83 Best Golda Meir Quotes from The Israeli Iron Lady

Golda Meir, originally Goldie Mabovitch and later Goldie Myerson, was born on May 3, 1898, in Kiev, Ukraine.

She became a pivotal Israeli politician, co-founding the State of Israel in 1948 and becoming its fourth prime minister (1969–74) — the first woman in this role.

Moving from Kiev to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1906, she later immigrated to Palestine in 1921.

As a prominent figure in the Zionist movement, she replaced Moshe Sharett in 1946, advocating for detained Jewish activists.

Meir signed Israel’s independence declaration in 1948, subsequently taking various governmental roles, including minister of labor and foreign minister.


After becoming prime minister in 1969, she sought Middle East peace through diplomacy.

The 1973 Yom Kippur War challenged her leadership, leading to her resignation in 1974. Meir, who secretly battled leukemia for 12 years, passed away in 1978.

Her autobiography, “My Life,” was released in 1975.

I have listed below the top quotes by Golda Meir.

Best Golda Meir Quotes


To be successful, a woman has to be much better at her job than a man. ~ Golda Meir.


Ability hits the mark where presumption overshoots and diffidence falls short. ~ Golda Meir.


Women’s Liberation is just a lot of foolishness. ~ Golda Meir.


Fashion is an imposition, a reign on freedom. ~ Golda Meir.


Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself. ~ Golda Meir.


Being seventy is not a sin. It’s not a joy, either. ~ Golda Meir.

Not being beautiful was the true blessing. Not being beautiful forced me to develop my inner resources. The pretty girl has a handicap to overcome. ~ Golda Meir.

It isn’t enough to believe in something; you have to have the stamina to meet obstacles and overcome them, to struggle. ~ Golda Meir.


The only alternative to war is peace and the only road to peace is negotiations. ~ Golda Meir.

Come to think of it, I am more than a little tired of hearing about how the Jews ‘stole’ land from Arabs in Palestine. The facts are quite different. A lot of good money changed hands, and a lot of Arabs became very rich indeed. ~ Golda Meir.

The only way to eliminate war is to love our children more than we hate our enemies. ~ Golda Meir.

I must govern the clock, not be governed by it. ~ Golda Meir.

Famous Golda Meir Quotes

The Soviet government is the most realistic regime in the world – no ideals. ~ Golda Meir.


I don’t want to have a bad influence on anybody, but there’s no point in my giving up cigarettes now. I won’t die young. ~ Golda Meir.

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. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us. ~ Golda Meir.

Show me a sensible person who likes himself or herself! I know myself too well to like what I see. I know but too well that I’m not what I’d like to be. ~ Golda Meir.


Authority poisons everybody who takes authority on himself. ~ Golda Meir.

There is no Zionism except the rescue of Jews. ~ Golda Meir.

We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel. ~ Golda Meir.

I’m sure that someday children in schools will study the history of the men who made war as you study an absurdity. They’ll be shocked, just as today we’re shocked with cannibalism. ~ Golda Meir.

By the way, did you ever realize that if Moses would have turned right instead of left, we’d have had the oil, the Arabs would have had the sand? ~ Golda Meir.


It is not a sin to be seventy but it is also no joke. ~ Golda Meir.

You can get used to anything if you have to, even feeling perpetually guilty. ~ Golda Meir.

Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart, don’t know how to laugh either. ~ Golda Meir.

Top Golda Meir Quotes

I don’t know why you use a fancy French word like detente when there’s a good English phrase for it – cold war. ~ Golda Meir.


The world hates a Jew who hits back. The world loves us only when we are to be pitied. ~ Golda Meir.

It is true we have won all our wars, but we have paid for them. We don’t want victories anymore. ~ Golda Meir.

Arab sovereignty in Jerusalem just cannot be. This city will not be divided-not half and half, not 60-40, not 75-25, nothing. ~ Golda Meir.

It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived. ~ Golda Meir.

One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present. ~ Golda Meir.

How does it feel to be a woman minister? I don’t know; I’ve never been a man minister. ~ Golda Meir.


I never did anything alone. Whatever was accomplished in this country was accomplished collectively. ~ Golda Meir.

Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values. ~ Golda Meir.

Anybody who believes in something without reservation believes that this thing is right and should be, has the stamina to meet obstacles and overcome them. ~ Golda Meir.

Glorious bouquets and storms of applause are the trimmings which every artist naturally enjoys. ~ Golda Meir.

Popular Golda Meir Quotes

If only political leaders would allow themselves to feel, as well as to think, the world might be a happier place. ~ Golda Meir.

There will be peace in the Middle East only when the Arabs love their children more than they hate Israel. ~ Golda Meir.

There can be no doubt that the average man blames much more than he praises. His instinct is to blame. If he is satisfied he says nothing; if he is not, he most illogically kicks up a row. ~ Golda Meir.

You can’t improve on saying nothing. ~ Golda Meir.

We Jews have a secret weapon in our struggle with the Arabs; we have no place to go. ~ Golda Meir.

Moses dragged us through the desert to the one place in the Middle East where there is no oil. ~ Golda Meir.

There is only one thing I hope to see before I die, and that is that my people should not need expressions of sympathy anymore. ~ Golda Meir.

It is always much easier, I have discovered, to make people cry or gasp than to make them think. ~ Golda Meir.

At work, you think of the children you have left at home. At home, you think of the work you’ve left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself. Your heart is rent. ~ Golda Meir.

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. ~ Golda Meir.

Don’t be so humble – you are not that great. ~ Golda Meir.

Great Golda Meir Quotes

A leader who doesn’t hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader. ~ Golda Meir.

We only want that which is given naturally to all peoples of the world, to be masters of our own fate, not of others, and in cooperation and friendship with others. ~ Golda Meir.


Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. ~ Golda Meir.

We don’t thrive on military acts. We do them because we have to, and thank God we are efficient. ~ Golda Meir.

Men who have reached and passed forty-five, have a look as if waiting for the secret of the other world, and as if they were perfectly sure of having found out the secret of this. ~ Golda Meir.

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. ~ Golda Meir.

Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either. ~ Golda Meir.

You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity. ~ Golda Meir.

Don’t become cynical. Don’t give up hope. Don’t believe that everything is judged only by expediency. There is idealism in this world. There is human brotherhood. ~ Golda Meir.

If we have to have a choice between being dead and pitied, and being alive with a bad image, we’d rather be alive and have the bad image. ~ Golda Meir.

Powerful Golda Meir Quotes

I want to say to you, friends, that the Jewish community in Palestine is going to fight to the very end. If we have arms to fight with, we will fight with those, and if not, we will fight with stones in our hands. ~ Golda Meir.

The dog that trots about finds a bone. ~ Golda Meir.

Israel itself is the strongest guarantee against another Holocaust. ~ Golda Meir.

Whether women are better than men I cannot say – but I can say they are certainly no worse. ~ Golda Meir.

I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome. ~ Golda Meir.

Women’s liberation is just a lot of foolishness. It’s men who are discriminated against. They can’t bear children. And no one is likely to do anything about that. ~ Golda Meir.

We can forgive you for killing our children, but we can never forgive you for making us kill your children. ~ Golda Meir.

As President Nixon says, presidents can do almost anything, and President Nixon has done many things that nobody would have thought of doing. ~ Golda Meir.

My dear, old age is like an airplane flying in a storm. Once you’re in it there’s nothing you can do. You can’t stop a plane, you can’t stop a storm, you can’t stop time. So you might as well take it easy, with wisdom. ~ Golda Meir.

The public history of modern art is the story of conventional people not knowing what they are dealing with. ~ Golda Meir.

Inspiring Golda Meir Quotes

Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do. ~ Golda Meir.

There’s no difference between one’s killing and making decisions that will send others to kill. It’s exactly the same thing, or even worse. ~ Golda Meir.

How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to. ~ Golda Meir.

To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be. ~ Golda Meir.

Those that perished in Hitler’s gas chambers were the last Jews to die without standing up to defend themselves. ~ Golda Meir.

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! ~ Golda Meir.

We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us. ~ Golda Meir.

Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement. ~ Golda Meir.

There’s no difference between killing and making decisions by which you send others to kill. It’s exactly the same thing. And maybe it’s worse. ~ Golda Meir.


There is no such thing as a Palestinian. ~ Golda Meir.

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. ~ Golda Meir.

Being seventy is no sin, but it’s not a joke either. ~ Golda Meir.

So these were the 83 top Golda Meir quotes and sayings on life, war and adversity.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on George Patton quotes and George Bush quotes.

Short Biography of Golda Meir

Golda Meir, born in Kiev in 1898, moved to the U.S. as a child and later immigrated to Palestine in 1921.

Golda Meir

She rose through the ranks of Israeli politics to become the first female prime minister in 1969.

Known for her role in the Labor Zionist movement, Meir was pivotal in the founding of Israel, holding various significant positions before leading the country.

Full Name: Golda Mabovitch
Born: 3 May 1898, Kiev, Russian Empire
Died: 8 December 1978 (age 80 years), West Jerusalem
Spouse: Morris Meyerson (m. 1917–1951)
Children: Menachem Meyerson, Sarah Meyerson
Previous offices: Acting Minister of the Interior of Israel (1970–1970), MORE
Party: Mapai
Alma mater: Milwaukee State Normal School

Despite facing criticism for Israel’s unpreparedness in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, she is remembered as a foundational figure in Israeli history and the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics.

Her early life was marked by activism and a dedication to Zionist causes, leading her from teaching in Milwaukee to significant political roles in the Jewish Agency and the Histadrut in Palestine.

Quick Facts about Golda Meir

  • Golda Meir was the first and only female prime minister of Israel.
  • She served as Israel’s fourth prime minister from 1969 to 1974.
  • Meir was the first female head of government in the Middle East.
  • Born in Kiev, Russian Empire, to Ukrainian Jewish parents in 1898.
  • Immigrated to the United States with her family in 1906.
  • Graduated from Milwaukee State Normal School and worked as a teacher.
  • Became involved in the Labor Zionist movement in Milwaukee.
  • Moved to Mandatory Palestine with her husband in 1921.
  • Served on the executive committee of the Histadrut trade union in 1934.
  • Was a signatory of the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.
  • Elected to the Knesset in 1949, served as Labor Minister and then Foreign Minister.
  • Became prime minister following Levi Eshkol’s death in 1969.
  • Her tenure included the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
  • Resigned in 1974 due to public criticism after the Yom Kippur War.
  • Died of lymphoma in 1978 and was buried on Mount Herzl.
  • Known as the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics.
  • Faced controversy over Israel’s unpreparedness for the Yom Kippur War.
  • Criticized for her dismissive statements toward Palestinians.
  • As a child, her earliest memories included fears of pogroms.
  • Led fundraising efforts that were crucial for the war effort and Israel’s establishment.
  • As Labor Minister, was instrumental in building over 100 immigrant camps and housing projects.
  • Promoted social welfare policies, including social security and benefits for widows and orphans.
  • As Foreign Minister, fostered ties with newly independent African states.
  • Played a role in securing arms deals with the United States, including Hawk missiles.
  • Her residence, Villa Harun al-Rashid, was a notable symbol of her status.
  • Advocated for a peace settlement in the Middle East through diplomacy.
  • Met with world leaders like Richard Nixon, Nicolae Ceaușescu, and Willy Brandt to promote peace.
  • Accepted a U.S. peace initiative in 1970 aimed at ending the War of Attrition.
  • Agreed to a peace proposal with Henry Kissinger based on “security versus sovereignty” in 1973.
  • Her political career was marked by her straightforward and decisive leadership style.

Top Questions about Golda Meir

Q: What is Golda Meir most famous for?

A: Golda Meir is renowned for being a pivotal figure in founding the State of Israel in 1948 and serving as its fourth Prime Minister from 1969 to 1974. She holds the distinction of being the first woman to assume this role.

Q: Was Golda Meir a US citizen?

A: Yes, Golda Meir became a naturalized US citizen in 1917. Driven by her Zionist beliefs, she decided to relocate to Palestine the same year after marrying Morris Meyerson.

Q: What is a famous quote by Golda Meir?

A: A well-known quote by Golda Meir is: “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us. Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”

Q: What caused Golda Meir’s death?

A: Golda Meir passed away in 1978 due to lymphoma. Her final resting place is on Mount Herzl.

Q: Why was Golda Meir called the Iron Lady?

A: Golda Meir was referred to as the “Iron Lady” prior to Margaret Thatcher due to her firm stance on defending Israel through military means if necessary. David Ben-Gurion, a founding figure of Israel, praised her as “the best man in the government” for her strong leadership.

Q: What did Golda Meir teach?

A: Golda Meir was an educator before her political career. After graduating as valedictorian from the Fourth Street School in 1912, she taught Yiddish at a folk school (Folk-Schulen) and was involved in Milwaukee’s Zionist community. She moved to British-controlled Palestine with her husband in 1921.

Q: Who was Golda Meir and what role did she play in Israel’s history?

A: Golda Meir served as the fourth Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974, notable for being the country’s first and only female head of government and the first female head of government in the Middle East.

Q: What were Golda Meir’s origins before she became a prominent Israeli figure?

A: Born in Kiev, Russian Empire, to Ukrainian Jewish parents, Meir moved to the United States as a child in 1906, became a teacher after graduating, and was an active participant in the Labor Zionist movement in Milwaukee.

Q: How did Golda Meir contribute to the establishment of the State of Israel?

A: Meir was a signatory of the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948 and played significant roles in the Jewish Agency during and after World War II, contributing to the founding of the State of Israel.

Q: What led to Golda Meir’s appointment as Prime Minister of Israel?

A: Meir assumed the role of Prime Minister in 1969 following the death of Levi Eshkol, stepping into the position during a critical time in Israel’s history.

Q: Can you describe a significant challenge Golda Meir faced as Prime Minister?

A: During her tenure, the Yom Kippur War broke out in 1973, catching Israel off guard and leading to severe early losses, which subsequently damaged Meir’s reputation due to perceived unpreparedness.

Q: What was Golda Meir’s early life like before her political career?

A: Born to a carpenter and his wife in Kiev, Meir moved with her family to the United States in 1906, where she excelled in school and was actively involved in community leadership and Zionist movements from a young age.

Q: How did Golda Meir’s early experiences in the United States shape her future?

A: Working in her mother’s grocery store and being involved in community fundraising and debates on Zionism and women’s suffrage in Denver influenced her convictions and commitment to Zionist ideals.

Q: What was a controversial aspect of Golda Meir’s tenure as a political figure?

A: Meir’s tenure was marked by controversy, both lionized as a founder of Israel and criticized for her role in the country’s unpreparedness for the Yom Kippur War and her dismissive attitudes towards Palestinians.

Q: What were the circumstances around Golda Meir’s death and how is she remembered?

A: Golda Meir passed away in 1978 due to lymphoma and was buried on Mount Herzl, remembered as the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics for her resilience and contributions, despite the controversies surrounding her leadership.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar