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Golda Meir, the first female prime minister of Israel, spent much of her childhood and her early years as an adult in Wisconsin. She was born in Kiev in 1898— then part of Russia — but her family fled Jewish persecution in 1906, immigrating to America. No U.S. president has been born or raised in Wisconsin.

Meir’s family settled in Milwaukee, where she became a teacher at a Yiddish-speaking school. Meir moved to British-controlled Palestine with her husband in 1921. Meir was heavily involved in the Zionist movement, helping to create the state of Israel following World War II. 

When Israel’s prime minister died in 1969, the Labor Party supported Meir as the next prime minister. She served as prime minister until 1974, resigning after the Yom Kippur War ended. She died four years later in 1978 due to leukemia.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


US Census: Presidential Birth States and Places With Names of Presidents

Wisconsin Women Making History: Golda Meir

Wisconsin Historical Society: Golda Meir

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Erin Gretzinger joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism and French major at UW-Madison and will graduate in spring 2023. Erin previously worked for the Wisconsin State Journal as a reporting intern and served as the 2021-22 editor-in-chief at The Badger Herald. She is a recipient of the Jon Wolman Scholarship, the Sigrid Schultz Scholarship and the Joseph Sicherman Award Fund for her academic and reporting work.