Benzion Netanyahu to be laid to rest in Jerusalem (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST COM STAFF 04/30/12)
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Benzion Netanyahu, father of Prime Minister Binyamin Netnayahu, will
be laid to rest at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, at a plot for bereaved
parents at the Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Jerusalem.
The late Netanyahu died early Monday morning at the age of 102.
A number of Israeli political parties, among them Labor, Meretz and
National Union withdrew their no-confidence votes in the Knesset, out
of respect for the prime minister.
Benzion Netanyahu had been a prominent Revisionist Zionist activist
in the US, had served as secretary to Ze´ev Jabotinsky, and was a
writer and editor. He died at the age of 102.
The senior Netanyahu was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1910, and was a
historian and a professor emeritus at Cornell University. He lived in
Jerusalem when he died.
He married Tzila Segal in 1944, and remained married until her death
Benzion was father to three sons with Segal: Yonatan Netanyahu, a
Sayeret Matkal commander who was the sole Israeli casualty during the
successful operation to free hundreds of hostages in Entebbe, Uganda
who were taken aboard a hijacked airplane, Iddo Netanyahu, a
radiologist and writer, and Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of
He was secretary to Jabotinsky, a Revisionist Zionist leader credited
with fathering the movement in the United States.
At a party to celebrate his father´s 100th birthday, the Jewish
Chronicle quoted the prime minister as having said: "I learned from
you to look into the future."
President Shimon Peres asked participants of an Israel Air Force
technological college in Carmiel to stand for a moment of silence in
memory of the prime minister´s father, Benzion Netanyahu. Peres
called Benzion "a great historian and a great Jew."
Knesser speaker Reuven Rivlin told Israel Radio that "Bibi learned
the pure Zionism from a man who was so close to Jabotinsky," adding
that the prime minister "was educated in a home where Zionism was a
Zionism with no compromise... though Bibi´s realpolitik was much more
"Professor Netanyahu was an important scholar, both profound and
original," Education Minister Gideon Sa´ar said of the late
Netanyahu. "His wide research on the [Spanish] Marranos and the
Inquisition period was revolutionary, and has important historical
Sa´ar said Benzion was Zionist to the core, adding that he was
the "outstanding pupil of Herzl and Jabotinsky."
Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich sent her condolences to the
prime minister, writing that "we all have only one father. And in
your case, we are talking about a unique man, distinguished
historian, an ideologue and an intellectual who left a deep imprint
on Israeli society.
Benzion served as the executive director of the New Zionist
Organization of America during the 40s, making him a prominent
Revisionist Zionist activist in the United States.
He became the chief editor of the Encyclopedia Hebraica during his
stay in Israel.
He was also editor of the group´s biweekly US publication, Zionnews,
where he authored editorials that typically dealt with the latest
Palestine-related political developments and controversies.
In one editorial that Benzion wrote, on the occasion of the
springtime Passover holiday, Benzion contemplated how the suffering
of the Jews could never separate them from their faith or extinguish
their hopes: “Through oceans of blood, our blood, through oceans of
tears, our tears, hated, persecuted, beaten, wandering and homeless,
we assemble at the Pessah Seder to thank God for our liberation from
Egypt, and to express once again the hope of the Haggada: ‘This year
we are still slaves – next year we shall be free men.’”
"Only a nation of our spiritual caliber could come through the ages
of unparalleled sufferings with its spirit unbroken; still alive;
still striving for liberty. Next year we shall be free men,” he
In 1952, the Netanyahu family moved to its home at 4 Haportzim Street
in Jerusalem, where he passed away early Monday morning.
Reuters and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011,
The Jerusalem Post 04/30/12)
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