Opinion: I’m still with her

Sophia Witt

A recent letter to the editor in The Kent Stater, entitled “Creating a home and creating diversity on campus,” was written with the intent of criticizing Bowman Hall’s featured figure, Golda Meir, the former prime minister of Israel. The piece was penned by Students for Justice in Palestine President Yousof Mousa, an individual whom I have met several times before this article was written.

This article spoke to me on a humane level; not only was I surprised by the politics of the piece, but I was left culturally shocked as well. Meir was a hero, not only to myself, but to the world.

Meir was one of the founding figures behind Israel’s establishment, as well as the fourth prime minister of the only Jewish state in the world. Among many things, she was a woman with the staunch idea that women did not need to strive for equality, but that it was already their G-d given right. Her views on equality of sexes not only inspired generations of her time, but my own as well.

As a Jewish woman, a minority and an intern for the Women’s Center at Kent State, I look up to Meir. Her beliefs fall in line with those of women today, who so desperately struggle to be seen as an equal to the typical “male bias” that we see in today’s America.

Women such as Meir are necessary to look up to during times when women so desperately demand to be respected and perceived as strong leaders in the world. “Feminism,” however, was a term Golda struggled with; she didn’t believe women needed to be seen as leaders, but rather that women should naturally and inherently be viewed as equals.

The comparison of Meir to President-elect Donald Trump in Mousa’s article stands to be illogical and extremely insensitively written. While his article alludes to exclusivity during Meir’s leadership, her inclusiveness deemed her a true unifier of peoples.

Meir held a key role in assistance with illegal immigrants of her time. She fought against the British (who governed the land, geographically termed “Palestine”) for a large number of displaced people in an effort to welcome them into Israel.

She also helped illegal immigrants come to Israel during World War II. In doing so, Meir volunteered to go back to America to raise money to help house and feed all of the new migrants to Israel — she succeeded and was capable of helping these poor people seek opportunity.

Meir’s successful efforts in the Israeli-American alliance, unlike any other bond in the world, continue to show true prominence. In 1973, she was named “Most Admired Woman” in Gallup polls throughout the United States.

Continuing with Meir’s anti-victimization beliefs, she denied the thought that Jews needed sympathy. She yearned for a world where the Jewish community would no longer need international condolences, but rather be unequivocally respected across the globe.

Above all else, the goal which she most adamantly pursed was the establishment of a safe place for the Jewish people to exist.

Particularly after the Holocaust, Meir witnessed the hate and belittlement of the Jewish people. While so many sought to delegitimize the Jewish community, Meir fought for the exact opposite.

She took precautions to ensure the safety of the people of Israel — both Israelis and Arab-Israelis — by signing multiple peace treaties with Arab nations. Meir oversaw strong relationships between Israel and African countries by competing for the relinquishing of the lands in hopes for peace. She met with hostile Arab leaders despite the egregious mass murdering of Israelis and Israeli-Arabs prior to her prime ministry during the Six-Day War. Regardless of these attacks,Meir’s intentions stood strong: Protecting Israel’s interests was possible only by protecting Jews domestically and abroad.

I urge faculty and staff of Kent State to further research a figure as prominent as Meir. Her influence was prevalent not only in Israel, but around the world. She should serve as a role model to all students at Kent State; her powerful background should motivate students to stand up for their culture, despite the possibility being victimized and doubted.

I cannot possibly condone such an action as to take down her picture and quote. Such an honorable woman should be spotlighted.

My name is Sophia Witt. I am the founding president of Students Supporting Israel at Kent State, an intern for the Zionist Organization of America, a Hasbara Fellow, and an intern for the Women’s Center at Kent State.

But, first and foremost, I am a Jew. I speak on behalf of my cultural roots, and I am with Golda Meir.

Sophia Witt is a guest columnist, contact her at [email protected].