Golda Meir

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Many accuse me of conducting public affairs with my heart instead of my head. Well, what if I do? … Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.

Golda Meir, born Golda Mabovitz (גולדה מאיר‎; 3 May 18988 December 1978), was an Israeli politician and one of the founders of the State of Israel. She served as Minister of Labor, Foreign Minister, and as the fourth Prime Minister of Israel.

Quotes[edit]

Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.
We don’t thrive on military acts. We do them because we have to, and thank God we are efficient.
We hate war. We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown, and when strawberries bloom in Israel.
Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.
Above all, this country is our own. … Being a Jew is no problem here.
  • It is a dreadful thing to see the dead city. Next to the port I found children, women, the old, waiting for a way to leave. I entered the houses, there were houses where the coffee and pita bread were left on the table, and I could not avoid [thinking] that this, indeed, had been the picture in many Jewish towns [i.e., in Europe, during World War II]'.
    • As acting head of the Jewish Agency Political Department visited Arab Haifa and reported to the Jewish Agency Executive (6 May 1948); as quoted in "The birth of the Palestinian Refuge problem revisited" by Benny Morris, p.309/10 of 2nd Edition 2004, citing Protocol of meeting of JAE, 6 May 1948, CZA 45/2
  • My delegation cannot refrain from speaking on this question — we who have such an intimate knowledge of boxcars and of deportations to unknown destinations that we cannot be silent.
  • Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.
    • Statement to the National Press Club in Washington, D. C. in 1957, as quoted in A Land of Our Own : An Oral Autobiography (1973) edited by Marie Syrkin, p. 242
    • Variants:
    • Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.
      • As quoted in Media Bias and the Middle East (2003) by Paul Carlson, p. 10
    • Peace will come when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us.
      • As quoted in The Agony of the Promised Land (2004) by Joshua Levy, Ch. 23 "The Hope for Peace", p. 187
  • Any one who speaks in favor of bringing the Arab refugees back must also say how he expects to take the responsibility for it, if he is interested in the state of Israel. It is better that things are stated clearly and plainly: We shall not let this happen.
    • Speech to the Knesset, reported in Ner (October 1961)
  • There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.
    • As quoted in Sunday Times (15 June 1969), also in The Washington Post (16 June 1969)
  • We don’t thrive on military acts. We do them because we have to, and thank God we are efficient.
    • Vogue (July 1969)
  • We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon — no alternative. The Egyptians could run to Egypt, the Syrians into Syria. The only place we could run was into the sea, and before we did that we might as well fight.
    • As quoted in LIFE magazine (3 October 1969), p. 32
  • It is true we have won all our wars, but we have paid for them. We don’t want victories anymore.
    • As quoted in LIFE magazine (3 October 1969), p. 32
  • We owe a responsibility not only to those who are in Israel but also to those generations that are no more, to those millions who have died within our lifetime, to Jews all over the world, and to generations of Jews to come. We hate war. We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown, and when strawberries bloom in Israel.
    • As quoted in As Good as Golda : The Warmth and Wisdom of Israel's Prime Minister (1970) edited by Israel Shenker and Mary Shenker, p. 28
  • When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.
    • Press conference in London (1969), as quoted in A Land of Our Own : An Oral Autobiography (1973) edited by Marie Syrkin, p. 242
  • This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy.
    • As quoted in Le Monde (15 October 1971)
  • Women’s Liberation is just a lot of foolishness. It’s the men who are discriminated against. They can’t bear children. And no one’s likely to do anything about that.
    • As quoted in Newsweek (23 October 1972)
  • Arab sovereignty in Jerusalem just cannot be. This city will not be divided — not half and half, not 60-40, not 75-25, nothing.
    • Time (19 February 1973)
  • Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!
    • At a dinner honoring West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, as reported in The New York Times (10 June 1973)
    • Unsourced variants: Moses dragged us for 40 years through the desert to bring us to the one place in the Middle East where there was no oil.
      Moses dragged us through the desert for 40 years to bring us to the one place in the Middle East where there was no oil.
  • To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.
    • When questioned on Israel's future, in The New York Times (12 December 1974)
  • Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.
    • The Observer (29 December 1974)
  • It is not only a matter, I believe, of religious observance and practice. To me, being Jewish means and has always meant being proud to be part of a people that has maintained its distinct identity for more than 2,000 years, with all the pain and torment that has been inflicted upon it.
    • My Life (1975), p. 459
  • I am also grateful that I live in a country whose people have learned how to go on living in a sea of hatred without hating those who want to destroy them and without abandoning their own vision of peace. To have learned this is a great art, the prescription for which is not written down anywhere. It is part of our way of life in Israel. Finally, I wish to say that from the time I came to Palestine as a young woman, we have been forced to choose between what is more dangerous and what is less dangerous for us. At times we have all been tempted to give in to various pressures and to accept proposals that might guarantee us a little quiet for a few months, or maybe even for a few years, but that could only lead us eventually into even greater peril.
    • My Life (1975), p. 459
  • I don’t know why you use a fancy French word like détente when there’s a good English phrase for it — cold war.
    • As quoted in Newsweek (19 January 1976)
  • What do you gain, Soviet Union, from this miserable policy? Where is your decency? Would it be a disgrace for you to give up this battle?
    • On the suppression of freedom of Jews in the USSR to the World Conference on Soviet Jewry, Brussels, in The New York Times (20 February 1976)
  • Above all, this country is our own. Nobody has to get up in the morning and worry what his neighbors think of him. Being a Jew is no problem here.
    • On 30th anniversary of the founding of Israel, in International Herald Tribune (11 May 1978)

Fallaci interview (1973)[edit]

America is a great country. It has many shortcomings, many social inequalities … but it’s still a great country, a country full of opportunities, of freedom!
Interview with Oriana Fallaci published in Ms. magazine (April 1973)
  • It’s no accident many accuse me of conducting public affairs with my heart instead of my head. Well, what if I do? . . . Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.
  • I thought that a Jewish state would be free of the evils afflicting other societies: theft, murder, prostitution... But now we have them all. And that’s a thing that cuts to the heart ...
  • How can I explain the difference to me between America and Russia?... the America I’ve known is a place where men on horseback escort union marchers, the Russia I’ve known is a place where men on horseback slaughter young Socialists and Jews.
  • From Russia I didn’t bring out a single happy memory, only sad, tragic ones. The nightmare of pogroms, the brutality of Cossacks charging young Socialists, fear, shrieks of terror ...
  • America is a great country. It has many shortcomings, many social inequalities, and it’s tragic that the problem of the blacks wasn’t solved fifty or even a hundred years ago, but it’s still a great country, a country full of opportunities, of freedom! Does it seem nothing to you to be able to say what you like, even against the government, the Establishment?
  • Those nuts that burn their bras and walk around all disheveled and hate men? They’re crazy. Crazy.
  • I'm a slave to this leaf in a diary that lists what I must do, what I must say, every half hour.
  • I want to see a film, they send the Israeli army reserves to escort me! What kind of life is this?
  • Fashion is an imposition, a rein on freedom.
  • What person with any sense likes himself? I know myself too well to like myself.
  • I prefer to stay alive and be criticized than be sympathized.

External links[edit]

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