In an unprecedented move, the US Mint is going to produce a series of coins commemorating Israel’s former Prime Minister Golda Meir.
Congress celebrated the passage of the Golda Meir Commemorative Coin Act directing the United States treasury to mint a coin commemorating the fourth prime minister of Israel on Israel’s 75th anniversary.
The coin initiative was advocated by real estate developer and philanthropist Bobby Rechnitz.
“Today we celebrate a partnership widely considered to be one of the most enduring bilateral relationships in modern history,” said Rechnitz, chairman of the Golda Meir Commemorative Coin Committee to Congress at the ceremony at the end of last month. “A partnership that has been built on a foundation of shared democratic values, mutual security interests, and deep cultural and economic values. Today we celebrate the momentous 75-year anniversary of U.S.-Israeli relations and look towards the bright future in years to come”.
“Golda Meir was the personification of the Israel-America relationship, raised in Milwaukee she paved her way to the Holy Land and became one of the founding mothers of Israel,” Rechnitz said in a statement.
“Golda smashed every single glass ceiling to become a role model for young women everywhere. She was a trailblazer for Zionism, equality, feminism and Tikkun Olam (fixing the world). At a time when we see so much political polarization in both countries, we should all be able to rally behind the legacy of Golda Meir as a symbol of unity and progress,” he added.
The bill was introduced by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who told guests that as a child she was inspired by Meir whom she called a rare symbol of Jewish female power on the global stage.
“Golda Meir’s story is a testament to the progress of the Jewish people, and that of Jewish women in particular,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “As a founder of the State of Israel, she modeled leadership for future generations and was fundamental in strengthening the United States-Israel partnership. I’m proud to sponsor this legislation to cement her place in history.”
“Prime Minister [Meir] was a trailblazer and remarkable world leader who is deserving of this recognition and more. Under her leadership, Israel became the free, democratic nation it is today, said Rep. Andrew Garbarino, the lead Republican of the Bill.” I am proud to lend my support to this fitting commemoration of this critical relationship between the United States and our friend and ally, Israel”.
The invocation was delivered by Bukharian Chief Rabbi Itzhak Yehoshua who spoke eloquently and referred to the weekly Torah reading which described the high priest entering the Holy of Holies asking for peace and prosperity.
“The Torah demands that the High Priest should be married, and the sages ask why be married?” the rabbi said. “The answer is in order to ask for peace you have to learn to live in peace and it has to start at home… we have to learn how to be in peace….in the state of Israel there are a lot of differences but in order to bring peace in the state of Israel we have to learn to live in peace to get the blessings of G-D we have to live together.”
Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kyiv in the Russian Empire on May 3, 1898, emigrating to Wisconsin with her family in 1905 as a child. She married in 1917, conditioning the marriage on moving to Israel. Her immigration was postponed due to the US entering World War I. She finally made aliyah in 1921 to Kibbutz Merhavia in the Jezreel Valley, eventually settling in Jerusalem. Meir had two children.
When the State of Israel declared its independence in 1948, Prime Minister Golda Meir was a signatories of the Declaration of Independence. She served as the 20 fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel from 1969 to 1974, leading the country through the disastrous 1973 Yom Kippur War. The failures in that conflict led to her resignation in 1974.
The legislation calls on the U.S. Mint to create up to 50,000 gold $5 coins, up to 400,000 silver $1 coins, and up to 750,000 half-dollar coins honoring Meir. Surcharges ($35 per gold coin; $10 per silver coin; and $5 per half-dollar coin) will go to the American Friends of Kiryat Sanz Laniado Hospital. A companion bill was introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Steve Daines (R-MT) on April 26 in the Senate, S. 1300 contains the same figures. Since 1982, when the practice of minting commemorative coins was reinstated, no coin has been commissioned to honor a foreign leader