“Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!”
“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.”
“It is true that we have won all our wars, but we have paid for them.”
On the Palestinians & Violence
“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”
“We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel.”
“A leader who doesn't hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader.”
“It was not as if there was a Palestinian people in Palestine and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”
On Compromise with the Arabs
“We Jews have a secret weapon in our struggle with the Arabs - We have no place to go.”
“I guess we have no choice. Either we do everything that is possible, and may seem to others as impossible, and just give up. Or we do everything that is really impossible and we remain alive. There’s one more basic thing that I think that people outside of Israel must realize, and if they understand and accept that, maybe other things will fall into place.
For instance, we’re not the only people in the world who’ve had difficulties with neighbors; that has happened to many. We are the only country in the world whose neighbors do not say, “We are going to war because we want a certain piece of land from Israel,” or waterways or anything of that kind. We’re the only people in the world where our neighbors openly announce they just won’t have us here. And they will not give up fighting and they will not give up war as long as we remain alive. Here.
So this is the crux of the problem: it isn’t anything concrete that they want from us. That’s why it doesn’t make sense when people say, “Give up this and give up the other place. Give up the Golan Heights,” for instance. What happened when we were not on the Golan Heights? We were not on the Golan Heights before ’67, and for 19 years, Syria had guns up there and shot at our agricultural settlements below. We were not on the Golan Heights! So what, if we give up the Golan Heights, they will stop shooting? We were not in the Suez Canal when the war started.
It’s because Egypt and Syria and the other Arab countries refuse to acquiesce to our existence. Therefore there can be no compromise. They say we must be dead. And we say we want to be alive. Between life and death, I don’t know of a compromise. And that’s why we have no choice.”
- 60 Minutes Interview, September 1973
In a meeting with Senator Joe Biden, Meir said, “don’t look so sad, Senator, we have a secret weapon in our battle against the Arabs. Senator, we have no place else to go.”
- AIPAC Policy Conference, March 20, 2016
“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!”
“Women's liberation is just a lot of foolishness. It's men who are discriminated against. They can't bear children.”
Source: Yadid, Judd. “Israel's Iron Lady unfiltered: 17 Golda Meir quotes on her 117th birthday,” Haaretz, (May 3, 2015).