Conflict & Justice

Israel: Ben-Zion Netanyahu, father of Benjamin, dies aged 102


In this handout photo, Benjamin Netanyahu (R), head of the right-wing Likud party, confers with his father Ben-Zion Netanyahu in his father's house Feb. 8, 2009 in Jerusalem.


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Ben-Zion Netanyahu, father of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has died at his Jerusalem home aged 102.

Ben-Zion Netanyahu, a historian and Revisionist leader in the US Zionist Movement, is said to have had the most profound influence on his son's life, the Associated Press reported.

Netanyahu Sr. was born Ben-Zion Milikovsky in Warsaw in 1910 and emigrated with his family to Palestine in 1920.

He and wife Tzila had three sons, Benjamin, Ido and the eldest Yoni, who was killed commanding a daring rescue of more than 100 Jewish and Israeli hostages on board an Air France jet in Entebbe, Uganda in 1976, Agence France-Presse wrote.

All three sons served in the same elite military commando unit, Sayeret Matkal.

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Ben-Zion Netanyahu had moved his family moved to the US to pursue academic work, according to the AP.

However, following his son's death he returned to Israel full-time, where middle son Benjamin entered politics and was elected prime minister in 1996 and in 2009.

Netanyahu, a fervent supporter of the nationalist right, served for 30 years as secretary to Zeev Jabotinsky, including as his personal secretary in the United States during World War II, according to the LA Times.

Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling right-wing Likud party emerged from Jabotinsky's Revisionist Zionist movement, AFP wrote.

Netanyahu Sr. openly criticized his son when his government made concessions toward the Palestinians.

The AP cited analysts as saying that Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to sign off on a comprehensive peace deal as long as his father was still alive.

The prime minister dismissed the claims as "psychobabble," but it is widely agreed that his father had a great influence over his politics.

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