JERUSALEM (Dec. 13)
The late Premier Golda Meir was close to suicide during the early stages of the Yom Kippur War, according to a longtime political ally. Veteran Mapam leader Yaacov Hazan told a memorial meeting for Mrs. Meir in Tel Aviv last night that she had revealed to him, close to her death one year ago, that she had contemplated suicide because she could not bear the thought of her moral responsibility for the pre-war unpreparedness.
Hazan said Mrs. Meir had told him she fully expected to be exonerated of any direct responsibility “by any tribunal on this earth.” Nevertheless, she could not forgive herself for not having followed the dictates of her instincts rather than the advice of her various ministerial and military experts.
She had been confident of ultimate Israeli victory, Hazan said, even during the worst moments to the war. But she felt — as she told him — that her own life had become worthless as result of the pre-war catastrophe, and she no longer wished to live. Why, then had she not carried out her suicide urge? Because, Hazan quoted her as saying, she felt that to do so would be to weaken the resolve of the young fighting soldiers on the battlefield.
Hazan’s revelation came a few days after a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report (from New York by Yitzhak Rabi) that Mrs. Meir, according to her sister, Clara Stern of Bridgeport, Conn., always carried with her a fatal dose of cyanide in case she was captured by terrorists.