Prime Minister Netanyahu’s father dies at 102

Apr 30, 2012, 12:37 PM

Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) – Ben-Zion Netanyahu, the historian and Zionist activist whose skepticism about peacemaking with the Arabs helped to shape the world outlook of his son, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, died on Monday. He was 102.

The Prime Minister’s office said in a statement that he died at home. It did not give a cause of death but he had been ill recently.

Born Ben-Zion Mileikowsky in Warsaw, Poland, Netanyahu was a devout follower of revisionist Zionist leader Zeev Jabotinsky, who advocated Jewish military strength and opposed partitioning Palestine between Arabs and Jews. Netanyahu served as his personal aide until Jabotinsky’s death in 1940.

He then edited right-wing Jewish publications and earned a Ph.D in history from Dropsie College in Philadelphia, a center of Jewish learning that was later incorporated into the University of Pennsylvania. Later, he was a professor of Jewish history and Hebrew literature at the University of Denver and Cornell University, where he served as chairman of the department of Semitic languages and literature. He was the editor-in-chief of the Hebrew Encyclopedia for more than a decade.

He was best known in academic circles for his research into the medieval inquisition against the Jews of Spain.

His academic career had his family shuttling between the United States and Israel. He met with many Jewish leaders of the period, as well as with U.S. senators, Congressional representatives, poets and leaders, including Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Netanyahu and his wife, Tzila, had three sons: Yonatan, Benjamin and Iddo, all of whom served in the same elite military commando unit, Sayeret Matkal. Yonatan was killed while commanding the daring 1976 rescue of more than 100 Jewish and Israeli hostages on board an Air France jet in Entebbe, Uganda.

Following his son’s death, Netanyahu returned to Israel full-time. His middle son, Benjamin, entered politics and was elected prime minister of Israel in 1996 and again in 2009. Iddo, the youngest of the three, is a radiologist and writer.

Netanyahu is believed to have had great influence over his son’s politics and openly criticized him when his government made concessions toward the Palestinians.

Several analysts have speculated that Benjamin Netanyahu was emotionally unable to sign off on a comprehensive peace deal with Israel’s Arabs neighbors as long as his father was still alive, a notion the prime minister dismissed as “psychobabble.”

In newspaper interviews late in life, Ben-Zion Netanyahu forcefully questioned the feasibility of Mideast peace.

“The tendency to conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetual war,” he told the Maariv daily in 2009. “The Arab citizens’ goal is to destroy us. They don’t deny that they want to destroy us.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
30 days ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
1 month ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
1 month ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
1 month ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
FILE - McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 km., (47 miles) no...
Associated Press

De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country

McDonald’s is closing its doors in Russia, ending an era of optimism and increasing the country’s isolation over its war in Ukraine. The Chicago burger giant confirmed Monday that it is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia. McDonald’s said it will seek a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers in Russia, and will continue […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s father dies at 102