Golda Resigns as Prime Minister, 1974
Translation of the headline
Golda Meir will today formally announce her resignation to the government, the president, and the Knesset.
Translation of captions under the pictures:
Prime Minister Golda Meir at the end of a meeting with the Labour Party Council at the Knesset (right-hand picture)
Defence Minister Moshe Dayan leaves the Jerusalem home of the Prime Minister whom he visited last night (left-hand picture)
After serving as prime minister for over five years, Golda Meir resigned on April 11, 1974. This is an article from the front page of the Israeli newspaper Maariv on the day of her resignation. The page includes a headline, subtitles, texts, and two photographs. The first photograph shows Golda Meir after the meeting she held with her political party, and the second shows Moshe Dayan, the defence minister, leaving her house.
Golda Meir had intended to retire in October 1973, but the sudden outset of the Yom Kippur War forced her to postpone her retirement. The war had a great impact on Golda: on the one hand, she had sensed the possibility of an attack by the Arab armies, but on the other hand, her military advisors had informed her that no attack was imminent.
During the war, Golda managed to acquire arms from the US, keep her nerve when the government began to discuss the use of nuclear weapons when Israel was suffering heavy casualties, and lead Israel through the difficult war until the final victory. Following the war, the Agranat Commission, set up to investigate Israel’s lack of preparedness, praised her conduct during the war.
Despite being cleared by the commission of direct responsibility, the damage had already been done, and Golda was tired. In her autobiography, My Life, she later wrote: “Five years are sufficient… It is beyond my strength to continue carrying this burden.” In April 1974 Golda announced her resignation to the president and the Knesset.
Golda Meir died of cancer eight years later on December 8, 1978 at the age of 80.
Jewish History teachers can use the newspaper article as a trigger to a learning unit about the Yom Kippur War. There are many aspects to study about the war: the background, the high number of causalities, and its ramifications for both the county and for Golda Meir personally.
Hebrew teachers can use the article to teach about the Hebrew used in newspapers and the vocabulary and grammar used to talk about leadership.
What is written in the newspaper headline?
What do you see in the pictures?
Who is the woman in the foreground of the right-hand picture?
Who is the man in the left-hand picture?
Reading Between the Lines
What event is the newspaper reporting?
Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan are shown leaving meetings.
What do you think was discussed in these meetings?
Golda Meir resigned as prime minister as a result of her and her government’s actions regarding the Yom Kippur War.
What happened in the weeks before the outbreak of the war?
What was the accusation against the government?
What was the Agranat Commission?
What were their conclusions about Golda Meir’s actions at the time?
How did the Yom Kippur War affect Golda Meir?
Despite the Agranat Comission’s report, Golda Meir resigned. Why do you think she did this?
What were the feelings of the Israeli public towards Golda before, during, and after the war?
Ask your parents or grandparents if they remember the atmosphere in Israel and the Jewish world at the time of the Yom Kippur War?
How did they feel personally?
What did they feel towards the leaders in Israel at the time?
What are the effects of war on a people?
What characteristics do you think a prime minister needs to lead a country during wartime or other times of conflict?
Do you know of any other leaders who have taken responsibility for events that took place during their term of office? Who? What were the circumstances?
Write the conversation between Golda Meir and President Ephraim Katzir when she informed him of her intention to resign.
Have you ever felt the need to take responsibility for something, even though others were not blaming you?
If so, describe the situation and your response.
If not, describe another event that you know of when this has been the case.