PM Netanyahu's Father, Prof. Ben-Zion Netanyahu, Passes Away
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
The father of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Professor Ben-Zion
Netanyahu, passed away early this morning (Monday), 30.4.12.
Ben-Zion Netanyahu, 102, died at home. Last night, his son, Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu managed to visit him one last time.
Ben-Zion Netanyahu was born in Warsaw on 25.3.10, named Ben-Zion
Mileikowsky. In 1920, he and his family immigrated to the Land of Israel.
In 1944, he married Tzila, whom he had met during his studies in the Land of
Israel. Ben-Zion Netanyahu had three sons – the late Col. Yonatan
Netanyahu, who fell during Operation Yonatan at Entebbe; Benjamin, the Prime
Minister of Israel; and Ido, a doctor, author and playwright.
Prof. Netanyahu was among the great historians of the Jewish People. In his
research, he focused on the history of the medieval Spanish Jewish community
and the history of Zionism. Among his books are a biography of Don Isaac
history of the Spanish Marranos
http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100482220 and his major
work, 'The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spainh
, which received global acclaim. He also authored 'The Founding Fathers of
about the lives of the founders of political Zionism – Leon Pinsker, Theodor
Herzl, Max Nordau, Israel Zangwill and Zeev Jabotinsky.
Prof. Netanyahu was the editor-in-chief of the Hebrew Encyclopedia for over
a decade. He served as Professor of Jewish Studies at various US
universities and concluded his academic career as Professor emeritus at
From his days as a student in Jerusalem, he was involved in public Zionist
activities. He was a supporter of Zeev Jabotinsky and edited a newspaper
that also featured Prof. Joseph Klausner and poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg on its
He defended those who were accused of Chaim Arlozorov's murder and, to this
end, persuaded his father, Rabbi Natan Mileikowsky, to enlist the support of
Rabbi Avraham Isaac Hacohen Kook to defend the accused. Rabbi Kook later
delivered a moving eulogy for Rabbi Mileikovsky.
In 1939, Ben-Zion Netanyahu traveled to London and persuaded Jabotinsky to
relocate to the US out of the view that the latter would be the rising power
in the world and that from there it would be possible to mobilize support
for the Jewish state. Jabotinsky died shortly after their arrival in the
US; Netanyahu continued to raise support for the Jewish state throughout the
war and afterward.
In this context, he met with many US Jewish leaders of the period, as well
as with Senators, Congressmen, authors, poets and leaders, including Dean
Acheson and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Upon the establishment of the State, he
returned from the US and moved with his young family to Jerusalem's Talpiot
neighborhood. He dedicated himself to his research, in which he was
assisted by his wife Tzila, a native of Petah Tikva who was his life's
partner for over 50 years.
In 1952, the Netanyahu family moved to its home a 4 Haportzim Street, where
he passed away early this morning.