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Meeting Golda Meir

Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (Photo: Library of Congress)

When American journalist Steve North visited Israel as a young man, he hoped to meet and interview iconic Israeli leader Golda Meir. However, Golda passed away before such a meeting could occur. But, North writes at The Times of Israel how he then interviewed Golda's longtime personal assistant, who revealed much about this strong and fascinating woman:

I was on a mission to meet Golda Meir. My determination to come face to face with Israel’s fourth prime minister was born of a near-miss with the country’s first.

In 1970 my teenage friends and I stood outside David Ben-Gurion’s bungalow in his desert kibbutz, eagerly awaiting his scheduled appearance, but his bodyguard said the elderly, retired nation-builder was napping and couldn’t be disturbed. Our bus had to leave, and my hopes of shaking hands with a true hero of the Jewish people vanished into the sands of the Negev.

Golda was prime minister that summer, and her tumultuous five years in office are now the centerpiece of a remarkable, definitive new biography called “Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel” by Francine Klagsbrun.

The riveting account of Golda’s extraordinary journey, from her impoverished childhood in Russia to her status as a universally-recognized head of state, also references the end result of my quest to meet this unique politician. It was a result that, to my astonishment, sparked headlines around the world and was later dramatized in a movie...

By 1978, however, Golda was slowing down. I told Rapoport I’d be returning to Israel in December to visit my sister Susan, who was then living in Jerusalem, and he promised that this time, finally, I’d get to see the former prime minister. Three weeks before my scheduled trip, I heard the bulletin bell go off in the newsroom where I worked, and rushed over to see the wire service report: GOLDA MEIR DEAD AT 80. I was heartbroken.

Shortly after my arrival in Israel, Rapoport called, actually apologized, then said “I know that nothing can make up for you not meeting Golda. But I have an idea. Every reporter in Israel is desperate to interview a woman named Lou Kedar, who was her personal assistant and close friend for the last 30 years...

Tags: History , Israel , Media

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