Israel’s Everywoman at War: Golda Meir
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Israel’s Everywoman at War: Golda Meir
9 October @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The fourth Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir, was not only a trailblazer as the first and only female head of Israeli government, she was also the fourth elected female head of state worldwide. Golda left an incredible mark on history as one of the 24 signatories of the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. Born in Kyiv at the close of the 19th century and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the United States, she embarked on a distinguished career. Golda Meir served as an Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1948-1949), a Labour Minister (1949-1956) and a Minister of Foreign Affairs (1956-1966).
However, it was during her contentious five-year Premiership that she faced her greatest challenge – a period marked by the widely regarded ‘disastrous’ Yom Kippur War of 1973. This tumultuous chapter in her public office is vividly portrayed in the biographical drama film ‘Golda’. Directed by the Academy Award-winning Guy Nattiv and written by Nicholas Martin.
The Henry Jackson Society is honoured to welcome the writer of the film, Nicholas Martin, and the former Israeli Ambassador to the US, Member of the Knesset, and the Deputy Minister for Diplomacy, Michael Oren. Together, they will delve into the intricate historical profile of Golda Meir, shedding light on her inherently strong leadership and an ability to make tough decisions in the face of formidable adversity.
After working as a seaman and journalist, Nicholas Martin graduated from the National Film and Television School in 1992. His screenplay for Florence Foster Jenkins was shortlisted for the Best First Screenplay – WGGB Awards and received 4 Golden Globe nominations and 2 Academy Award nominations. GOLDA, written and produced by Nicholas, and starring Helen Mirren as Golda Meir, Israel’s iconic and only female Prime Minister will be released in 2023. Also starring are Liev Schreiber as Henry Kissinger and Camille Cottin as Lou Kadar, Golda’s assistant.
Statesman, historian, soldier, author, Michael Oren has had long and distinguished career.
Born in New York and educated at Princeton and Columbia, he was a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown. He has received fellowships from the US State Department and the British and Canadian governments. He was the Lady Davis Fellow at Hebrew University, a Moshe Dayan Fellow at Tel Aviv University, and the Ambassadorial Scholar at the Atlantic Council. Oren holds four degrees in Middle East history and has received four honorary doctorates.
Moving to Israel in the 1970s and joining the IDF, Dr. Oren served as a lone soldier in the paratroopers. He fought in the 1982 Lebanon War, and later served as an army spokesman in the Second Lebanon War and several Gaza operations, reaching the rank of major. He served as an advisor to Israel’s delegation to the UN, to former Foreign Minister Abba Evan, and to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. A passionate oarsman, he won two gold medals in the Maccabiah Games.
In 2009, Michael Oren was appointed Israel’s ambassador to the United States. Interacting with the White House, Congress, the Pentagon, and the CIA, he dealt with crucial strategic issues such as the Iron Dome defense system and the Iran nuclear threat. He reached out to communities across America, spoke on numerous campuses, and defended Israel in the media. He received the Statesman of the Year Medal from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Dr. Martin Luther King Legacy Prize for International Service.
Returning to Israel, Oren was elected to Knesset—Israel’s parliament—where he headed a classified committee on international affairs and served as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, in charge of diplomacy. He made state visits to Europe, Central America, and the Far East. Politico named him as one of the fifty most influential thinkers in America, by the Forward as one of the five most influential Jews in America, and the Jerusalem Post as one of the ten most influential Jews worldwide.
Oren has written numerous books. His last three works of non-fiction—Six Days of War, Power, Faith, and Fantasy, and Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide—were all New York Times bestsellers. He won the Los Angeles Times History Jewish Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and a National Humanities Prize. He is currently working on the history of Israel’s War of Independence, to be published by Random House.
Michael Oren has also been prominent figure in the media, serving as Middle East analyst for both CNN and CBS news. He has had appeared on the Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher shows, 60 Minutes, and the View. His collected essays and op-eds, published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Atlantic, total some 700 pages. NPR listed him among the best college commencement speakers ever.
Throughout, Michael Oren has been a writer of fiction. A teen poet, he later won the PBS National Young Filmmakers Award and wrote for both Hollywood and stage. His two novels and collections of stories draw on his diverse experiences. His latest novel, Swann’s War, was hailed by Kirkus Review as “intriguing, wonderfully delineated, and tension-filled,” and awarded it the coveted star.
Since leaving public office, Michael Oren has represented Israeli high tech abroad and served as an advisor to United Hatzalah, the Secure Community Network, and other NGOs. He is the president of the Hadas Malka Center, which supports Israel Border Police and their families, and is the founder of Israel 2048, dedicated to stimulating and facilitating dialogue on Israel’s future. His book, 2048 – The Rejuvenated State, was published in English, Hebrew, and Arabic in 2023.
Michael Oren is the father of three and the grandfather of six—his proudest achievements.
Aliona Hlivco is the Managing Director of The Henry Jackson Society, and a political analyst and foreign policy expert with a background in domestic and international strategic communications, global affairs and geopolitics. She started her career in Ukrainian politics, holding several government positions in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Parliament in Ukraine, focusing on international partnerships, cross-border cooperation, infrastructure, public-private partnerships and decentralisation. She ran eight national and local election campaigns, and coordinated strategy during the 2013-2014 Revolution of Dignity.
She finished her time in Ukrainian politics as an elected member of the regional parliament in 2015-2018 and a chief adviser to the Chairman of Regional Government.
Aliona contributes regularly to the BBC, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, The Telegraph, Monocle, CapX and is a guest lecturer at various academic institutions (Harvard University, Cambridge University, Middlebury Institute of International Studies, NYU, London Business School, London UOTC, King’s College London etc) to provide her expertise on Ukraine and global affairs. She is fluent in English, Ukrainian and Russian, with an intermediate level in German.
She is a recipient of the Order of Merit for her outstanding service and invaluable contribution to the support of democracy in Ukraine during the Revolution of Dignity 2013-2014.
Aliona holds MA in Political Science and MPA from Chernivtsi National University in Ukraine.
Click HERE to register your interest on Zoom. For In-Person attendance please register by submitting the form below.
The Henry Jackson Society was delighted to welcome Nicholas Martin, Writer and Producer of the 2023 Film “GOLDA” and Dr Michael Oren, Author, former soldier as well as former Israeli Ambassador to the United States for a discussion with Aliona Hlivco reflecting upon the latest release of “GOLDA” and the film’s present-day relevance. Nicholas Martin began the conversation by stating that thus far, the film has been “well received” and within the UK, has offered considerable solace to Jewish audiences in light of Hamas’ invasion. When questioned about the film’s focus on the Yom Kippur War, Martin maintained that ultimately this was Golda Meir’s “defining moment” and that perhaps history has been considerably harsh on Golda’s errors in 1973. Dr Oren continued by drawing contrasting comparisons between 1973 and the current situation arguing that the former was fought by conventional militaries whereas the latter’s primary damage has been inflicted upon civilians. When asked about contemporary Israeli intelligence failures, Dr Oren labelled complacency as the chief culprit. His reasoning? Israel simply forgot they were dealing not with rational actors but terrorists. Consequently, “everything hangs in the balance.” Despite the predominant atmosphere of uncertainty, Dr Oren maintained that Israel must not lack foresight and ought to look to the future of the Gaza strip, namely who will govern it if an Israeli ground invasion is successful. The discussion concluded with both men comparing Golda Meir in 1973 and current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. “History is harsh”, argued Dr Oren and ultimately it is the actions that Netanyahu takes now that shall dictate his legacy for years to come.
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