Courtesy of Library of Congress

Golda Meir 1898-1978

The first and only woman to serve as prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir became the Jewish state's fourth premier in 1969. During her five years in office, she became the stuff of legend for her tough talk and iron will. Born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev, she immigrated in 1906 to Milwaukee, where she first embraced Labor Zionism. In 1921, she and husband Meyer Meyerson left America for kibbutz life in Palestine. When Israel achieved statehood in 1948, Meir became its first ambassador to the Soviet Union. She later served as a Member of Knesset, Minister of Labor, and Minister of Foreign Affairs before becoming head of state.