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State Funeral Will Be Held Tuesday for Golda Meir Who Died Friday at the Age of 80; Burial Will Be O

December 11, 1978
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A state funeral will be held Tuesday for former Premier Golda Meir. She will be buried on Mt. Herzl overlooking Jerusalem in a simple ceremony in accordance with her wishes. In her will, Mrs. Meir had requested that there be no eulogies and no monument erected in her memory.

She died late Friday afternoon, at the age of 80, in Hodassah Hospital where she had been under treatment since August for lymphoma, an illness diagnosed 15 years ago, her physician disclosed. Mrs. Meir’s coffin will be placed in the Knesset building tomorrow where thousands of Israelis and foreign dignitaries will pay their final respects.

World leaders will attend the funeral. President Carter will be represented by either his wife, Rosalynn, or his mother, Lillian. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance will attend, as will his predecessor, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and a number of U.S. Senators and leaders of Jewish communities throughout the world.

Mrs. Meir was acknowledged by friends and foes alike to have been one of the most remarkable personalities of this century. She was one of the few women ever to hold the office of Prime Minister, serving as chief of government during her nation’s gravest crisis, the Yom Kippur War. She was Israel’s first Ambassador to the Soviet Union and occupied key Cabinet posts, first as Minister of Labor and later as Foreign Minister. She was one of the signers of Israel’s proclamation of independence in 1948.

In January, 1973, she was received at the Vatican by Pope Paul VI, the first Israeli head of government to have an audience with the Pontiff. A Vatican statement released later noted that during the meeting, the Pope had recalled “the history and sufferings of the Jewish people.”


No national day of mourning was declared, as the law prescribes such declarations only when the President, Prime Minister or Knesset Speaker dies in office. But the entire nation was in mourning nevertheless from the moment Mrs. Meir’s death was officially announced. She passed away at 4:28 p.m. local time Friday, a chilly gray day in Jerusalem with intermittent rain. Official mourning began last night at the end of the Sabbath. The Cabinet met in special session and the ministers stood in silence to pay their respects to the former leader. Acting Premier Yigael Yadin likened Mrs. Meir to the Biblical prophetess Deborah in the period of the Judges.

Beginning last night and throughout today, the broadcast media abandoned its regular schedule for programming appropriate to an occasion of mourning. Schools today devoted their classes to discussions of Mrs. Meir’s contributions to the history of Israel, before and after it achieved statehood.

Flags were flown at half mast on all public buildings; festivities scheduled for the weekend were cancelled. In the streets, buses and shops all over the country the conversation centered on “Golda,” her life’s work and her fatal illness.


Israel’s national and political leaders sought to convey the sentiments of every Israeli in broadcast and published statements. President Yitzhak Navon described Mrs. Meir as “a rare leader” who had dedicated her life to the Jewish people and identified with every Jewish community in the world. “She was loyal to herself and herself was loyal to the people of Israel, “he said. One could differ with her but one always respected her and in times of crisis “she stood as a firm cliff in the face of threatening waves. She identified completely with whatever task she undertook, ” he said.

Premier Menachem Begin, in Oslo to accept the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize, appeared on television there, relayed by satellite to Israel. A long-time political foe of Mrs. Meir, Begin declared that she had fought all her life for the Jewish people, their redemption and their future.

He recalled her contributions to the establishment of the State and noted especially her role as Israel’s first Ambassador to Moscow where “she brought the word of Zion to millions of Jews in those days which are remembered by all, and tens of thousands of Jews came, with great love to receive Israel’s first Ambassador.” Begin recalled that Golda had once told him that she told the Jews in the USSR, “I thank you for having remained Jews.”

“She was Israel’s spokesman to the nations of the world, “Begin said.”She always addressed them with pride, with faith in the eternity of the Jewish people. She was premier of the government of national unity and Premier in the days of agony and the triumph of the Yom Kippur War. She had historic achievements to her credit in the annals of the Jewish people and her memory will be engraved in the hearts of our people throughout the generations, “he said.


Shimon Peres, chairman of the Labor Party, the party long headed by Mrs. Meir, called her “one of the greatest women in the history of the Jewish people and one of the decisive figures in the shaping and the fate of the State of Israel. She was a proud Jewess,” Peres declared, “and uncompromisingly certain of the justice of her cause. She may have had doubts during her life but she was never in doubt as to the justice of our actions, of our existence and our path, “he said.

Meir Talmi, secretary general of Mapam, a partner in Israel’s Labor Alignment, said Mrs. Meir was “a great figure whose name will be inscribed in the history of Israel as one of the leaders of the generation that built something out of nothing and created reality out of a vision. She was one of the Jewish people and at the same time a great statesman,” Talmi said.

The Jewish Agency Executive and the Presidium of the Zionist General Council met in a special mourning session today. Leon Dulzin. chairman.

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