Nixon, Golda, and His Finest Hour


In the just-released movie about Golda Meir and her role as Israeli Prime Minister prior to, and during, the surprise attack launched by Egypt and Syria on the Jewish state in 1973, President Richard Nixon appears only in one brief scene. But Nixon was critical to Israel’s victory in the Yom Kippur war, by sending 567 planeloads of weapons and ammunition to the IDF when it had run catastrophically low on both.

Many of us have a vague distaste for Nixon, an understandable reaction to his early career as a Red-baiting Congressional candidate against Jerry Voorhis in 1946, and his even more unseemly senatorial campaign in 1950, in which he smeared as sympathetic to Communists his Democratic opponent, Helen Gahagan Douglas. Then there were such things as his tear-jerking attempt at winning sympathy over a funding scandal in his celebrated 1952 “Checkers speech.” Here is the most famous part of that speech:

Well, that’s about it. That’s what we have and that’s what we owe. It isn’t very much but Pat and I have the satisfaction that every dime that we’ve got is honestly ours. I should say this-that Pat doesn’t have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat. And I always tell her that she’d look good in anything.

One other thing I probably should tell you, because if I don’t they’ll probably be saying this about me too, we did get something-a gift-after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was. It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl-Trisha, the 6-year-old-named it Checkers. And you know the kids love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.

And then, of course, there was Nixon’s comment after his loss to Pat Brown in the California gubernatorial race in 1962, when he famously lashed out at the media — the 100 journalists assembled for his press conference at the Beverly Hilton — proclaiming that “you won’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” It wasn’t.

Then, as President, there was Watergate, the televised hearings, the damning testimonies, the 18 1/2 minutes of tape that had been strangely erased from the tape recorder in Nixon’s office, that had been on during a conversation between Nixon and his aide H. R. “Bob” Haldeman, just three days after the Watergate break-in. And finally, on August 8, 1974, after he had concluded that in the face of the continuing investigation that took up so much of his time and attention he could not adequately fulfill his tasks as President, he resigned.

But there is one remarkable episode in Nixon’s presidency, when he helped to save the Jewish state from possible catastrophic defeat — an episode few may know about, and that was not given proper attention in the movie Golda. More on how Nixon helped to save the state of Israel during the Yom Kippur War can be found here: “Golda’s grit and Nixon’s ambivalence – opinion,” by Ron Rubin, Jerusalem Post, September 3, 2023:


September 11, 2023 | 4 Comments »

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  1. The reference to American Jews being “disloyal” is unfair and untrue. Nearly all American Jews were and are loyal Americans. The “dual loyalty” thing was and is “b___sh___t. The handful of American Jews who perhaps not loyal Americans were the Jewiah communists. But their dual loyalty was not to Israel, but to the Soviet Union, or maybe Moist China, Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam, or Even North Korea. But certainly not Israel, Most American Jews were sympathetic to Israel for maybe fifty years after 1948. But unfortunately that’s no longer the case. But it is not true that they were loyal to Israel and not to the United States, Whenever the U.S. President and/or Congress made decisions that were unfavorable to Israel, they did nothing to help Israel beyond what the USG said was acceptable to it. And very often they did not do that much.

    The few American citizens who cared more about Israel than the United States nearly all made aliyah.

  2. The treatment that Nixon got from the Democrats and from the Media should have been a warning to us of what was to come. While he was not a blatantly corrupt politician, like Johnson (or Biden), he was also not an effusively likeable man, which made it easier for the Democrats to ruin him. He could have rightly taken credit for ending the Viet Nam War, but the Democrats would have none of that, so Nixon had to be sent packing in disgrace. Success in the Watergate affair opened the eyes of the Democrats to the possibility of “coup by media”. They worked to refine it, until the perfect cast, both Left and Right, presented itself in 2016.

  3. Thank you for this intriguing article. I did not know that Nixon was the first US President to visit Israel, nor did I know how much he helped Israel, despite Kissinger, in the Yom Kippur War. He did these things despite knowing he would never have support from the Jews of the US, since they voted democrat.

    Nixon was vilified in the press. My parents who had been Communists never liked him. I was a teenager during the Watergate hearings and my friends and I were keen to think about the Constitutional issues raised.

    We have since learned that Nixon was set up by the CIA. Apparently Nixon was not pleased with the CIA, the FBI, or the NSA. He felt the reports he got from them were self-serving. He had in mind to create a new agency that would function better to protect national security.

    The CIA put one of their own in the White House, Howard Hunt. From what I have learned the CIA decided to bring Nixon down not just through the Watergate break in but especially through the subsequent cover-up.

    For the whole story of the CIA’s role see: