Netanyahu at father´s funeral: You showed Israel the meaning of commitment (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Oz Rosenberg 05/01/12)
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The father of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Benzion Netanyahu,
was laid to rest on Monday evening at Har Hamenuhot in Jerusalem.
"You always showed us what it means to be committed to the nation and
state, father," said the prime minister, "but more than that – what
your is commitment to us."
Netanyahu continued, saying, "You were smart. You saw what was
coming. Years before Hertzl´s predictions came true, you understood
he was right."
" Your foresight caused you, 35 years ago, to concentrate an
intellectual global effort on combating terrorism," Netanyahu
said, "You realized states are behind terrorism, and that it can be
Netanyahu dedicated a larger portion of his eulogy to his brother
Yonatan, who was killed during Operation Entebbe in Uganda.
President Shimon Peres also eulogized Benzion, saying he "was not a
neutral man. He used history as a guide, and was sure that we must
never give in.” Peres also turned the prime minister, telling
him, "you´re father wrote history; you are making it."
At Monday´s Likud faction meeting, ministers and members of Knesset
expressed their condolences to the prime minister and his family.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Atzmaut faction that Benzion was
a "great Zionist, who followed the path of Herzl and Jabotinsky. He
was a sharp, precise and challenging person. The loss is a great one."
Benzion Netanyahu died Monday morning in his Jerusalem home at the
age of 102.
He was born in Warsaw, then part of the Russian Empire, on March 25,
1910 as Benzion Milikovsky. In 1920, his family immigrated to
Mandatory Palestine, where he studied at the David Yellin Teachers’
College and later at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
As an academic, he specialized in the field of Medieval Spanish
Jewry, writing a book about Isaac Abrabanel and essays on the Spanish
Inquisition and the Marranos. He developed a theory according to
which the Marranos converted, not under compulsion, but out of a
desire to integrate into Christian society - but were pushed into
being Marranos by continued persecution due to racism, and not out of
pure religious persecution, as was previously believed. Netanyahu
rejected the myth that the Marranos lived double lives, claiming that
the idea grew out of Inquisition documents. He later left the Israeli
academy and became a professor emeritus at Cornell University.
Later, he became close with the leaders of Revisionist Zionism, Ze’ev
Jabotinsky, Abba Achimeir and others. He spent a significant portion
of his life in the United States, and became Jabotinsky’s personal
secretary, but never got involved in Israeli politics. He gained fame
for his angry prophesies before the Second World War about the fate
of the Jews.
He will most likely be remembered for his great influence on the
worldview of his son, Benjamin. The prime minister frequently
mentions his father in speeches, speaking of what he has learned from
his father, and of the experiences, both exciting and difficult, that
the family has endured over the years. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz
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