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Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. She was described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics. She was the third female prime minister of a country and the first without any family background in Politics.
Embassy of Israel Washington, D.C. Did You Know? Women in Israel Women in Israel have always been guaranteed gender equality since the establishment of the state in 1948. This guarantee has enabled women’s empowerment and active participation in Israeli life. Israel’s Declaration of Independence states: “The State of Israel…will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants Israel National Photo Collection irrespective of religion, race or sex.” This docuMK Gila Gamliel and former MK Tamar ment itself bears the signatures of two women. Eshel at a convention of past and Two decades later, one of these women, Golda present female Knesset members Meir, became Israel’s first female prime minister. Israel was the third country in the world to be led by a female head of government. President of Dozens of women have served in the Knesset, the Supreme Israel’s parliament, and many have risen to the Court Dorit Beinish highest levels of government. The Knesset is very active in working to protect the rights of women and established “The Committee on the Status of Women,” to address women’s issues. This committee brings together Knesset members from different parties to work together to prevent discrimination, combat violence against women, and promote equality in politics, lifecycle events and education. In continuing its commitment to the protection of women, the Knesset passed the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Law in 1998. At the time, this law was the most comprehensive and farreaching sexual harassment law of its kind anywhere in the world. This continued support of the advancement of women in Israeli politics has enabled a woman to rise to the position of Speaker of the Knesset. In May 2006, the Knesset elected Dalia Itzik as their first female speaker of the Knesset. In 2006, Supreme Court Justice Dorit Beinish was sworn in as President of the Supreme Court. The NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc. Israel National Photo Collection Ester Levanon, CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, rings the NASDAQ closing bell www.israelemb.org Arab-Israeli women actively participate in government and public life. Nadia Hilou was the second Israeli-Arab woman to serve in the Knesset. Like men, women in Israel are obligated to serve their country either through military service or through national civic service. This service is performed in a range of schools, hospitals and non-profit organizations. Approximately one third of Israeli women choose this option. Women serving in the military in Israel play a significant role, often serving as combat instructors. In 2001, the Israeli Air Force Academy graduated its first female combat pilot. In addition, several women have served as Spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces. Israeli women have risen to the highest levels of both commerce and academia. 57 percent of all Israeli academic degrees are awarded to women, and women have risen to the level of CEO in many Israeli Fortune 500 companies. Dalia Narkiss serves as CEO of Manpower, Israel’s largest employment agency. Galia Maor serves as CEO of Bank Leumi, one of Israel’s leading commercial banks, and is ranked among Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. Israeli women have competed nationally and internationally in sporting events since Israel first participated in the Olympic games in 1952. Israel won its first Olympic medal in 1992, when female athlete Yael Arad won a silver medal in judo at the Barcelona games. Israeli tennis pro Shahar Pe’er. At the 2007 Australian Open, she became the first Israeli woman to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. . Israel National Photo Collection An Israeli soldier seals her ballot for the 17th Knesset elections Golda Meir Israel’s Fourth Prime Minister Born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1898, Golda Mabovitz and her family immigrated to the United States in 1906 where they settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Wisconsin she became active in the Habonim youth group and was an advocate of Zionism, the movement to rebuild a Jewish homeland in Israel. Golda married Morris Myerson, in 1917. The couple emigrated to Palestine in 1921, and spent three years in Kibbutz Merhavia. On the kibbutz, Golda was elected as representative of Merhavia to the Histadrut labor union. In 1924, the couple moved to Jerusalem, where they had two children. Folowing her time as Merhavia representative, Golda was elected head of the women’s branch of the Histadrut labor union in 1928. On May 14, 1948, Golda was one of 24 signatories on Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Israel’s first passport was issued for Golda as she traveled to the United States to help raise money for Israel. Always active in Israeli political affairs, Golda was appointed Israel’s first ambassador to the Soviet Union. In 1949, Golda was elected to the Knesset. She held numerous cabinet posts before being appointed Foreign Minister in 1956. That same year, Golda adopted the Hebrew surname Meir. When Prime Minister Levi Eshkol passed away suddenly in 1969, 71-year old Golda became his successor as Prime Minister. She was re-elected Prime Minister in 1973 and served in that capactiy during the Yom Kippur War. Golda Meir resigned in 1974 shortly after being re-elected. Golda passed away in 1978 and is buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Israel National Photo Collection Prime Minister Golda Meir Israel National Photo Collection Golda Meir and David Ben-Gurion in the Knesset
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