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Golda (2023) | Transcript

Set during the tense 19 days of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir is faced with the potential of Israel’s complete destruction.
Golda (2023)

In 1973, Golda Meir responds to the inquiries of the Agranat Commission.

Henry Kissinger expresses to Golda Meir that it is problematic for the United States to increase its support for Israel in light of the 1973 oil crisis. Kissinger pressures Meir to give up the Sinai Peninsula which Israel had gained in the 1967 Six-Day War if Israel wants continued U.S. support.

Anwar Sadat, who like Golda Meir publicly speaks English, agrees to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for the return of the Sinai Peninsula.

* * *

(PROJECTOR WHIRRING)

MAN 1: While there is a rattle of gunfire in the Holy Land, there is cheering in Washington and Hebrew dances of joy for a Jewish homeland that has been reborn.

(CHEERING)

Haganah troops search for Arabs after capturing the city.

(OVERLAPPING VOICES)

MAN 2: More than 4,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes.

Their journey as refugees has just started.

MAN 3: Intensive diplomatic negotiations on the Mid-East continue today in Washington as Israel’s Prime Minister, Golda Meir, met with President Nixon at the White House for 80 minutes.

NIXON: It’s a very great privilege for me, speaking on behalf of the American people…

I had no prior knowledge of the Watergate breakin.

(SPEAKING ARABIC)

(PROJECTOR STOPS)

(BIRDS CHIRPING)

(DISTANT SHOUTING)

(SHOUTING CONTINUES)

(INDISTINCT SHOUTING)

MAN: Good morning, Madam Prime Minister.

Good morning.

(COUGHING)

MAN: Please swear.

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, knowing that I will be subject to punishment provided by law if I do not.

(OPENS BAG)

(CLOSES BAG)

MAN: Madam Prime Minister.

(TYPEWRITER CLACKING)

Let us begin with October the 5th, 1973.

(MOONLIGHT SONATA BY BEETHOVEN PLAYING ON PIANO)

Yes!

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

Use the fingering I showed you.

East Finchley School, Mrs. Epstein speaking.

MAN: (OVER TELEPHONE) This is the Chemist.

This is the Postmistress. Go ahead.

Zinc. Cadmium.

Chlorine. Hydrogen.

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

Hello?

This is the Postmistress.

This is the Baker. Go ahead.

Zinc. Cadmium. Chlorine. Hydrogen.

(INDISTINCT SHOUTING ON TV)

GOLDA: Put out a statement expressing my disappointment at the Austrian capitulation to the terrorists.

Disappointment, or maybe frustration?

Yes, frustration. That’s better.

Zvika.

Prime Minister.

To what do I owe the pleasure?

I heard from my spy, the Chemist.

He wants to meet tonight. He’s warning of war.

As he did in May.

The warning was accurate.

He cried wolf. That’s how it was perceived.

Why do you trust this man?

He knows everything and he says war is coming.

Yeah, well, of course, war is coming, but when?

Without Dayan’s support, there can be no mobilization and he is unconvinced that the threat is imminent.

If he resigns, the government falls.

It’s that simple.

And then the Arabs will most certainly attack.

What does your gut tell you?

My gut is none of your business.

But…

Hmm.

You’re right. There is something.

Ask the Chemist for a date, a document, something concrete I can work with.

I think I’ll stay in TelAviv with my son over Kippur.

After your meeting, call me on the secure line.

(MAN SPEAKING ON RADIO, IN HEBREW)

WOMAN: (IN ENGLISH) No one saw you enter, Madam Prime Minister.

GOLDA: Mmmhmm.

It’s all clear.

Madam Prime Minister.

Dr. Rosenfeld.

I can’t see any new growth.

The cobalt radiation appears to be working.

But the cigarettes and the black coffee…

You’re making my job much harder.

And you mine. (CHUCKLING)

Could you manage another treatment?

Do I have a choice?

Not really.

This lymphoma is aggressive.

Make sure she eats and takes her medication.

I want you to promise me one thing.

If you detect the slightest sign of dementia, you will tell me.

I can’t trust the flatterers.

I promise.

Now, Madam Prime Minister, can I have this?

Thank you.

(MACHINE WHIRRING)

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

Yes?

ZAMIR: I spoke to my friend.

And?

Egyptian Airlines have moved all their aircraft to Tripoli.

The party will begin today, towards sundown.

Do you believe him?

Yes.

(SIGHS) Thank you.

(INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER)

Right, sorry, madam.

Sorry about that.

GOLDA: Marwan says the attack will begin around sundown.

Soviet diplomats and their families are leaving Egypt.

If he’s right, we have less than 12 hours to prepare.

Sadat detests the Russians.

It’s not the first time he’s kicked them out.

The Egyptians need the Russians to operate the SAM missiles.

Unless they’ve taught them which buttons to press, of course.

DAYAN: Anything’s possible.

Are the Russians leaving Syria too?

I haven’t heard anything.

Show them the photos, Benny.

We overflew the canal last night.

ELAZAR: We’ve never seen a build-up like it.

Tanks, artillery,

bridging equipment, thousands of men.

DAYAN: I admit, the numbers, it’s enough to give you a stroke.

Is the eavesdropping system switched on?

Yes.

What’ve you heard?

Nothing.

DAYAN: We’ve got their command lines tapped.

If Sadat had given a signal for war, we would have heard it.

When he breaks wind, I hear it first.

(LAUGHS)

So you’ve seen the report from London?

Marwan said the same in May.

Without longrange bombers, any Egyptian attack will fail.

ELAZAR: Shazly’s plan is to cross the canal, dig in under missile umbrella, then bleed us to death.

They won’t need longrange bombers for that.

They also have a plan to destroy our economy by luring us to the front again and again.

The Egyptians and Syrians have nearly a million men on our borders. We must act.

ZEIRA: Come on. They mobilized in similar numbers twenty-two times this year alone.

ELAZAR: The regulars can hold the line for 48 hours, but the reserves will need three days to mobilize.

If the warning is accurate, then we should have mobilized yesterday.

If, if!

ELAZAR: We’ve been surprised.

We must attack now.

PELED: My boys are fueled up and sitting in their cockpits.

Just give me the word and I’ll smash them.

I would not support the first strike.

They have not even given the signal for war.

What about a partial mobilization?

Sixty thousand troops.

Any more will be seen as an act of aggression.

I need 200,000.

Sixty thousand or 200,000, what difference does it make?

You want to mobilize on Yom Kippur, the holiest day?

The political fallout will bring down the government.

Which is why it is the perfect day to attack.

I suggest we mobilize 120,000 troops.

Better to be safe than sorry, huh?

A hundred and twenty thousand men is not enough.

It is.

It’s not.

It is.

ELAZAR: It is not.

We’ll be outnumbered seven to one.

The decision has been made.

One hundred and twenty thousand.

Thank you, gentlemen.

MAN: Did you trust the Egyptian spy, Marwan?

I was worried that he might be a double agent, of course, but I… I trusted the judgement of Zamir.

So why didn’t you mobilize your reserves on the 5th?

On the day that he warned you of war?

Dayan wasn’t losing any sleep.

And he knew the situation in the north and the south.

Should I have gone against him?

MAN: You are the Prime Minister.

And an extra 24 hours to prepare for war, that might’ve saved many lives.

Yes, well, that’s the question, isn’t it?

GOLDA: Morning, dear.

(BIRDS’ WINGS FLUTTERING)

(LIGHTER CLICKS)

(BIRDS SCREECHING)

(DOOR CLOSES)

GOLDA: I was beginning to panic.

I made soup.

No, I’ll have it later.

It’s both or neither.

Okay.

Everywhere is shut. I got this from the airport.

(GOLDA GROANS SOFTLY)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

Ready?

Hmm.

In my day, they stood for the Prime Minister.

Where’s your son?

Heading to the canal.

He’s a tank driver with Bren’s division.

MAN 1: Say it’s bullshit.

MAN 2: You can’t.

You can’t keep on moving money from one account to another.

There’s not the money to fund the war.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER CONTINUES)

(BANGS TABLE)

(CHATTER STOPS)

Dado?

At 10:00 a.m., we began mobilizing 120,000 troops, including two armored brigades.

A few minutes ago, the Syrians began removing the camouflage netting from their guns.

(SCATTERED GASP AND CHATTER)

On the canal, the Egyptians are cutting channels through their sand barrier in preparation for crossing.

(ALL EXCLAIM)

When will the attacks start?

ELAZAR: Towards sundown.

This is our best information.

It seems likely that we’ve been surprised.

MAN: So how the hell did this happen, Zeira, huh?

We gave you $100 million for your damn eavesdropping system.

And you promised us seventy-two hours’ notice in case of an attack.

This is not a court of inquiry.

And watch your language, please.

(SIREN BLARING)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

Four hours early.

The Egyptians are shelling across the canal.

Syrian jets are bombing the Golan.

The Egyptians have fired a Kelt cruise missile at Tel Aviv.

I’m not going to get under the table, but don’t let me stop you.

You all have a plan. Go back to your ministries and put it into effect with calm precision.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Moshe, we place our trust in you.

The Syrians are the immediate threat.

I’ll go up to the north and command.

Go on television first. Reassure the people.

(LIGHTER CLICKS)

Then teach our enemies a lesson they’ll never forget.

DAYAN: We will crush their bones.

We will tear them limb from limb.

(SIREN CONTINUES BLARING)

Get Kissinger on the phone.

(MAN SPEAKING ON TV, IN HEBREW)

(KNOCKING AT DOOR)

(IN ENGLISH) Secretary Kissinger on line one.

(DOOR CLOSES)

(TV VOLUME REDUCING)

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

WOMAN: One moment, please. He’s picking up.

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

(SIGHS)

Hello?

Mr. Secretary.

Madam Prime Minister.

I’m sorry to wake you, Henry.

Not at all.

We’ve got trouble with the neighbors again.

I’m sorry to hear that.

Uh, could I ask who fired the first shot?

A first strike would have made things much easier for us, but I gave the President my word.

I appreciate that.

We’ve been surprised, Henry.

And this time, it won’t be over in a week.

I’ll start to apply diplomatic pressure.

Please do. But be clear on one point.

We will keep fighting until every Egyptian soldier has been driven back across the canal.

They will gain nothing by force.

If they want their land back, they must recognize the sovereign state of Israel.

I understand.

Thank you, Henry.

Good luck, Golda.

They’ll help us, won’t they?

If they get caught sending us one bullet, the Saudis will cut off their oil.

He wants us to win.

But with a bloody nose.

That way, the Egyptians will see him as a friend and they’ll abandon the Soviets because containing the Russians, that’s all he cares about.

DAYAN: (ON TV) The enemy’s tanks have penetrated our lines and occupied several outposts.

(SIGHS)

We have suffered losses in lives and territory.

That much is true.

What the hell is wrong with him?

It is more or less as we expected of the first day of battle.

I cannot, and will not, give exact numbers.

Get me Medzini.

All I can say…

I need a speech.

…is that this battle will end in victory.

God help us all.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

ZEIRA: We overflew the canal an hour ago.

The Egyptians have ten operational bridges.

Two divisions have crossed and are digging in on the east bank.

And the Golan?

Syrian tanks are advancing in their thousands.

We are trying our best, but it’s very, very serious.

Moshe.

How was that?

Fine. Fine.

Are you all right?

Yes. Of course.

Go to the Golan. See what’s happening, report back.

Go.

Yes.

(BELL RINGING)

MAN 1: 30 seconds, Madam Prime Minister.

(TV INTRO PLAYING)

(MAN SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

Mmmmmm.

MAN 1: (IN ENGLISH) Are you ready, Prime Minister?

MAN 2: Four, three, two…

Today… (CLEARS THROAT) …around 2:00 p.m., the Egyptian and Syrian armies launched an offensive against Israel.

The enemy suffered serious losses.

The rulers of Egypt and Syria have long planned a ceasefire violation.

In their cowardice, the attackers spread the lie that Israel opened fire first.

Our enemies hoped to surprise the citizens of Israel on Yom Kippur.

But we were not surprised.

For several days, the Israeli intelligence services have known that the Egyptian and Syrian armies were preparing for a combined attack.

We wholeheartedly trust in the spirit and power of the IDF to defeat the enemy.

(SOLDIER SPEAKING OVER RADIO, IN HEBREW)

(DISTANT EXPLOSIONS)

(EXPLOSIONS)

(LIEUTENANT SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

(EXPLOSIONS CONTINUE)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

(SOLDIER 3 SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

(SOLDIER 4 SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

(SOLDIER 5 SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

(RETCHING)

(LIGHTS CLICK)

(EXHALES)

DAYAN: (IN ENGLISH) We lost. We lost the north.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

It’s Armageddon. We lost the north.

I alerted Dimona. The nuclear weapon.

Yes, that’s what I did.

What?

You did what? Are you serious?

Get Dado up here now.

Come, Moshe.

DAYAN: This is another Masada, Golda.

GOLDA: Come with me. Come on. Come.

DAYAN: I saw it with my own eyes. I swear.

(DOOR CLOSES)

We lost around 80, 100 tanks.

The whole division is gone. Just gone.

In all sincerity and friendship, I offer you my resignation, Golda.

(DAYAN BREATHING HEAVILY)

I have failed.

I need you on your feet.

Do you understand?

No more of this.

Go home. Wash your face.

And snap out of it.

Go!

(DOOR OPENS)

(DOOR CLOSES)

(EXHALES)

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING)

(SIGHS) What’s going on?

Have you blown the bridges over the Jordan?

How will the reserves get up to the Golan without the bridges?

GOLDA: He wants to arm the nuclear weapon.

Has he gone mad?

Dayan… Dayan is finished.

Take no orders from him.

You are in full command now.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

We had a terrible night.

The Syrians have broken through our lines with many tanks, but for some reason, they have not pressed forward.

Maybe they’re short of fuel or they don’t have orders, I don’t know.

It’s given us a breathing space.

I’ve instructed the air force to bring planes from the south.

They have orders to attack anything that moves.

The situation is difficult.

But the 679th are fighting hard.

They’re tough boys. They won’t let their country down.

Now, on the Egyptian front… we have failed to stop the enemy crossing the canal.

Our tanks arrived too late and in too few numbers.

The Egyptians have brought up mobile SAM missile launchers and the air force has been hit very hard.

How many Phantoms have we lost?

ELAZAR: Around 30.

(SCATTERED GASP)

Fifty aircrew dead or missing.

GOLDA: And men?

Hundred and seventy for sure, maybe more.

Most pressingly, the strongpoints are surrounded.

Approximately 600 soldiers, most of them reservists, are trapped.

(RADIO CHATTER ECHOING)

(GUNFIRE ECHOING)

MAN: Why weren’t they evacuated?

General Gonen told them to fight to the end.

The Egyptians are dug in across this line.

Gonen is preparing a counterattack.

Sharon is head to the south.

The plan is to relieve the strongpoints and drive the Egyptians back across the canal.

You’ll rescue these boys.

Golda.

You’re back.

Anymore from your friend?

He’s in Cairo.

The Egyptians have crossed the canal?

Dado is planning a counterattack.

That is what they’re expecting.

We’ll be walking into a trap.

But there are 400 kids trapped in the fortresses.

The Egyptians will be waiting.

You must stop this attack, Golda.

I do not make the military decisions.

ZAMIR: But, Golda, it will be suicidal!

I’m a politician, not a soldier.

Golda, Golda. Please, I can’t…

(SIGHS)

GOLDA: What the hell do you want from me?

(BREATH TREMBLING)

(GOLDA PANTING)

Golda!

Golda, are you all right?

Breathe, Golda. Please, breathe.

Do you want to drink something?

The enemy has tasted blood.

There is no reason for them to stop now.

This is 1948 again.

We are fighting for our lives.

If the Americans throw us to the dogs, and the Arabs reach Tel Aviv,

I will not be taken alive.

And you are to make sure of that.

The Americans, they won’t let us down.

(HELICOPTER FLIES PAST)

Why not?

Because you won’t let it happen.

Sorry, but you’re not dead yet.

(CHUCKLES) Hmm. Alive and kicking.

(DOOR SLAMS)

(WINGS FLUTTERING)

(BIRD SQUAWKING)

(INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER)

(INDISTINCT CONVERSATION)

GOLDA: What is this we’re hearing?

Our troops on the canal. They’re surrounded.

These are the fortifications where the boys are trapped.

Bren and his tank division will push forward across this plain, smash through the Egyptian line and relieve the strongpoints.

The counterattack is starting.

(POWERING UP)

(SOLDIER SPEAKING OVER RADIO, IN HEBREW)

(ROCKET WHISTLING OVER RADIO)

(EXPLOSIONS OVER RADIO)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 3 AND SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(ROCKET WHISTLING)

(SOLDIER 4 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 2 AND SOLDIER 5 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 5 AND SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 3 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 5 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 3 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 3 SPEAKING)

(ROCKET WHISTLING, EXPLOSIONS CONTINUE OVER RADIO)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 6 SPEAKING)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 5 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 7 SPEAKING)

(EXPLOSIONS CONTINUE)

(SOLDIERS SCREAMING)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 8 SPEAKING)

(EXPLOSION)

(LOUD EXPLOSION OVER RADIO)

(BREATH TREMBLING)

(RADIO STATIC)

(GUNFIRE OVER RADIO)

(SOLDIERS SCREAMING OVER RADIO)

(ARAB SOLDIER SPEAKING IN ARABIC)

(BREATH TREMBLING)

(THUNDER RUMBLING)

(LIGHTER CLICKS)

(THUNDER RUMBLING)

(CLOCK TICKING)

(EXPLOSIONS ECHOING)

(VOICES ECHOING)

(MAN’S SCREAM ECHOING)

(ECHOING VOICES CONTINUE)

(BIRD SQUAWKING ECHOING)

(PANICKED SHOUTING ECHOING)

(MEN SCREAMING ECHOING)

(GASPS)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

(IN ENGLISH) It’s your anxiety talking, Golda.

Come on, I’ll make us some more coffee, all right?

How are you?

Fine.

You coming in?

I need you.

(DAYAN GRUNTS SOFTLY)

I’ll be there.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

(DOOR CLOSES)

Come, Moshe. Sit.

I lost another 13 Phantoms and nine Skyhawks.

(EXPLOSION ECHOING)

Eleven pilots dead.

At this rate, three, maybe four more days and I’m out of the fight.

(EXPLOSION ECHOING)

GOLDA: What happened to Sharon and his flanking attack?

He drove around the desert all afternoon with 30 photographers in tow.

He didn’t fire a shot.

That man.

And Bren?

ELAZAR: His division is virtually destroyed.

We still have, er, 400 boys trapped in the fortresses along the canal.

We’re working on a new rescue plan.

The Egyptians know that.

No one left behind.

It’s a trap.

No one left behind, Zvika!

What is the point of risking more lives?

Let’s be honest with ourselves.

If we sent a rescue mission, its purpose would be to save our reputation as much as save those boys.

So, what are our options?

Sharon wants to cross the canal and cut them off from the rear.

Would that work?

The Egyptians have two divisions on the west bank lying in wait.

He’d be wiped out.

What’s the position on the Golan?

(SIGHS) We pushed them back to the ceasefire line.

The Syrians are close to collapse.

Can you push them back further, towards Damascus?

If we could panic Assad, he will put pressure on Sadat to attack again.

Exposing his tanks in open country.

Dado, what do you think?

The Egyptians are well dug in.

They’ll not leave their positions.

Sadat got his victory.

Yes.

But… does he know it?

I want you to bomb the outskirts of Damascus, Benny.

Get Assad really mad.

I’ll need more planes.

Get Kissinger on the phone, please.

Cheer up, Moshe.

Things could be worse.

DAYAN: How?

You could have my feet.

(LAUGHS)

KISSINGER: (OVER PHONE) I understand, but the President is in a difficult position.

The winter is coming. If the Saudis…

GOLDA: The Russians have started a massive airlift.

We’re seeing planes streaming into Cairo and Damascus.

We have lost 500 tanks and one third of the air force.

Five hundred?

Yes. And 30 Phantoms.

I could have launched a pre-emptive strike but I didn’t, to save your blushes.

That decision cost us dearly.

Watergate is sweeping through Washington like a firestorm, Golda. Nixon is a lame duck.

But you’re not.

(KISSINGER SIGHS)

Golda…

Would it help if I came to Washington?

You want to fly here? During a war?

Yes.

Golda, that would cause problems.

The Jewish community here would be alarmed.

Hmm! No doubt.

If the Arabs defeat us with Soviet weapons, what message does that send to the Free World, Henry?

(SIGHS) I have some Phantoms for you.

(EXHALES)

Thank you.

Goodnight, Golda.

(KETTLE WHISTLING)

Israel simply can’t wait… for, uh, the dust to settle.

And the Arabs can’t wait for the dust to settle in the MidEast.

Uh, both sides are at fault.

Both sides need to start negotiating.

That is our position.

We’re not pro-Israel and we’re not pro-Arab.

And we’re not any more pro-Arab because they have oil and Israel hasn’t.

We are pro-peace.

And it’s the interest of the whole area for us to get those negotiations off dead center and that is why we will use our influence…

(DOORBELL RINGS)

…with Israel, and we will use our influence, what influence we have, with the various Arab states…

It will be 5:30. 5:30.

Hmm.

Yes.

General Sharon, it’s an honor.

(SHARON GRUMBLES)

These pictures were taken three hours ago by one of my scouts in the canal.

We’ve found a gap in the Egyptian line, here.

Just north of the Great Bitter Lake.

The Second Egyptian Army is here, to the north.

The Third Army, here to the south.

In the middle, the canal is unprotected.

I have motorized rafts big enough to carry tanks.

I could have 50 tanks on the west bank before dawn.

I push north, spreading panic.

Who would like coffee? Hmm.

Thank you.

GOLDA: Um, forgive my ignorance.

What do these symbols mean?

The 4th and the 21st Egyptian Divisions.

They’re on the west bank of the canal waiting to cross.

Yes. I remember.

So, Arik.

You want to cross the canal with 50 tanks and 2,000 men and take on two divisions.

I believe that’s 600 tanks and 30,000 men.

Is that your plan?

We are losing men.

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

Every day, we are losing men and machines without improving our position.

Dado, would a crossing succeed?

I doubt it.

(LIGHTER CLICKS)

And it might lead to catastrophe.

For God’s sake.

Moshe, say something.

DAYAN: Nobody doubts your bravery, Arik, but Dado is right.

If you crossed, you’d be destroyed.

There would be no one left to stop the Arabs.

No, no! We must attack now.

ZAMIR: I have news.

The Egyptians will renew their offensive in two days’ time.

The 4th and the 21st Division will cross the canal and join the attack.

If they crossed, Cairo will be undefended.

No one could be that stupid.

The Egyptians are about to make a terrible mistake.

I suggest we let them make it.

It would seem a ridiculous decision.

No. I don’t think so.

Sadat is the first Arab leader to defeat the Jews in battle.

So he’s feeling euphoric.

Invincible.

Do you think a few sand dunes along the Suez Canal will seem enough when the gates of Jerusalem are beckoning?

Knowing when you’ve lost is easy.

It’s knowing when you’ve won that’s hard. Hmm!

We’ll wait for them to cross.

Thank you, gentlemen.

ELAZAR: Mmmhmm.

Arik.

You’ll get your chance.

And for that, they will make you Prime Minister.

Just remember, all political careers end in failure.

Hmm!

(CAR ENGINE STARTS)

(SHARON SIGHS)

(WATER SPLASHING)

I won’t be here for long.

You take care of yourself.

This is not me talking to you as your boss.

You’re family to me. You understand me?

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

(MAN SPEAKING ON TV, IN HEBREW)

(IN ENGLISH) Shir’s son is missing.

(GOLDA SIGHS)

(IN ENGLISH) I’ll speak to her.

No, no. Not now.

The meeting is starting.

(SIGHS)

Go. I’ll talk to her.

Thank you.

(MAN CONTINUES IN HEBREW ON TV)

(SOBBING)

(IN ENGLISH) We overflew the canal at dawn.

As you can see, the Egyptian tanks are on the bridges.

The Egyptians are crossing. Cairo is undefended.

We are hearing it all on the listening system.

They will attack tomorrow.

Haim, are you ready?

We will be.

GOLDA: When they attack, smash them. Good luck.

HAIM: Thank you.

Marwan was right. Well done, Zvika.

(AIRPLANES APPROACHING)

WOMAN: The American convoy is here.

(AIRPLANES RUMBLING)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER ON RADIO)

ELAZAR: The Egyptians are falling right into our trap.

They’re crossing the plain in front of the canal.

Our tanks are dug in on this little ridge, on the top of this little ridge.

From below, you can only see the turret and the gun.

Very hard to hit. Very hard.

I’ve reinforced Bren’s division with tanks from the Jordan border.

They’re old and slow but their guns are very accurate.

(COMMANDER SPEAKING OVER RADIO, IN HEBREW)

(SOLDIER 1 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 3 SPEAKING)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING)

(EXPLOSIONS)

(EXPLOSIONS CONTINUE)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 4 SPEAKING)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING)

(VOICE ECHOING)

(SOLDIER 5 SPEAKING)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING)

(EXPLOSIONS CONTINUE)

(ECHOING STOPS)

(SCATTERED CLAPPING)

(IN ENGLISH) Well, they’ve had enough.

GOLDA: Hmm.

Well done, everybody. (CLAPS) We’ve destroyed them.

DAYAN: They’ll not attack again, but crossing the canal will not be easy.

The crossing is only possible here, in the area called the Chinese Farm, and it’s only two kilometers wide.

When the Arabs realize what’s going on, the jaws will snap shut like a crocodile and we’ll be the ones cut off.

We’re in the best position we’ve been in since the fighting began.

I think we should think seriously about accepting a ceasefire.

We are facing an unholy alliance between the Soviets and the Arabs that must be defeated.

If our enemies stop fearing us, they will attack again and again and again.

This war cannot end with Sadat on the east bank.

Can Sharon get his tanks across the canal?

Moshe, what does your gut tell you?

DAYAN: To cross.

Oh!

Golda.

I’m all right. (COUGHING)

WOMAN: Prime Minister, the crossing has started.

(COMMANDER SPEAKING OVER RADIO, IN HEBREW)

(SOLDIER 1 SPEAKING)

(IN ENGLISH) Dado, what is happening?

Sharon is now crossing the canal with rubber boats.

Uh, he has to fight to keep the, uh, bridgehead open.

Chinese Farm.

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 1 SPEAKING)

We’re in Africa, Golda.

We’re in Egypt.

MAN: Bravo, guys. Well done.

(BEEPING)

(GUNFIRE OVER RADIO)

They’re engaging.

(SOLDIER 1 SPEAKING)

(IN ENGLISH) They’re being engaged.

Large arms.

They’re hitting us.

They’re hitting us with large arms.

I’m getting reports of a counterattack on our forces.

There is fire directly at Chinese Farm.

Casualties.

A lot of casualties.

(SOLDIER 1 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

MAN: (IN ENGLISH) 184, what is going on?

ELAZAR: (OVER RADIO) Sorry, we’re ambushed.

It doesn’t sound good.

(GUNFIRE CONTINUES OVER RADIO)

(SOLDIER 1 SPEAKING)

(RADIO STATIC)

(GOLDA EXHALES)

(SOLDIER 3 SPEAKING)

(BREATH TREMBLING)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 3 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 1 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 3 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 1 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 1 SPEAKING)

(SOLDIER 2 SPEAKING)

(EXPLOSIONS OVER RADIO)

(THUNDER RUMBLING)

What’s the news?

(SIGHS) There’s heavy fighting around Chinese Farm.

But the bridgehead is secure.

Sharon has 30 tanks on the west bank.

We’re building a pontoon bridge.

Bren’s division should cross soon.

Well done. And the casualties?

Three hundred dead.

And more to come.

(THUNDER RUMBLING)

(RAIN PATTERING)

(CLOCK TICKING)

(GASPS)

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

Hello?

(MAN SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

(IN ENGLISH) Hello?

(STATIC CRACKLING)

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

(STATIC CONTINUES CRACKLING)

(MAN CONTINUES SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

(MAN CONTINUES IN HEBREW)

(IN ENGLISH) Hello? Who’s there?

Who’s there?

(TELEPHONE RINGING ECHOING)

(MAN SPEAKING IN HEBREW ECHOING)

(IN ENGLISH) Hello? Who is this?

(MAN SHOUTING IN HEBREW ECHOING)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

(IN ENGLISH) Hello?

(TELEPHONE RINGING ECHOING)

(GUNFIRE ECHOING)

(SCREAMING ECHOING)

(MAN SHOUTING IN HEBREW ECHOING)

(IN ENGLISH) Stop it! Stop it!

(SHOUTING CONTINUES ECHOING)

(TELEPHONE RINGING CONTINUES ECHOING)

Stop! Stop!

(GUNFIRE ECHOING)

(MAN SHOUTING IN HEBREW ECHOING)

(SCREAMING)

(SOBBING)

(NOISES STOP)

MAN: Do you know how many people died because of that crossing?

On the 14th?

Seven hundred dead or missing.

(TYPEWRITER CLACKING)

Approximately 2,000 wounded.

And some 300 prisoners.

I counted them all, Mr. Chairman.

Every one of them.

Trust me.

(SIGHS)

Dado, where are we?

Bren wants to cut Suez from the Cairo road somewhere near here. Kilometer 101.

You mean the entire Third Army would be cut off?

Yes.

There’s no water on the east bank.

They wouldn’t last long.

GOLDA: We’d have Sadat by the throat.

He’ll have to negotiate.

How many men in the Third Army?

About 30,000.

You’d have me create an army of widows and orphans.

Are you prepared to do that?

(KNOCKING AT DOOR)

The world must believe that I am.

Prime Minister?

GOLDA: Hmm.

REPORTER: Henry Kissinger’s presidential jet landed at Lod International Airport

in Tel Aviv late this afternoon.

Kissinger was greeted at the airport by a small delegation of officials before getting into a waiting car and was driven to meet with Israeli Prime Minister,

Golda Meir.

The meeting took place at Meir’s house in Tel Aviv.

And they are sure to discuss a ceasefire agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Welcome to Israel, Mr. Secretary.

Thank you, Madam Prime Minister.

So this is General Elazar, our Chief of Staff.

General Elazar.

General Zeira, Head of Military Intelligence.

Pleased to meet you.

Zvi Zamir, Head of Mossad.

And, of course, Moshe Dayan.

Hello, Moshe.

Minister of Defense.

Oh.

Thank you for coming, Henry.

Of course.

Are you hungry?

No, thank you.

My housekeeper, Leah, made some borscht.

No, no. Please, uh…

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

…the Russians gave me two huge dinners last night, one after the other.

And to be honest I’m feeling a bit, uh, uncomfortable.

Ah, those Russians. It’s all about strategy.

Come, sit.

You know, they jammed the communication equipment on my plane.

Hmm, of course. Those Russians.

They brought nothing but misery to the world.

Normally, I would agree with you.

Of course, there is Tolstoy.

Hmm! And Dostoyevsky.

Misery on every page.

(BOTH CHUCKLE)

No, please. Thank you.

(SOFTLY) You will have to eat it, Henry.

She’s a survivor.

Ah. Hmm.

Enjoy.

Hmm.

(SLURPS)

Mmm, it’s very good. Thank you.

(KISSINGER COUGHING)

Thank you, Leah.

Madam Prime Minister, in terms of our work together, I think it’s important that you remember that I am first an American, second, I am Secretary of State, and third, I am a Jew.

You forget that in Israel, we read from right to left.

(GOLDA CHUCKLES)

Of course.

(COUGHING)

Are you okay?

(COUGHS) Sorry.

You look tired.

It’s been a tough time for you.

We came this close to defeat, Henry.

KISSINGER: Hmm.

(SIGHS)

President Nixon sends his regards.

When he drinks, he talks about you.

My name must be on his lips all the time.

(BOTH LAUGHING)

Golda, OPEC has declared the United States a principal hostile nation.

The Saudis have cut off our oil and crude has jumped from four dollars a barrel to 12, so…

You can see that the American people will pay a high price for supporting Israel.

Which is why we need the ceasefire agreement.

(CLICKS TONGUE) Well, first things first.

Here is a list of every prisoner of war.

We have taken some 9,000 men.

Not that Assad or Sadat care less about their men.

I want a list of every prisoner of war, a date for their return and the return of the bodies.

Brezhnev assures me he will talk to Sadat.

I need a guarantee, Henry. And one from Assad.

He’s the worst. Fingernails torn out.

Our boys come home in pieces.

This country is traumatized.

My generals are begging me to occupy Cairo.

Sharon is like a dog on the leash.

If you do that, you will be on your own.

Israel’s long-term interests will not be served by a fracturing of our relationship, Golda.

Sadat has already agreed to the terms of the ceasefire.

Of course, he has! He’s on the brink of defeat!

It will give him a chance to regroup.

You are the only person in the world who could possibly understand what I’m going through.

Yes, I know how you feel, but we need a ceasefire.

I thought we were friends, Henry.

We will always protect Israel.

Like you did in ’48?

We had to get our weapons from Stalin. Stalin!

Our survival is not in your gift.

If we have to, we will fight alone.

I’m, uh, stopping in London for a few hours on the way home.

I should arrive in Washington around 9:00 a.m. in the morning tomorrow, your time.

At which time I will have to announce the ceasefire.

That will give you 18 hours to… secure your supply line.

But I warn you, Golda.

Any attempt to encircle the Third Army will bring the Soviets into the conflict, do you understand?

I understand.

On that basis, does Israel agree to the ceasefire?

I have 18 hours.

Then, yes.

Thank you for the borscht.

Good luck, Golda.

(DOOR CLOSES)

(HONKING)

(MACHINE POWERING UP)

Golda, they want to see your face.

(GOLDA SIGHS)

(WEAKLY) Well, they have to do it without my face.

No. This is not possible. Come on.

No.

(SIGHS)

Golda, I’m sorry, but I have to get you out of this bed.

(GOLDA GROANS SOFTLY)

One, two, three.

I can’t, I… No.

No. It hurts.

I know it hurts.

It hurts.

I know. I’ll help you.

I promised I would put you in this helicopter. Come on.

(GOLDA GROANING)

All right. You give them hope. They need to see your face.

(REPORTER SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

(HELICOPTER WHIRRING)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

(MAN 1 AND MAN 2 SPEAKING)

(MAN 2 AND MAN 1 SPEAKING)

(REPORTER SPEAKING)

(MAN 1 AND MAN 2 SPEAKING)

(COMMANDER SPEAKING)

(IN ENGLISH) We are, by our logic, and it seems to me that logic, if one can say that logic makes sense, dictates that we stand like this and they stand here and we stand there and they stand there and we stand here and everything is confused.

Oh, thank you.

Fine. No, so let’s say then that there is still no peace.

But until then…

(SOLDIERS LAUGHING)

This is luxury.

What a treat. This is nepotism!

(SOLDIERS LAUGHING)

Cheers to you all.

SOLDIERS: L’chaim!

(REPORTER SPEAKING)

(CHEERING)

ELAZAR: (IN ENGLISH) I’ve just got the news that Bren has cut the Suez to Cairo road.

The Egyptian Third Army is completely surrounded.

(KNOCKING AT DOOR)

Secretary Kissinger is on the line.

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

You’ve got Sadat by the throat, Golda.

Mr. Secretary?

You are to open a humanitarian corridor to the Third Army, Golda.

We cannot allow 30,000 men to die of thirst.

We’ll send them water when we’ve got our prisoners back.

I will try to arrange…

And Sadat agrees to direct talks with Israel.

Not the “Zionist Entity.”

Israel.

That would be tantamount to recognition.

Yes.

He will never agree to that.

The Arab world would turn against him.

If he doesn’t, I will order my planes to attack.

All those men will die.

All of them.

Destruction of the Third Army would force Sadat from power.

He’d be hanged in Tahrir Square.

Well, that thought should focus his mind.

And he would be replaced by a Soviet hardliner.

You know this as well as I do.

You mean a madman bent on the destruction of Israel?

The Russians are on high alert.

They are preparing 11 airborne divisions.

Do you understand?

You think I don’t know that?

Let me tell you about the Russians, Henry.

When I was a child in Ukraine, at Christmas time, my father would board up the windows of our house…

Golda.

…to protect us from Cossacks who would get drunk and attack Jews.

They would beat Jews to death in the street for fun.

My father would hide us in the cellar.

And we’d stay silent, hoping the killers would pass us by.

My father’s face, Henry.

I will never forget that look.

All he wanted was to protect his children.

I am not that little girl hiding in the cellar!

So, now you’re going to fight with the Russians too, huh?

You must choose, Henry.

Side with me or I will create an army of orphans and widows.

This is not the way to…

I will slaughter them all.

Whose side are you on?

You must choose.

Golda.

Please think about it. Goodbye, Mr. Secretary.

(EXHALES SHAKILY)

(COUGHING)

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING)

(CONTINUES COUGHING)

(CONTINUES COUGHING)

(GOLDA SIGHS)

(BREATHES DEEPLY)

(CLOCK TICKING)

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

GOLDA: Mr. Secretary?

KISSINGER: Sadat wants you to send your Chief of Staff to a junction on the SuezCairo road.

Kilometer 101. Do you know it?

We took it a few days ago. When?

At dawn.

And… the Russians?

They’re watching.

Good luck, Golda.

Thank you, Henry.

(REPORTER SPEAKING IN HEBREW)

(CLOCK TICKING)

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

GOLDA: (IN ENGLISH) Yes?

DADO: (OVER PHONE) Can you hear me?

GOLDA: Yes, Dado. Speak up.

I have a message from Sadat.

He’s offering direct talks.

And an exchange of POWs.

He has given the Red Cross a list of names.

He referred to you as the Prime Minister of Israel, Golda.

He used that word, “Israel”?

Yes. Israel.

He’s recognizing Israel.

Tell General Gamasy that we welcome President Sadat’s kind words.

(GOLDA SIGHS IN RELIEF)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

Well done, Golda.

Thank you.

(INDISTINCT CONVERSATION)

Excuse me.

(INDISTINCT CONVERSATION CONTINUES)

I know that look.

It wasn’t switched on. The bugging system.

That’s why military intelligence didn’t hear the signal for war.

This cannot be true.

Zeira switched it on for a few hours on Thursday the 4th, but that was a technical test.

None of the lines were monitored.

It was then switched off again until Saturday the 6th.

The morning war broke out.

No.

Zeira intercepted a cable from the Iraqis to the Russians telling them that war was about to begin.

But he kept it to himself.

Why?

Who likes to be wrong?

The listening system must be kept secret.

No one must know about this.

You will take the blame?

I will defend your memory.

I promise you that.

(KNOCKING AT DOOR)

(GOLDA GASPS)

(GOLDA GROANS SOFTLY)

Golda, look at that.

(TYPEWRITERS CLACKING)

(TYPEWRITER BELL DINGS)

(SHIR SOBBING)

(TYPEWRITERS STOP CLACKING)

(EXHALES)

(CRYING)

(CONTINUES CRYING)

(SHIR YELLS)

(PAPER CRUMPLING)

(SHIR CONTINUES CRYING)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

(LIGHTER CLICKS)

(EXHALES SHAKILY)

(SOLDIER SHOUTING INDISTINCTLY)

Come on, Golda. You can’t stay here all night.

It’s cold. Come home.

(CAR ENGINE STARTS)

Thank you, Madam Prime Minister.

That will be all.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

My gut told me that war was coming.

But I ignored it.

I should’ve mobilized that night.

All those boys who died, I will carry the pain of that to my grave.

(TYPEWRITER CLACKING)

Please, don’t write that down.

(DOOR OPENS)

(DOOR CLOSES)

WOMAN: (ON TV) Good evening, everyone.

This is Laura Stein in Washington.

Exactly one year ago today marks the first time former Prime Minister, Golda Meir, met Egyptian President Anwar Sadat face to face.

Let’s look back at this monumental moment that shaped the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt that will be signed later today.

GOLDA: When asked many years ago…

(MONITOR BEEPING)

…when do I think peace will come,

I said, “The date, I do not know. But I know under what conditions it will come. There will be a great leader. He will wake up one morning and feel sorry for his own people, for his own sons that have fallen in battle. That day will be the beginning of peace between us and them.”

Mr. President, you call for peace, and I believe in your sincere desire for peace as I hope that you believe in the sincere desire on our part for peace.

Then let us go on.

Let us at least conclude one thing.

The beginning that you have made with such courage and with such hope for peace, let us decide one thing.

It must go on face to face, between us and between you.

So that even an old lady like I am will live to see the day.

(SADAT LAUGHS)

You always call me an old lady, Mr. President.

(ALL LAUGHING)

(INDISTINCT CONVERSATION)

We will live to see the day whoever signs on the part of Israel, I want to live to see that day.

And, Mr. President, as a grandmother to a grandfather…

(ALL LAUGHING)

(CROWD APPLAUDING)

…may I give you a little present for the new granddaughter?

And thank you for your present that you have given me.

(CROWD APPLAUDING)

(OXYGEN MASK DROPS TO THE FLOOR)

(FOLK SONG PLAYING)

SADAT: Let us have no war after October.

BEGIN: No more war, no more bloodshed.

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