By Ira Glunts
This weekend the Israeli daily, Ma’ariv, published an interview in Hebrew with Professor Ben Zion Netanyahu, the 99-year-old father of the new Israeli prime minister.
The elder Netanyahu is known for his outspokenness and extreme right-wing views–and he did nothing to contradict his reputation. He decreed that the only solution to the conflict with the Palestinians is the use of military force. He stated that he would not return the Golan Heights to Syria because "you do not return land." He also explained that in his view it is impossible to compromise with Arabs. The Prime Minister’s father further opines that the Turks used brutal deadly force to suppress the Arab population and that should be an example to Israel in dealing with Arabs whose nature dictates that they live in a state of perpetual war.
There are reports that the Prime Minister’s Office unsuccessfully tried to convince Ma’ariv to suppress publication of this article since the elder Netanyahu’s controversial views would be embarrassing for his son.
When I learned of the interview, I searched Google hoping to learn more about the father. In doing so, I stumbled across a February television interview with both father and son, again, in Hebrew. In this brief television appearance the then-candidate Benjamin Netanyahu appears very comfortable when his father states that Israel is today in great danger of being completely destroyed and that the "holocaust never ended and is continuing at this very moment."
In this dual appearance, Benjamin Netanyahu, reflecting the direct influence of his father’s view that no territory should ever be returned, proclaims that there will not be any evacuations of settlements during his administration. This position places him on a direct collision course with the Obama administration which claims to want to work toward a negotiated peace in the region.
What follows is a translation of Netanyahu’s statements (from 3:55 of the video):
Netanyahu: I think that anyone who has eyes in his head understands that today any settlement that will be evacuated will be grabbed by the bitter enemies of the State of Israel.
Question: So you can say that the Likud [Netanyahu’s party] will not evacuate settlements during its term of office?
Question: Will not evacuate?
As the interviewer stated, Benjamin Netanyahu has been greatly influenced by the views of his father. Under his father’s watchful eye and possibly affected by what some say has been an overbearing parental manner that influence is very painfully apparent.
– Ira Glunts first visited the Middle East in 1972, where he taught English and physical education in a small rural community in Israel. He was a volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces in 1992. Glunts lives in Madison, New York where he operates a used and rare book business, writes and is a part-time reference librarian. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.