My Life: The Iron Lady of Israel, Golda Meir - V

NewsBharati    13-Nov-2023 16:06:47 PM   
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Nachman Syrkin comes first in this list who was one of the fiery ideologists of the Labour-Zionist movement,a Russian jew, he believed that mass immigration to Palestine was the sole hope of Jews and was an advocate for the revival of the Hebrew language. He wanted to embrace the dreams which were described then as empty dreams.

gold meir

Shmaryahu Levin was another name she noted, he was ' elegant, persuasive and deeply intellectual '. Even the smallest town had a road named after him Israel, he settled in Palestine, and she idolised him. She refers to Yitzhak Zvi, who later became the second president of Israel. Ya'akov Zerubavel,a labour Zionist, Ben- Zvi and Ben- Gurion too were the personalities that influenced her a lot. Their argument was only when Jews would play a significant and military role as Jews then the claim to the land of Israel be tenable. When Golda tried to volunteer she learned that girls were not accepted.

These people described the Jewish agricultural settlements in Palestine ( there were more than 50 such settlements ),they were populated by ' flesh and blood people ' and Tel Aviv ( Israel's cultural and commercial capital )which was found on the sand dunes outside Jaffa ( known for the expansive orchards and fruits, including its namesake Jaffa orange ).

Golda availed every opportunity to know about the activities carried on in Palestine. Many visited Milwaukee to talk on the issues related to Jews then and gradually Zionism started filling her mind and she felt as a Jew she should do whatever she could, to attain the goal because she belonged to Palestine. The decision to go to Palestine followed it, she didn't want to just encourage and advocate it like a parlour Zionist. She even planned her future in Palestine, she probably discussed it with Morris too. Morris was a different personality, but he supported Golda in her activities.

Golda and her father joined the People's Relief committee founded by a Jewish labour group and worked together.
Towards the end of the First World War, the American Jewish Congress was established which played an important role in the formation of the World Jewish Congress in 1930. One group of Jews did not support pro- Palestine approach. In its election, she actively participated and, put a box outside the synagogue where women were not allowed to address the assembly.

Her father did not approve of it, they had a heated argument where none of them was ready to budge. The next day when he heard her present the points,he was carried away listening to her, forgetting that he wanted to prevent her from doing such things.

Golda started getting involved in teaching at a part-time school on Saturdays and Sundays. She taught reading, and writing Yiddish and engaged some lectures in Yiddish literature as well as history. She observed that Yiddish was one of the strongest links that existed in the Jewish community. She thought it was the language that United Jews scattered all over the world.

Eventually, when she went to Palestine, she had to learn Hebrew, but she noted that her inclination to Yiddish was stronger compared to Hebrew. She enjoyed the school and children too, even her family now supported all the activities at school. Golda and Morris took children on picnics and would discuss many things about life and liberty. After the world war started, pogroms broke out, and Golda helped organising the protest against the pogroms on the main streets of Milwaukee. She felt there was nothing to feel ashamed of, the March was successful. Many non-Jews too participated and supported the cause. It got publicity throughout America. Golda noted that she had non-Jewish friends too, but never experienced anti-Semitism in Milwaukee.

This is the time when she realised she had to make the decision about Palestine. She could conclude that Jews had to have their own land, and she must help it built by living and working there. Golda joined formally the Labour-Zionist Party as the first step towards her goal.

She then had the task of persuading Morris to join her. Of course, they had to wait for a couple of years to raise sufficient money. She wanted to marry him and go to Palestine too. He wanted time to come to a conclusion. She knew he was wise and they were slightly different personalities.

Of course, she didn't want to choose between Morris and Palestine.

Golda moved to Chicago, and her sister Sheyna moved there with her two children. Her friend Regina too followed her. Golda was working for Labour-Zionists, making speeches, organising meetings and raising funds. She stated that there always used to be something to distract her from her personal worries and this continued for the rest of her life.

In 1917 British government announced that they favoured ' the establishment in Palestine of a national home for Jewish People and it would use its best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this objective '. This is known as the Balfour Declaration, as it was signed by Arthur James Balfour who was the foreign secretary of Britain. That was the time when British forces started conquering the land of Palestine. Zionists thought it was a laying foundation of the Jewish nation. Golda thought that with Morris she would be among millions of Jews to stream to Palestine. They married in the same year, they didn't want a religious ceremony but on the insistence of her mother, they agreed. Her mother till her death always talked about the religious ceremony with pride. Golda wrote how she had almost ruined her happiness by refusing the religious rites.

They had to wait till the war to end ,it was not possible to go to Palestine immediately. She actively worked for Labour -Zionists party, travelled extensively,presented the thoughts, addressed the meetings. Morris, she wrote,was ' immensely patient and understanding ' ,so it was possible for her to devote a lot of time for such activities. He would patiently wait for her in Milwaukee,helped her younger sister Clara who adored and trusted him.

In 1918 Golda was selected to as one of the delegates from Milwaukee for the first American Jewish Congress to be held at Philadelphia. This she considered as the beginning of her political career,where there were debates on various points,she was able to cast her vote ,the details of the programme were prepared. She wrote to Morris ' some moments reached such hights that after them one could have died happily '.

Golda's sister Sheyna was probably a bit concerned that golda could not focus on her personal life. Golda promised Morris when they would be in Palestine she would not be ' on the move ' consistently.

Prof. Vidya Deshpande

Professor Vidya Deshpande has had a journey of more than four decades in the field of education. Her  main expertise is in the subject of Philosophy,  and she has worked as a teacher of philosophy and logic with Nowrosjee Wadia college for 36 years. She has been associated with the Janakalyan Blood bank for last for 38 years and has also carried out the responsibility as a management committee member of Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha for 10 years. Her special fields of interest are Philosophy of social sciences, school education, development of skills for self reliance,  and top up skills to make students profession ready,