meyerson, a
young immigrant from
Russia. She taught for
several years in schools
of the National Arbeiter ,
Farband and was a
member of a commission
of the Joint Distribution '
Committee aiding East
European Jews after
World War I.
Mrs. Meir rejected the
role of a "Diaspora Zionist"
and persuaded her husband
to settle in Palestine. They
arrived at Jaffa in the
American steamer
Pocahontas in the spring of
1921 when the third wave of
aliya was in full force and
Mrs. Meir plunged im-.

Allon to Speak

Detroit Memorial Service
for Golda Meir on Sunday

A community memorial
service for Golda Meir.will
be held 3 p.m. Sunday at
Cong. Shaarey Zedek. Yigal
Allon, former Israeli foreign
minister, will be special
guest speaker.
. Participants in the
memorial service include
John H. Shepherd,
president of the Jewish
Community Council of Met-
ropolitan Detroit; Marian
Shifman, vice president of

the' Council; George M.
Zeltzer, president of the
Jewish Welfare Federation
of Detroit; Frieda Le.emon,
national president of
Pioneer Women; Rabbi
Irwin Groner and Cantor
Jacob Barkin of Shaarey
Zedek; Rabbi. Israel Hal-
pern, president of the Rab-
binical Commission of the
Jewish Community- Coun-
cil; and Rabbi Richard
Hertz of Temple Beth El.

,

mediately into pioneer life.
For three years she engaged
in farming as a member of
Kibutz Merhavia in the Jez-
reel Valley. In 1924 she as-
sumed her first public posi-
tion — as treasurer of His-
tadrut's Office of public
Works in Tel Aviv, which
later developed into the
powerful • construction
cooperative, Solel Boneh.
In 1928, Mrs. Meir was
appointed executive .secre-
tary of, Moetzet
Hapoalot (Women's Labor
Council), the sister organ-
ization in Palestine of
Pioneer Women in the U.S.
The following year she
attended the 16th World
Zionist Congress in Zurich
as a delegate of Achdut Av-
oda, one of the two Labor
Zionist groups that in 1930
formed Mapai, forerunner
of Israel's Labor Party. That
event marked the begin-
ning of her activities in the
World Zionist 'Movement.
In
1932,
Moetzet
Hapoalot sent Mrs. Meir to
the United States as an
emissary to Pioneer
Women, which she served
as national secretary until
her return to Palestine in
1934. She was invited then
to join the executive com-

mittee of Histadrut and
subsequently became head
of its political department.
She travelled extensively
during the 1930s, attending
Zionist Congresses as a
delegate of Mapai and on
numerous missions to
Europe awl North America

on behalf of the Jewish
Agency and the World
Zionist Organization.
She was also a member
(Continued on Page 34)



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