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Harriet Berkal

Harriet Berkal:Is Zelensky the Reincarnation of Golda Meir ?

( She died December 8/1978. He was born January 25, 1978)

March 23, 2022

I clearly remember as a young child jumping into my parents bed, early Sunday mornings, where we’d laugh and I’d feel safe and happy. How many Ukrainian children have been separated by the security of family, amidst this insane invasion of madness by Putin ?

With a possible WWIII looming, My husband Larry, is taken back to elementary school in Selkirk, Manitoba, where he’d be called to hide under his desk, as the air raid sirens went off during the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960’s.

Nuclear war is a very real and scary concept to wrap one’s head around. Hence the need for strong leadership, to handle the fringe of megalomaniacs, and quench their narcissist thirst for power and destruction.

But what characteristics are necessary for such heroic people to take on those who challenge the countries they represent ?

I’d surmise that it takes nerves of steel, courage, spunk, fortitude and unwavering principles- not for the faint of heart.

We are all glued to our TV screens everyday watching the atrocities occurring as Russia invades the Ukraine. They are bombing maternity hospitals, residential buildings, shooting innocent civilians lining up for bread and killing foreign press agents. These are crimes of war. Putin needs to be held accountable for his actions. He is akin to Hitler who put no value on human lives- dictatorial and tyrannical.

In 1939, no one would ever have expected a future president of the Ukraine to be Jewish and a former actor no less.

In 1969, who ever have anticipated a 70 year old, chain smoking woman with a messy bun, a cake-serving-baba with an unwavering spirit, to be positioned as the first female Jewish Prime Minister of Israel?

Yet both these individuals, Zelensky and Golda Mier, were born in Kyiv and come from Ukrainian stock.

What do these two individuals have in common aside from their birthplace ?

They both have/ had the ability to LEAD. Their charismatic personalities possess/ possessed the ability to entrust and ignite a flame amongst their citizens- to take tremendous pride in their respective homelands and to respect its sovereignty.

What type of person is up for this daunting task? The stress of fighting neighbours, who want to destroy or banish your respective populations versus utilizing the tools of negotiation and diplomacy, is tremendous and never ending.

Wars and death are what you are up against. The blood of youth and the innocent are never far away. You take them to bed with you each night. How do you justify unprovoked attacks and stand idle? It is impossible.

They are not just figureheads; but they bare overwhelming responsibility in defining the future of the countries they represent. The task is onerous to say the least. It is relentless and faces you everyday. It never grows tired or weak.

Zelensky is short in stature and we see him now ascending from bunkers or being broadcast from within, as the most unlikely role model to lead this fight against Russia. He is a straight to the point, no nonsense type of guy wearing an army green t-shirt. But his defiance is clear. We have dignity and will defend our country.

Golda had a bizarre fashion sense, wearing ugly chunky orthopaedic shoes known as “ Golda Shoes.” ( Mental Floss)

If there was a lineup of people, the way we’d do it in elementary or high school to pick teams - I think it fair to say these two, would not have made the cut. But they were both grossly underestimated.

It’s not size, nor trendiness that makes a nation’s head. One must have the foresight to not bend and be oblivious to criticism. Most of all they must muster an inner calling to serve and act as strong role models who are tough as grit.

What would Golda say to Zelensky if she had the chance today ? I envision them having a bowl of borscht together and laughing as they know their enemy is arrogant and crazy. A joke might be shared but they’d both recognize the magnitude of the situation. They’d strategize how best to deal with Putin’s kind.

Never underestimate the ones who aren’t first pick on the playing field. They are the most surprising of all.


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