The Last Years of Golda Meir in Never-before-seen Pictures

National Library of Israel reveals new photographs ahead of the release of a documentary on the country's only female prime minister

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Dr. Hezi Amior, National Library of Israel

Golda Meir was of the same generation as her predecessors, Moshe Sharett and Levi Eshkol. She was the last Israeli prime minister of the left-wing Mapai party originating in the wave of pioneering emigrations to Israel.

She would later pass the baton to Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, of the generation that was raised in Eretz Yisrael under the British Mandate.

Golda Meir with Yitzhak Rabin at a Labor Party conference, February 1977
Golda Meir with Yitzhak Rabin at a Labor Party conference, February 1977Credit: Dan Hadani Archive, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Photographer All photographs by IPPA Staff -Israel Press Photo Agency

Meir became prime minister in March 1969. Following Israel's great victory in the Six-Day War, the Alignment (or Maarach in Hebrew) — a joint slate of Labor and Mapam, which was one of left-wing Meretz’s precursor parties — had achieved an absolute majority in parliament with 63 out of 120 Knesset seats, a feat never done by any Israeli party before.

Five years later, in April 1974, Meir resigned and left public life behind her, in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War. The Likud would win the next election, held in May 1977. A year and a half later, at age 80, Meir passed away.

Golda Meir comes to vote in the 1977 elections, her ID card in hand
Golda Meir comes to vote in the 1977 elections, her ID card in handCredit: Dan Hadani Archive, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Photographer All photographs by IPPA Staff -Israel Press Photo Agency

Meir gradually receded from the public eye during the last years of her life, while the fortunes of the Labor Party ebbed as well. She did however participate in some events, as documented by Dan Hadani and the photographers of the Israel Press and Photo Agency.

The pictures show Meir, the last of her generation of leaders, in the shadow of her party's crisis. They also show the difference between Meir as prime minister carrying the heavy burden of responsibility on her shoulders, and Meir the distinguished guest.

Golda Meir at a Histadrut Labor Federation election convention, 1977
Golda Meir at a Histadrut Labor Federation election convention, 1977Credit: Dan Hadani Archive, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Photographer All photographs by IPPA Staff -Israel Press Photo Agency
Golda Meir with Anwar Sadat during his visit to Israel in November 1977
Golda Meir with Anwar Sadat during his visit to Israel in November 1977Credit: Dan Hadani Archive, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Photographer All photographs by IPPA Staff -Israel Press Photo Agency

As such, Meir met with then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat; visited the northern town of Katzrin, whose establishment had been decided on by the government she led; attended "The Battle for Life" exhibition initiated by Likud on the nation's 30th Independence Day, documenting the state's achievements; hosted U.S. Vice-President Walter Mondale and his family during his visit to Israel, five months before she died.

Al the photographs are part of the Dan Hadani collection, in the National Photographs Collection named after the Pritzker family at the National Library. The film "Golda" will be shown at the National Library's fifth documentary film festival on Wednesday at 8:30 P.M.

Golda Meir on her 80th birthday
Golda Meir on her 80th birthdayCredit: Dan Hadani Archive, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Photographer All photographs by IPPA Staff -Israel Press Photo Agency

Blog editor: Daniel Tchetchik. From Exposure: Haaretz Photo Blog. Follow on Facebook

Golda Meir at Yitzhak Rabin's resignation as prime minister, 1976
Golda Meir at Yitzhak Rabin's resignation as prime minister, 1976Credit: Dan Hadani Archive, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Photographer All photographs by IPPA Staff -Israel Press Photo Agency
Golda Meir voting in the 1977 elections
Golda Meir voting in the 1977 electionsCredit: Dan Hadani Archive, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Photographer All photographs by IPPA Staff -Israel Press Photo Agency
Golda Meir hosts Walter Mondale and his wife Joan at her home
Golda Meir hosts Walter Mondale and his wife Joan at her homeCredit: Dan Hadani Archive, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Photographer All photographs by IPPA Staff -Israel Press Photo Agency
Golda Meir visits Katzerin
Golda Meir visits Katzerin Credit: Dan Hadani Archive, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Photographer All photographs by IPPA Staff -Israel Press Photo Agency
Golda Meir visiting the Battle for Life exhibit, 1977, and signing the guest book
Golda Meir visiting the Battle for Life exhibit, 1977, and signing the guest bookCredit: Dan Hadani Archive, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Photographer All photographs by IPPA Staff -Israel Press Photo Agency

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