September ’69 in the Exponent: Prime Minister Cites Links Between US and Israel; Golda Meir Cheered by Thousands Here


The Jewish Exponent’s editors didn’t have a tough call in deciding what should lead the paper on Sept. 26, 1969.

That’s because Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir visited Philadelphia two days earlier.

Speaking at Independence Mall before a crowd estimated at 5,000 to 6,000, Meir’s message is relevant today.

“We act with malice toward none and desire only to live in peace with nations close to us and throughout the world,” she said. “But no man is free until all men are free. My people hold sacred in their hearts and their souls the belief that the people and the land will be united and that the people will be free on its soil.”

Meir also mentioned how similar Israel’s national character is to that of the United States.

The crowd — which waved signs saying “Golda Meir, Woman of Valor” and wore badges that said “Shalom, Golda” or “Golda” — ate it up, cheering wildly.

The visit was actually Meir’s 10th to Philadelphia, although her first since being elected prime minister a few months earlier.

Before her speech, there was a brief greeting upon her arrival at Philadelphia International Airport. There, she was met by her prime minister successor, Gen. Yizhak Rabin, then the Israel Ambassador to the United States.

A motorcade trip on the Schuylkill Expressway and Chestnut Street leading to Independence Mall followed. Mayor James H.J. Tate presented her with a medallion making her an honorary citizen of Philadelphia.

Meir left the next morning to meet with President Richard Nixon. Her itinerary included a United Nations luncheon as well as a trip to Milwaukee. Born in Kiev, Russia, Meir and her family immigrated to New York and then Milwaukee in 1905. She lived there until moving to Palestine in 1921 to work on a kibbutz.


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