In the Shadow of Washington
by Norman Provizer

Article published in Kevin Cope (ed.), George Washington in and As Culture (New York: AMS Press, 2001).

On May 14, 1948, in a ceremony held before 200 people in the Tel Aviv Art Museum on Rothschild Boulevard, David Ben-Gurion announced “the establishment of a Jewish state…to be known as the state of Israel. ” After Ben-Gurion read the new nation’s Declaration of Independence, members of the National Council, representing the Jewish population in Palestine and the Zionist movement, came forward to sign the document. Among that group, there was a 50-year-old woman by the name of Golda Mabovitch Meyerson. [1] Ben-Gurion would be Israel’s first prime minister, for he was clearly that nation’s version of the “Indispensable Man,” to borrow James T. Flexner’s telling description of George Washington. But, to the surprise of many, Meyerson would not be far behind, emerging, after the sudden death of Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in 1969, as the leader of her nation, following long service as Minister of Labor (1949-1956) and Foreign Minister (1956-1966). And by then, she was known to the world as Golda Meir, the name she adopted in 1956. [2]

“Many leaders,” in the words of Richard Nixon, whose time in the White House corresponded with Meir’s tenure as prime minister, “drive to the top by the force of personal ambition. They seek power because they want power. Not Golda Meir. All her life she simply set out to do a job, whatever that might be, and poured into it every ounce of energy and dedication she could summon.” [3] Other women (Sirimavo Bandaranaike in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, in 1960 and Indira Gandhi in India in 1966) had come to power in the twentieth century before Meir emerged as Israel’s prime minister. Yet it was Meir who was the “female leader who owed nothing to the Appendage Syndrome” that brought those who came before her to power because of their family ties; and that, in the words of Antonia Fraser, was a truly “remarkable achievement.” [4] Still, Meir never seemed to seek power. Instead, it appeared she only responded to the call to take it and, by so doing, became a political symbol of special importance.

In this sense, at least, the tough, but grandmotherly Meir captured the idea of servant-leadership described in the work of Robert Greenleaf. In Greenleaf’s words, the servant-leader “begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. For such it will be a later choice to serve — after leadership is established.” [5] In short, it is the lure of power versus the call to exercise it through service.

This theme is very visible in a November 1972 interview with Meir conducted by the noted and strongly anti-Zionist Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. In response to Fallaci’s question about possible retirement, the 74-year-old Israeli prime minister remarked that she sometimes thought, “To hell with everything, to hell with everybody, I’ve done my share now let others do theirs, enough, enough, enough! If I’ve stayed this long…it’s out of duty and nothing else.” In fact, Meir went on to give Fallaci a retirement date, October 1973, following the elections scheduled for that month. “Once they’re over, good-bye!” [6]

History would make a liar of Meir. For instead of elections, October 1973 brought the Yom Kippur War. And, though she was bitterly attacked for allowing the surprise and costly assault to catch Israel sleeping, Meir retained the prime minister’s office when the delayed elections were finally held. But, with the controversy over the Yom Kippur War still swirling about her, she submitted her resignation in April 1974, saying simply, “I have had enough,” and left office in June of that year. [7] Meir discovered, as had George Washington, that, “Past glory was no defense against current criticism.” [8]

When Meir was sent to the United States, starting in the late 1940s, to raise funds to support Israeli independence and the state’s survival in the face of the Arab world’s hostility, she has misgivings, still she went saying “I’m only a soldier called upon to do my duty.” [9] The fund-raising trips in America (where the Ukrainian/Russian-born Meir arrived at age eight in 1906 and remained until her departure for Palestine in 1921 to pursue her vision of Socialist/Labor Zionism) were amazingly successful, leading Ben-Gurion to comment that when the history of Israel is written it will say “there was a Jewish woman who got the money to make the state possible.” [10]

Despite such credentials and the imposing list of leadership positions she held, Meir never fit into the traditional framework of great leaders. She was, in this regard, much like George Washington. In his book on the symbolic Washington, Barry Schwartz notes:

In the European romantic tradition, a leader’s greatness is revealed in his stunning use of power. By declaring that “Jarge Washington was no’ great man,” Thomas Carlyle gave clear voice to that tradition. Many years later, the German scholar Johannes Kuhn explained , “It is not easy for Europeans to comprehend the significance of a man like Washington. We are too accustomed to seek human greatness in unusual talents and gifts of an individual nature.” [11]

It is those unusual talents and gifts that issue the self-generated call, in Weberian terms, for leaders to fulfill their sense of divine mission and for followers to do their duty and submit to the leader’s commands. That approach, Schwartz continues, was not the ideal in 18th century America, which “stressed the republican virtues of obligation, sacrifice, and disinterestedness.” [12] In a similar vein, Gordon Wood, in his foreword to the 1998 exhibition catalogue marking the 200th anniversary of Washington’s death, writes:

In many respects Washington was an unlikely hero. To be sure, he had all the physical attributes of a classical hero…Yet those who knew him well and talked with him were often disappointed. He never seemed to have much to say. He was He was most certainly not what one today would call an intellectual…Jefferson, who was unusually generous in his estimate of his friends, said that Washington’s “colloquial talents were not above mediocrity.” He had “neither copiousness of ideas nor fluency of words.” [13]

Further, Wood reminds us that Washington “was not a military genius, and his tactical and strategic maneuvers were not the sort that awed men.” [14] But such an absence of Weberian charisma was not a fatal flaw. After all, as Daniel Boorstin argues:

The dominant American national heroes have not been charismatic figures…not men of superhuman inspiration expressing “a divine essence” in the mold of Carlyle’s Heroes and Hero-Worship; rather they seem to embody and illustrate the common virtues or what we like to believe are the common virtues of our society. [15]

Prudence, honor and virtue (in short, character) produced the symbolic Washington. As for Meir, she, unlike Washington, was the product of a democratic and egalitarian world (not that of “gentlemen” leaders) and possessed neither “the physical attributes of a classical hero” nor the drive of grandiose ambition. She always thought of herself as a worker, not a symbol. And while she was a political figure covered in part by Washington’s shadow, Meir existed outside of it as well. For example, in answer to Fallaci’s comment that Meir was “the symbol of Israel,” the prime minister responded:

I, a symbol?! Some symbol! Are you maybe pulling my leg? You didn’t know the great men who were really the symbol of Israel, the men who founded Israel and by whom it was influenced…I swear to you on my children and grandchildren that I’ve never put myself in the same category as a Ben-Gurion or a [Berl] Katznelson. I’m not crazy! I’ve done what I’ve done, that’s true. But I can’t say that if I hadn’t done what I’ve done, Israel would have been any different [16].

If that’s the case, Fallaci probed, “why do they say you’re the only one who can hold the country together?” Meir answered:

Nonsense! Now, I’ll tell you something that’ll convince you. When Eshkol died in 1969, they conducted a poll to find out how much popularity his possible successors had. And you know how many people came out for me? One percent. Maybe one and a half percent…it was by accident that Golda Meir got to lead the country. Eshkol was dead, someone had to take his place, and the party thought I might replace him because I was acceptable to all factions…that’s all. In fact. I didn’t even want to accept. I had got out of governmental politics, I was tired. You can ask my children and grandchildren. [17]

In short order, Meir went from retirement (leaving her position as Foreign Minister, though not her seat in the Knesset, in 1966) to serving as Secretary General of her party, Mapai, in order to bring the different fragments of the Labor movement into a unified, political alliance. On the call to leave retirement and take up the reins of the party, Meir wrote, “It was the one appeal that I couldn’t turn down. Not because I was so sure I would succeed or because I so yearned to be in the middle of a crucial struggle all over again — and not because I was bored, as many people probably thought — but for a much simpler and much more important reason: I truly believed that the future of the labor movement was at stake…I couldn’t turn at this stage of my life either on my principles or on my colleagues.” [18]

This was the constant theme of her political life and one further illustrated by Menahem Meir’s review of his mother’s secret meetings with King Abdullah of Transjordan in 1947 and 1948. She was selected for the job, above all, in Menahem Meir’s words, for “her readiness to undertake whatever task had to be done, no matter how tiring or how dangerous.” [19]

After her un-retirement, Meir again left public life for a private existence, stepping down as the Labor Alignment’s Secretary General in 1968. Then, the call came once more, this time to become prime minister. Her son recalls the telephone call that he received from his mother, while he and his wife were living in the United States.

“There was just one thing she wanted to discuss and then she told us about the prime ministership. ‘What do you think? What shall I say? Should I say yes? Sarah [her daughter] and Zecharia [her son-in-law] think I ought to. What do you think?’ ” [20] There were several items that worried Golda, including questions about her health. But the most serious concern, in the words of her son, “was whether she really wanted the job or not.” As he explains:

Every time she’d managed to wrench free of the tyranny of public office, she’d been called back again. And the prime ministership, of course, was no ordinary assignment…For mother, to say yes meant, as she saw it, no less than taking upon herself personal responsibility for each and every casualty…and, more than that, responsibility for Israel’s continued if much challenged existence…”Well, you know,” she said, “I never dreamed of becoming prime minister or planned anything remotely resembling this.” [21]

As her son puts it, it was as if “she couldn’t believe that it was she, Goldie Mabowitz, who had been called upon.” [22] But that response was nothing new. When she was asked to be foreign minister in 1956, she, at first, dismissed the idea, saying, “I as foreign minister? What do I know about diplomacy? or protocol?” [23] When, in 1949, Ben-Gurion invited her to be deputy prime minister and coordinator of development, Meir’s response was, “If you insist on my being in the government, I have no desire to be deputy prime minister, nor do I want to be coordinator of development, of which I know very little.” Instead, she offered her experience in labor relations. [24] So, when she decided to accept that last call. her actions followed a well-established path. In Meir’s own words:

I couldn’t make up my mind. On the one hand, I realized that unless I agreed, there would inevitably be a tremendous tug-of-war between [Moshe] Dayan and [Yigal] Allon, which was one thing Israel didn’t need then. It was enough that we had a war with the Arabs on our hands; we could wait for that to end before we embarked on a war of the Jews. On the other hand, I honestly didn’t want the responsibility, the awful stress and strain of being prime minister…I had never planned to be prime minister; I had never planned any position, in fact. I had planned to come to Palestine, to go to [kibbutz] Merhavia, to be active in the labor movement. But the position I would occupy? That never…I became prime minister because that was how it was, in the same way that my milkman became an officer in command of an outpost on Mount Hermon. Neither of us had any particular relish for the job, but we both did it as well as we could. [25]

Again. like Washington who retired from public life, only to be called back into the fray, Meir just couldn’t say no when her country called. Of course, her autobiographical musings might be viewed as self-serving. But here, it’s useful to remember that when Meir finally agreed to do the book project, after much hesitation, she told publisher Sir George Weidenfeld, “I will not write about my private life. I will not settle political or other scores with anyone. I will not take advantage of the high office I have just left, or of anything I learned there.” [26] To a remarkable degree, the finished product remained squarely within those guidelines. Certainly, one might argue, as does Yaron Ezrahi, that Meir’s My Life is in the tradition of the how-I- helped-build-the-country approach so prevalent in Israeli autobiography — and that such autobiographies that “do not address the inner life of the author nor do they provide honest, reflective narratives of the writing, or speaking, self.” [27] Yet, whether it follows the therapeutic model or not, My Life strongly reinforces the role of duty, of service, in Meir’s response to the call to power.

Yet an emphasis on the servant side of her leadership cannot and should not erase the other facets of her political character. Responding to the call to power is not the same as passivity in exercising it, however power is defined. In fact, Meir’s performance, once in office, often followed a course that veered away from many of the standard characteristics associated with servant leadership. [28] While one might act out of a sense of duty, the results produced by such actions are complex and certainly need not imply any weakness of will. Describing Meir, for example, French Prime Minister George Pompidou said she was “une femme formidable” and Nixon called her “an elemental force of nature.” [29] Speaking of her in his book 1949: The First Israelis, Tom Segev writes, “She was an impressive, even formidable person, physically rather unattractive, yet with a distinct charm of her own, marked by a unique blend of very Jewish optimism and with a very Israeli kind of grimness.” [30]

Beyond optimism and grimness, Meir also displayed other, and crucial dualities. She was a person who could both laugh and cry, be both hard and sentimental, as well as both wise and simplistic. Her demeanor was not that of aloofness and she was famous for making coffee and tea in the kitchen and serving her guests be they fellow dignitaries or not. In this regard, it was Meir’s commonplace warmth and humanity, not coolness or distance, that served to define her, her role and her image. It was, in many ways, a compelling package. In Meir’s case, Letty Cottin Pogebin notes, “Maternal appearance, self-effacing humor, and supreme confidence were a formidable combination.” [31] And when Meir became prime minister, Simcha Dinitz told the press that she has “the best qualities of a woman — intuition, insight, sensitivity, and compassion — plus the best qualities of a man — strength, determination, practicality, purposefulness.” [32] Leaving aside any debate over the merits of such descriptive gender categories, it is clear that Meir’s political behavior represented a blend of factors, held together by her Socialist/Labor-Zionist vision and her commitment to duty and topped off by a dry wit and straightforward plain-speaking. She was blunt yet prudent, firm yet careful and intransigent (she would say that was her middle name) yet compromising. She was stubborn when it came to negotiations. But then, as Nixon notes, that stubbornness existed “because she cared deeply about what she was negotiating to protect.” [33]

The blend that was Golda may have created a global symbol (even in parts of the Arab world where she was referred to as the Old Lady), but it was not without its critics. [34] Leah Rabin (the widow of the assassinated Israeli prime minister who first gained that leadership position in the wake of Meir’s resignation) has said that Meir was “not selflessly dedicated” and “didn’t advance the pursuit of peace during her administration.” [35] From many feminist perspectives, Meir was a Queen Bee, not a worker, whose I-made-it-any woman-can attitude displayed a blind spot toward her own gender and was “ultimately disappointing for her limited vision and for failing to use her power to greater effect.” [36] Certainly, gender was woven into Meir’s very fabric, whatever her expressions concerning organized or structured feminism.

Seth Thompson has stated that the three themes running throughout Meir’s life were her sense of Jewish identity, her commitment to a public/political existence and her gender. [37] Gender was always there, and if Meir’s views on that subject seem enigmatic to others, they were anything but that to her.

In terms of a broad critique of Meir, Chaim Herzog (who became Israel’s sixth president in 1983) argues, “She believed that she had the common touch and was one of the people. The fact is that as prime minister, she was very much out of touch with ordinary citizens. Doctrinaire and obsessed with the trappings of power, she believed that only she was right about any subject under discussion. Her stubborn blindness to outside influences cost Israel much….” [38] From this view, Meir was not only stubborn, she was also not at all a servant. Instead, she was “the overbearing mother who ruled the roost with her iron hand,” governing through personality and kitchen cronies. [39]

Yet, Herzog goes on to note, however, that unlike other Israelis in positions of authority in times of crisis, Meir had no trouble in making decisions. “Although her nearsightedness [involving the Yom Kippur War] had nearly caused our defeat, Herzog writes, “once the war began she showed great strength of character and enormous composure…her inflexibility proved to be of an enormous asset in the war. She used common sense to make military decisions, often opposing the choices made by lifelong military men — and her choices were usually correct….” [40] This paints an interesting picture in which Meir’s perceived strengths (such as the stubbornness born out of a caring commitment to a cause) become weaknesses only to return as strengths in a crisis. Consider Gideon Rafael’s assessment of Meir, “Sustained by an unwavering faith in the incontestable justice of the cause, she had little use and patience for the refined counter argument…To hold on doggedly to concepts, even if they had long been overtaken by events, was Golda’s perception of leadership…Forgetting was not one of Golda’s distinctive qualities [and she] appeared open, while holding back.” [41]

Yet, like Herzog, Rafael also admits that Meir’s stubborn inflexibility gave her the “strength of resistance” required by an embattled people even as it impaired her ability to adapt to new situations. [42] For Marie Syrkin, Meir’s alleged vice in this arena is really her virtue. In Syrkin’s words, “Her peculiar virtue lies in a fierce moral assurance always translated into action to which her whole life testifies.” [43] And, importantly, that virtue never erased Meir’s problem-solving orientation toward leadership — an orientation that was not without its adaptive dimension, though of the incremental kind.

Ultimately, it is difficult to examine Meir and avoid the cliche that she was, at least in part, a complex and contradictory figure. On that front, we should recall F. Scott Fitzgerald’s observation, “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” [44] That ability is critical in understanding this founding father who was a mother. Despite the contradictions and the complexities, there was a clear framework within which Meir functioned — one connected to the question of duty and the call to (not the search for) power. “I realized,” Meir said, “that in a conflict between my duty and my innermost desires, it was my duty that had the prior claim.” [45] More than anything else that helps explain why someone such as Fallaci could write, “even if one is not at all in agreement with her, with her politics, her ideology, one cannot help but respect her, admire her, even love her.” [46]

Abba Eban, who became foreign minister after Meir left that post, addressed Meir’s political legacy in a 1994 lecture at the library that bears her name in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “Nobody,” Eban said, “has ever called Golda an easy personality. She was the heir to a long Jewish tradition of argumentation. Whenever she saw or heard some kind of dogmatic assertion she would rise up against it in an effort to reveal its superficialities and its weaknesses.” [47] Golda, he also noted, “showed her good judgment on most occasions [and] had a great vision of Israel as a redemption of Jewish pride, social pride.” [48]

But, perhaps most telling, was Eban’s statement that, “I do not believe for a single moment that if Golda heard that I was representing her spirit here, she would have allowed me to devote all my words to Golda Meir. She certainly would not have come here in order to speak about herself.” [49]

Meir was not a saint. Instead, she was the global Jewish mother, self-effacing and controlling, nurturing and nagging. [50] She was an Iron Lady, but, in the words of Meir biographer Ralph Martin, “beneath the steel was poetry, music , romance.” [51] Meir paid her dues and earned her place in history, not out of a sense of her own self-importance, not out of a search for glory and not out of colossal ambition, but rather through her commitment to an idea and by just doing her duty. In Shakespearean terms, if you will, duty moved her to act in ways that no worldy rewards could have ever drawn from her. [52]

Norman Provizer is a professor of Political Science and director of the Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership at Metropolitan State College of Denver. The President’s Professional Development Fund at MSU Denver, the American Studies Program at the Louisiana State University in Shreveport and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities provided support for this project.


[1]. The description of the event and the English translation of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel is from the Israel Pocket Library: History From 1880 (Jerusalem: Keter Books, 1973), pp. 118-123. The English translation of her signature on the document is Golda Myerson. Translations lead to spelling differences with Meyerson (her married name) and Mabovitch (her original name) which also appears as Mabowehz and Mabowitz. The Declaration has 37 signatures, though not all of the signers were actually at the ceremony.

[2]. Golda took the more Hebrew name Meir in 1956, when she became foreign minister at the urging of David Ben-Gurion (who was formerly named Green). Meir means “to illuminate” and is also the Hebrew version of Morris (the first name of Meir’s husband). While living separate lives in Israel, the couple never divorced. Additionally, Meir was the fourth person to hold the office of prime minister, though she was actually the country’s fifth prime minister because Ben-Gurion held the office on two different occasions. Officially, she led Israel’s 14th, 15th and 16th governments.

[3]. Richard Nixon, Leaders (New York: Warner Books, 1983), p. 300.

[4]. Antonia Fraser, The Warrior Queens (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), p.311.

[5]. Robert Greenleaf, “Servant Leadership” in J. Thomas Wren (ed.), The Leaders Companion (New York: The Free Press, 1995), p. 22.

[6]. Oriana Fallaci, Interview with History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976), p. 119.

[7]. For details on the Agranat Commission investigation into the Yom Kippur War, see Pnina Lahav, Judgment in Jerusalem: Chief Justice Simon Agranat and the Zionist Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), pp. 223-243. The commission distinguished between political and military responsibility for the failure to to anticipate the attack. It declined to judge political responsibility, though it did examine whether Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan were personally responsible for the situation. The commission concluded that neither minister was negligent.

[8]. Richard Norton Smith, Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993), p. 250.

[9]. From Menahem Meir, My Mother Golda Meir (New York: Arbor House, 1983), p.122.

[10]. Quoted in Golda Meir, My Life (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1975), p. 214.

[11]. From Barry Schwartz, George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987), p. 193.

[12]. Ibid.

[13]. In John Rhodehamel, The Great Experiment: George Washington and the American Republic (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), p. viii. This is the catalogue of the exhibit organized by the Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

[14]. Ibid.

[15]. Introduction to Matthew Spalding and Patrick Garrity’s A Sacred Union of Citizens: George Washington’s Farewell Address and the American Character (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996), p. x. Also see, Max Weber’s essay “The Sociology of Charismatic Authority,” in H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (eds.), From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1958), pp. 245-252.

[16]. Fallaci, Interview, pp. 117-118.

[17]. Ibid.

[18]. G. Meir, My Life, pp. 351-352

[19]. M. Meir, My Mother, p. 108

[20]. Ibid, p. 184.

[21]. Ibid, pp. 184-185. The question of responsibility, of course, haunted Meir after the Yom Kippur War and she never forgave herself for not acting on her own instincts and instead listening to the military advice which claimed war was not imminent. See, for example, Avraham Tamir, A Soldier in Search of Peace (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 194.

[22]. Ibid, p. 185.

[23]. Ibid, p. 156.

[24]. Ibid, p. 135.

[25]. G. Meir, My Life, pp. 378-379.

[26]. M. Meir, My Mother, p. 231.

[27]. Yaron Ezrahi, Rubber Bullets: Power and Conscience in Modern Israel (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1997), p. 95. In terms of Meir’s inner life, her son, Menahem, cites an interesting excerpt from a letter to him from his mother sent from Abadan, Iran in 1945. Commenting on a prolonged silence, she said, “Suffice it to say that it has its origins in the same deep, dark well as other aspects of my troubled existence, and is only one other facet of a life utterly unhinged and frustrated, which has been the ban of my lot for oh so many ages….” M. Meir, My Mother, p. 19. In his biography of Golda Meir, Ralph Martin notes, “She was also no saint. Her critics were many and there were black holes in her life.” Ralph Martin, Golda Meir: The Romantic Years (London: Piatkus, 1984), p. x.

[28]. See, for example, Robert Greenleaf’s The Power of Servant Leadership (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1998), edited by Larry Spears. In his Introduction, Spears lists 10 characteristics of servant leadership, many of which are not at all reflective of Meir.

[29]. Both quotes are from Nixon, Leaders, p. 298

[30]. Tom Segev, 1949: The First Israelis (New York: Henry Holt, 1998), p. 132.

[31]. Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Deborah, Golda, and Me (New York: Crown, 1991), p. 175.

[32]. Quoted in Olga Opfell, Women Prime Ministers and Presidents (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 1993), p. 33.

[33]. Nixon, Leaders, p. 299. Yet, it is worth noting, as does Yossi Beilan, that while Meir was known for her firm stand relative to the Arab world and Palestinians, she, in principle, “supported a solution based on territorial compromise.” Israel: A Concise Political History (New York: St. Martin’s, 1993), p. 161.

[34]. Laura Liswood, in Women World Leaders (San Francisco: Harper-Collins, 1995), provides interviews with 15 women leaders from around the world. She notes, “Golda Meir was in fact the sole specific woman named by these prime ministers and presidents,” p. 99.

[35]. Leah Rabin, Rabin (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1997), pp. 139 and 246.

[36]. Pogrebin, Deborah, p. 153. For these reasons, in Pogrebin’s eyes, Meir is “not a worthy role model.”

[37]. Seth Thompson, “Golda Meir” in Michael Genovese (ed.). Women as National Leaders (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1993), p. 135.

[38]. Chaim Herzog, Living History (New York: Pantheon, 1996), p. 173. His statement about Meir’s obsession with “the trappings of power” is questionable, at best, especially given the numerous descriptions found elsewhere of her Spartan office and modest home.

[39]. Quoted in Fraser, The Warrior Queens, p.312.

[40]. Herzog, Living, pp. 173 and 188.

[41]. Gideon Rafael, Destination Peace (Briar Cliff Manor, NY: Stein and Day, 1981), pp. 380, 381, 385 and 66.

[42]. Ibid, p. 381.

[43]. Marie Syrkin, Golda Meir: Israel’s Leader (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1969), p. 11. Stubbornness was a Meir characteristic going back to her youth.

[44]. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up (New York: New Directions, 1993), edited by Edmund Wilson, p. 69. This essay first appeared in 1936.

[45]. Pogrebin, Deborah, p. 151.

[46]. Fallaci, Interview, p. 88.

[47]. Abba Eban, The Political Legacy of Golda Meir, presented in 1994 as the 25th Annual Morris Fromkin Memorial Lecture (Milwaukee: Golda Meir Library, 1995), p. 8.

[48]. Ibid, p. 9.

[49]. Ibid, p. 10.

[50]. Leonard Garment, in Crazy Rhythm (New York: Times Books, 1997), p. 188, writes that Meir “reminded American Jews of their nurturing, nagging mothers.” Pogrebin, Deborah, p. 179, cites Ze’ev Chafets’ description of Meir as “the quintessential Zionist earth mother.”

[51]. Martin, Golda Meir, p. x.

[52]. In Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Proteus betrays his close friend Valentine to the Duke of Milan, telling the Duke of Valentine’s plan to steal away his daughter. “My duty,” Proteus says, “pricks me on to utter that [w]hich else no worldly good should draw from me.” Howard Staunton (ed.), The Globe Shakespeare: The Complete Works (New York: Gramercy, 1979), p. 20.