Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Golda Meir, originally named Goldie Mabovitch, later Goldie Myerson

Founder and 4th Israeli Prime Minister

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

"Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do. You can’t stop the plane; you can’t stop the storm; you can’t stop time. So one might as well accept it calmly, wisely."

"The only alternative to war is peace and the only road to peace is negotiations."

"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."

"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."

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

"We don’t want wars even when we win."

"You can’t improve on saying nothing."

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

"A baby enters the world with hands clenched, as if to say, "The world is mine; I shall grab it." A man leaves with hands open, as if to say, "I can take nothing with me.""

"Don't be so humble, you're not that great. "

"Creating a false impression is deception. "

"The vitality of the words depends on the hearts intention. "

"Who is rich? He who enjoys his wealth."

"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."

"There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist."

"Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us."

"It’s no accident many accuse me of conducting public affairs with my heart instead of my head. Well, what if I do? . . . Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either."

"I prefer to stay alive and be criticized than be sympathized."

"Fashion is an imposition, a rein on freedom."

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

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

"Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement."

"I must govern the clock, not be governed by it."

"You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity."

"A man who does not hate war is not fully human."

"America is a great country. It has many shortcomings, many social inequalities, and it's tragic that the problem of the blacks wasn't solved fifty or even a hundred years ago, but it's still a great country, a country full of opportunities, of freedom! Does it seem nothing to you to be able to say what you like, even against the government, the Establishment?"

"Ability hits the mark where presumption overshoots and diffidence falls short."

"A story once went the rounds of Israel to the effect that Ben-Gurion described me as 'the only man' in his cabinet. What amused me about is that he (or whoever invented the story) thought that this was the greatest compliment that could be paid to a woman. I very much doubt that any man would have been flattered if I had said about him that he was the only woman in the government!"

"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."

"A teacher is one who has a program -- arithmetic, reading, writing, and so on – fulfills it conscientiously, and feels that he has done his job. An educator tries to give children something else in addition: spirit."

"Anyone who speaks in favor of bringing the Arab refugees back must also say how he expects to take the responsibility for it, if he is interested in the state of Israel. It is better that things are stated clearly and plainly: We shall not let this happen."

"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."

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

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

"As for Jews being a chosen people, I never quite accepted that. It seemed, and still seems to me, more reasonable to believe, not that God chose the Jews, but that the Jews were the first people that chose God, the first people in history to have done something truly revolutionary, and it was that choice that made them unique."

"Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values."

"Being seventy is not a sin. It’s not a joy, either."

"Authority poisons everybody who takes authority on himself."

"Can we today measure devotion to husband and children by our indifference to everything else?"

"How can I explain the difference to me between America and Russia?... the America I've known is a place where men on horseback escort union marchers, the Russia I've known is a place where men on horseback slaughter young Socialists and Jews."

"How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to. We can't send it to Nasser by parcel post."

"I am also grateful that I live in a country whose people have learned how to go on living in a sea of hatred without hating those who want to destroy them and without abandoning their own vision of peace. To have learned this is a great art, the prescription for which is not written down anywhere. It is part of our way of life in Israel. Finally, I wish to say that from the time I came to Palestine as a young woman, we have been forced to choose between what is more dangerous and what is less dangerous for us. At times we have all been tempted to give in to various pressures and to accept proposals that might guarantee us a little quiet for a few months, or maybe even for a few years, but that could only lead us eventually into even greater peril."

"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."

"I don't know why you use a fancy French word like détente when there's a good English phrase for it-cold war."

"I have faced difficult problems in the past but nothing like the one I'm faced with now in leading the country."

"I never did anything alone. Whatever was accomplished in this country was accomplished collectively."

"Even paranoids have real enemies."

"Glorious bouquets and storms of applause are the trimmings which every artist naturally enjoys."

"From Russia I didn’t bring out a single happy memory, only sad, tragic ones. The nightmare of pogroms, the brutality of Cossacks charging young Socialists, fear, shrieks of terror..."