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Golda Meir

(1898-1978) A Jewish Israeli political figure of Russian and American origin. Meir, a supporter of socialist Labor Zionism, immigrated to Palestine in 1921. She worked in several key Jewish Zionist organizations prior to the 1948 establishment of the State of Israel, including the Histadrut trade union and the Jewish Agency. One of the signatories of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, Meir served as an official in the government of Israel in various capacities, including Minister of Labor from 1949-1956, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1956-1966 and Prime Minister from 1969-1974. She is the only Israeli woman ever elected to the position of Prime Minister. Meir resigned in 1974 after being criticized both internally and abroad for the unpreparedness of the Israeli military prior to the 1973 War. Controversial remarks she made include suggestions that the Palestinian people did not exist, and that peace will come when Arabs love their children more than they hate Israelis, and, in reference to Israel’s Black Panthers, that they’re not "nice boys." See "Israel’s Iron Lady unfiltered: 17 Golda Meir quotes on her 117th birthday," Judd Yadid, Haaretz, May 3, 2015.

Madrid Conference

Also known as the Madrid Peace Talks or Madrid Summit. Refers to the international peace conference held in Madrid, Spain in 1991, following the 1991 Gulf War. Co-sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union, it was the first time that representatives from Israel, Palestinians and representatives from Arab countries that had not yet formally recognized Israel came together to discuss the prospects for peace in direct negotiations. US President George H.W. Bush saw it as redemption of pledges he had made to Arab leaders in setting up the anti-Saddam Hussein coalition during the 1991 Gulf War. Israel was incensed by the inclusion of Palestine Liberation Organization representatives, albeit as part of the Jordanian delegation. The talks were based on United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338 as well as the Camp David Accords of 1978, accepting the "land-for-peace" formula for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. It set up a system of multi- and bilateral committees, which met with few results until overtaken by the revelation of the Oslo Process between Israel and Palestinian representatives in August 1993. The Madrid Conference is generally seen as a precursor to Oslo, though formally unrelated. See "The Madrid Conference, 1991," Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State.

Mapai

(a Hebrew acronym for "Mifleget Poalei Eretz Yisrael" or "Worker's Party of the Land of Israel") A workers’ party that was founded in 1930 and grew out of Labor Zionism, which was based on socialist principles. Mapai was the dominant party in Israeli politics prior to its establishment of the Labor party in 1968. Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion was the head of Mapai. See "Workers Party of Eretz Israel (Mapai)," Knesset.

Meretz

(Hebrew for "vitality") An Israeli political party. Formed in 1992 with the merger of the Shinui, Mapam and Ratz parties and officially registered in 1996. Meretz is considered a left-wing social democratic party that continues to call for a negotiated end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, human rights for all of Israel’s citizens as well as freedom from religion. As of 2014, Meretz, has six seats in the Israeli Knesset. See "Meretz," YNet News, February 4, 2008.

Mizrahi Jews

(Hebrew for "Eastern".) The term is used to refer to Jews of Middle-Eastern and North African origin, who are sometimes known as "Arab Jews." The term is often used synonymously with "Sephardic Jews," though Sephardic connotes religious practice and Mizrahi connotes place of origin. Arabic was/is the mother tongue of most Mizrahi Jews at the time of their immigration to Israel in the early 1950’s, and other native languages include Persian, Marathi, Tajik and others. Approximately 700,000 Mizrahi Jews were expelled from their country of origin in the years after the 1948 War and many immigrated to Israel; others left of their own will, due to encouragement by Israel, and/or because of deteriorating conditions in their native countries after the founding of the State of Israel. There are several incidents in which Zionist agents committed acts of sabotage in order to hasten the flight/explusion of Mizrahi Jews to Israel. Mizrahi Jews faced marginalization upon their immigration to Israel at the hands of the politically and culturally dominant Ashkenazi Jews. Jews coming from Arab and Muslim countries were usually settled in under-serviced development towns far from Israel’s major population centers, endured systemic discrimination, and were treated as culturally inferior. Though social integration has improved in Israeli society, there are still wide disparities educationally and economically between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews. In recent years, a debate has begun about whether the plight of Mizrahi Israelis who were expelled from their country of origin should be part of peace negotiations, and whether their plight is parallel to that of Palestinian refugees. See the website for "Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow." See also "Danny Ayalon and the Jewish refugee fallacy," Daniel Haboucha, The Times of Israel, October 1, 2012.

Mossad

(Hebrew for "The Institute," formerly known as "Institute for Espionage and Special Tasks") Israel’s external intelligence agency, Mossad is the Israeli equivalent of the CIA or the British MI6. As such, the Mossad is responsible for many covert operations outside the borders of Israel, as well as providing the Israeli Prime Minister with intelligence and strategic assessments. Its counterpart, working inside Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, is the Shin Bet Agency, or Shabak. See "Shadowy and deadly-the long arm of the Mossad," Ian Black, The Guardian, Feb 16, 2010.

Mubadara—Palestinian National Initiative

Palestinian political party. Founded in 2002 and led by Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Mubadara’s leadership consists of secular intellectuals (including the late Edward Said) and Palestinians with deep roots in civil society, and seeks to democratize and unify Palestinian policies and leadership. The party’s platform calls for the creation of a Palestinian state on all the territory occupied by Israel in 1967. See their website.

Muqataa

Located in the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the central West Bank, the Muqataa is a compound housing the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s government offices. During the April 2002 Israeli military incursion, the Israeli army raided the compound, shelled and bulldozed a large section of it, and placed it under siege in an attempt to isolate PA President Yasser Arafat. The siege was a response to the Second Intifada amid Israeli claims that Arafat and others in the PA were supporting terrorism. Arafat was held under house arrest at the compound from April 2002-October 2004, after which he was flown to Paris, France for medical treatment, where he died on November 11, the cause of which remains controversial. The Muqataa is also now the site of Arafat’s tomb. See "Inside Arafat’s compound of rubble," BBC, September 22, 2002; and "Arafat mausoleum opened by Abbas," BBC, November 10, 2007.

Shaul Mofaz

(1948- ) A Jewish Israeli political and military figure of Iranian origin. Mofaz immigrated to Israel in 1957. He had a long career in the Israeli military, his top post being the Chief of the General Staff from 1998-2002. During the Second Intifada, Mofaz trained the Israeli military for guerilla warfare in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and increased the military’s use of home demolitions and closures in Palestinian areas. Controversial military operations he directed include the Jenin Invasion destroying the Muqataa (Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat’s compound in Ramallah), and dropping a one-ton bomb on an apartment complex in Gaza Strip City, killing 14 Palestinian civilians along with the militant whom the operation intended to assassinate. Mofaz entered politics in 2002, serving as Defense Minister until 2006 and Minister of Transportation from 2006-2009. In 2005, he switched party affiliations from Likud to the newly formed Kadima party. Starting in 2012, Mofaz served in the Israeli Knesset as a member of Kadima, and retired from politics in 2015. See "Britain refuses to grant immunity to ex-Israeli defense minister Mofaz during London visit," Barak Ravid, Haaretz, June 20, 2015.