Yossi Verter in today's Ha'aretz relates some chilling words from the father of Prime Minster Netanyahu at a celebration for the the elder's 100th birthday. One hopes that the Obama Administration knows what they are dealing with when it comes to the Israeli Prime Minister.
Verter writes that a person who had attended the event remarked:
"Knowing the relationship between Bibi and his father, knowing the influence the father has on the son, and after having heard the prime minister's emotional words about his father's ability to foresee the future - I felt as though I was listening to an operational order from Benzion. As though the die had already been cast, at least within the Netanyahu family."
Under the title, "The father, the son and the threat," Verter reported on the speeches from the two Netanyahus.
The 100th birthday celebration for Prof. Benzion Netanyahu at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem this week was an extraordinary event. The most moving speech of the evening was delivered by the prime minister, who spoke with a kind of admiration, love and respect that not many sons feel for their fathers. "This was one of the few times I believed every word he said," one person in attendance commented.
In 1937, related Netanyahu, in an article about Theodor Herzl, his father predicted the Holocaust that would befall the Jewish people in Europe. "This same prescience," said the prime minister, "led my father to say decades ago that the threat to world peace would come from those parts of the Muslim world where oil, terror and nuclear energy mix. It also led him to say to me, in the early 1990s, that Muslim extremists would try to bring down the twin towers in New York - a prediction I included in one of my books."
After the tributes, the evening's honoree stepped up to the podium. In contrast to others blessed with longevity who tend to sink into nostalgia at events of this sort, Prof. Netanyahu did not say a single word about the past or about himself. He spoke for only a few minutes, from a prepared text, and about only one topic: the existential danger facing the Jewish people.
Here are a few excerpts from his speech: "I want to make a number of observations concerning the continued existence of the Jewish people in light of the threats of its imminent, declared destruction by its enemies ... The increasing threats are obvious, threats of the destruction of the Jewish people. From the Iranian side, the promise is heard that within a short time an end will be put to the Zionist movement and there will be no more Zionists in the world ... Very significant things are liable to happen in the encounter between Iran and nuclear weapons. The Jewish people is showing the world today how a nation should behave when it is facing an existential danger: Look the danger straight in the eye, calmly weigh what should be done, and be prepared to enter the fray the moment the chances of success seem reasonable."