JERUSALEM (JWN)—Benzion Netanyahu, the father of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, died Monday morning in Jerusalem at the age of 102 and was buried in the capital’s Har Hamenuhot Cemetery in the afternoon.
The prime minister said in a eulogy that his father had shown him what commitment was, both to the state and to family.
Benzion Netanyahu, an historian, was a professor emeritus at Cornell University. He had been a prominent Revisionist Zionist activist in the US, where he served as secretary to Ze’ev Jabotinsky. He was the chief editor of the Encyclopedia Hebraica and was best known for his magnum opus on the golden age of Jewish life in Spain, Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain.
Born in Warsaw in 1910, he married Tzila Segal in 1944 and the couple was together until her death in 2000. They had three sons: Yonatan, a Sayeret Matkal commander who was killed in the 1976 operation to free hijacked hostages in Entebbe, Uganda; Iddo Netanyahu, a radiologist and writer; and Binyamin, the prime minister.
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.”