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Golda Meir worked her way up the political ladder to occupy various key posts before becoming prime minister of Israel at age 71.
For four years her broad experience enabled her to mediate between conflicting forces within her cabinet, but eventually arguments over the conduct of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war forced her from office.
A leading socialist and Zionist, Golda Meir involved herself in the struggle for Israeli independence, becoming an international ambassador for Zionism in the 1930s.
Since many Zionist leaders were in prison, she often acted as unofficial leader of the movement in the years leading up to independence in 1948.
Her premiership was dogged by disputes over the future of the territories occupied by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967, but she retained the support of both main factions until the failures of the 1973 Yom Kippur War led to demands for a new leadership.
Despite winning the elections of December 1973, she lost control over her cabinet and resigned in April 1974.