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Who is Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu? Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Radin   

“I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:5)

In Jewish teaching, a person’s name determines a person’s character throughout life. The name Benjamin (been-ya-meen), meaning “son of my right hand” was given to Jacob’s youngest son by his father rather than more traditionally, his mother. The name connotes strength and support. The Book of Genesis records Jacob’s blessing to Benjamin:

“And of Binyamin he said, ‘The L-rd’s beloved one shall dwell securely beside Him; He protects him all day long, and He dwells between his shoulders.’” (Genesis 33:12)

[The shoulder represents strength; thus G-d dwelling between his shoulders signifies G-d’s strength in him]

The Hebrew meaning of the name “Netanyahu” is formed from the words ‘natan’ and ‘yahu’; ‘natan’ means ‘to give’ and ‘yahu’ is a sacred name of G-d. Thus, the full meaning of ‘Netanyahu’ is ‘God gives’, put together with his given name Benjamin would be, ‘God gives the son of his right hand’.

It would seem that Bibi understands the ancient roots of his name. In a speech to AIPAC in 2010, Netanyahu, in emphasizing the fact that Jews roamed the land of Israel more than 4000 years ago, said this:

“In my office, I have a signet ring that was loaned to me by Israel’s Department of Antiquities This ring was found right next to the Western wall, but it dates back 2800 years ago, two hundred years after King David declared Jerusalem as our people’s capital. Now, this ring is a seal of a Jewish official, and his name is inscribed in it -- on it in Hebrew. The name is: Netanyahu, Netanyahu Ben-Yoash. Now that’s my last name. My first name, Benjamin, dates back 1,000 years earlier to Benjamin, the son of Jacob.”



According to Breaking Israel News, “The prime minister’s family hails from Poland, where their surname was Mileikowsky. Rabbi Nathan (Natan) Mileikowsky moved to the Land of Israel in 1920, where the Zionist rabbi occasionally used the pen name ‘Netanyahu’. His sons later adopted the pen-name as their surname.” Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister born in Israel after the establishment of the state. He joined the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the Six-Day War in 1967, and became a team leader in the Sayeret Matkal Special Forces Unit, going on to take part in a number of military operations, including the dramatic 1972 rescue of a hijacked Sabena passenger jet. Netanyahu became highly involved in international counterterrorism efforts, served in the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. (1982-84), and went on to become the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations (1984-88).

Bibi was elected chairman of the Likud Party and then was elected prime minister of Israel in 1996. After resigning from the Knesset following his election loss to his former commander Barak, Netanyahu worked in the private sector. In 2002, he returned to politics, serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs before becoming Minister of Finance. On March 31, 2009, he was again elected prime minister for the second time, establishing a national unity government and calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state. He was re-elected and remains Prime Minister to this date.

Two of the most significant leaders descended from the tribe of Benjamin were Saul, the first King of Israel, and Mordechai, one of the heroes of the Book of Esther. Saul was the Benjaminite king who failed to destroy Amalek, Israel’s eternal enemy. Mordechai was a Benjaminite who succeeded in bringing destruction on descendants of Amalek and his sons as recorded in the Book of Esther.

God had instructed Moses to “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.” (Deuteronomy 25:19) Therefore, when Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, Moses gave this instruction to Joshua:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’… ‘The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.’” (Exodus 17:14, 16)

In rabbinic literature, the reason for the unusual eternal remembrance of Amalek is that Amalek is the irreconcilable enemy and it is forbidden to show mercy foolishly to one wholly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Moreover, the attack of the Amalekites upon the Israelites encouraged others, they observe. The verse “You shall not forget…” is meant to remind all men of “the rule which holds good for all generations, namely, that the staff of God's indignation with which Israel is smitten will itself finally be smitten.” In the course of time this biblical injunction became so deeply rooted in Jewish thought that all enemies of Israel were identified as direct descendants of Amalek. Thus in the first century BCE, Amalek is identified with Rome. The most outstanding example is “Haman the Agagite” (Esther 3:1) who is regarded as a descendant of Agag (I Samuel 15:8) the Amalekite king.

Thousands of years ago in Persia, Mordechai the Benjaminite sounded the warning against Haman’s plot to wipe out the Jewish people. Today, Benjamin Netanyahu is sounding the warning against Iran, modern day Persia, as he attempts to defend Israel and the entire Jewish people from atomic annihilation. Iran, like Persia before it, is wholly dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.

Netanyahu chose the date of the 13th of Adar (March 3, 2015/March 4 in Israel) to address the U.S. Congress about the Iranian nuclear threat to Israel because it was the date that the Jews of Esther’s day were appointed to be annihilated by Haman and the Persians (Esther 3:13). Remarkably, the ‘Deal’ between Obama and the JCPOA[1] was announced the following month on the 13th of Nisan (April 2, 2015), the same date that Haman announced his ‘Deal’ to annihilate the Jews about 2400 years ago (Esther 3:12).

In this last election, Netanyahu proposed to have Israel declare that its legal system is based on the Babylonian Talmud rather than on the secular western common law. As part of his new proposed legislation to demonstrate Israel’s status as a Jewish state, Netanyahu also wants the Talmudic Jewish calendar to be formally adopted as the state’s only official calendar.

It would seem that these proposals as well as other ‘signs’ have led some in the Orthodox community to believe that Bibi Netanyahu is Mashiach ben Yosef (Messiah, son of Joseph)[2], the military leader that will precede the coming of the Messiah. [He will die in battle, but will make the way for the Messiah to come.] They claim that Netanyahu will be the last leader of Israel until the Messiah comes. Because Netanyahu has a military background and the fact that [they believe] he has taken on the spiritual mantle of Mordechai as is demonstrated in his speech to the U.S. Congress noted above, they are calling him Mashiach ben Yosef. Their website enumerates the many ways Bibi fulfills the requirements of this forerunner.

Netanyahu has been elected Prime Minister of Israel four times. He is the only prime minister in Israel's history to have been elected three times in a row. He is currently the second longest-serving Prime Minister in Israel's history after David Ben-Gurion, and upon the completion of his current term he will become the longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of Israel.

Is Bibi the Prime Minister at the behest of the people of Israel or at the behest of the Almighty as the son of His right hand “for such a time as this”?

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

Kee Va Mo'ed!
(The Appointed Time Has Come)


[1] The framework for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was announced in Lausanne, Switzerland on April 2, 2015 (i.e. Nisan 13 on the Hebrew calendar)

[2] Traditional belief is that Messiah ben Joseph will wage war against the evil forces and die in combat with the enemies of God and Israel.  Read more about the ‘two messiahs in the article, “Yeshua & the Red Heifer Riddle”.


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