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Monday, July 04, 2011

How Bibi Netanyahu went into politics

The picture at the top of this post includes - from left to right - Yoni HY"D, Cela (their mother), Bibi and Iddo Netanyahu. Yoni Netanyahu died in the raid on Entebbe 35 years ago today (on the second calendar). According to Mike Evans, Bibi's decision to go into politics was connected to Yoni's death in Entebbe. I cannot tell you whether it is true, but it's a good story.
Perhaps the greatest symbol of Israel’s sacrifice is Yonatan Netanyahu, the commander of Sayeret Matkal who was killed in action during Operation Entebbe in Uganda. Character and dedication come through in a letter he wrote to his parents on December 2, 1973: “We are preparing for war and it’s hard to know what to expect. What I am positive of is that there will be a next round and others after that. But, I would rather opt for living here in continual battle than for becoming part of the wandering Jewish people. Any compromise will simply hasten the end. As I don’t intend to tell my grandchildren about the Jewish State in the twentieth century as a mere brief and transient episode amid thousands of years of wandering, I intend to hold on here with all my might.”

Radical Islamists call America the “Great Satan,” and Israel the “Little Satan.” The reason is obvious; the Jewish people in Israel have, with their own blood, defended America and the Western world against radical Islam since the days of Netanyahu’s death on July 4, 1976.

On July 4, 1980, I read his story in The Jerusalem Post. It deeply touched me, and I made my way to the Netanyahu home to express my sympathies for his sacrifice. His father, Benzion Netanyahu, answered the door and graciously invited me inside for tea. After a few moments, we were joined by Yoni’s brother, Binyamin. The pain in his eyes over the loss of his beloved brother was apparent. I asked him if I could pray for him. He politely acquiesced. I held his hands in mine and prayed, “Jonathan loved David; you loved Jonathan. Out of the ashes of your despair will come strength from God, and you will be the prime minister of Israel twice.”

I wept as I prayed. Binyamin Netanyahu looked at me as if I had little if any sense, and said, “I’m not going into politics; I’m going into business.”

I was so moved by the encounter that I requested a meeting that week with then-prime minister Menachem Begin through his personal secretary, Yehiel Kadishai. When Begin came through the door of his office, I said, “Mr. Prime Minister, yesterday I met the prime minister of Israel.”

He said, “You are mistaken; it wasn’t yesterday that we met.”

I said, “No, it is not you.”

He laughed and asked who his competition was. I responded, “Benjamin Netanyahu. He will be prime minister twice. Will you give him a job?”

At that time, Begin didn’t know Netanyahu, but his senior adviser Reuven Hecht, also in the room, did, and spoke highly of him. Begin agreed. The following night, Hecht offered Netanyahu a position in the Israeli Embassy in Washington under Moshe Arens.

For over 20 years, I kept the story in confidence and did not tell Netanyahu that I had asked for an appointment for him... until he demanded that I tell him the truth. He smiled and said, “Oh, so you’re the one. I don’t know whether to kiss you or kick you in the rear.”

Without a doubt, the prime minister has maintained the courageous and moral clarity of his brother, Yonatan.
Read the whole thing.

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At 4:53 AM, Blogger Runkel said...

wow amazing article, and yoni's jewish fighting spirit is still alive


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