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Shmuel Ben-Artzi, PM’s Father in Law, Dies at 97

Shmuel Ben-Artzi, the father of Sarah Netanyahu, has died at age 97, ending a life dedicated to building Israel and to Torah.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 11/9/2011, 12:09 PM

Sarah Netanyahu with her father
Sarah Netanyahu with her father
Flash 90

Shmuel Ben-Artzi, father of Sarah Netanyahu, passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 97 in Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem. He died with his daughter and her husband, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, at his side.

Ben-Artzi’s long life was dedicated to building the land of Israel. After many years in which he lived a secular lifestyle, he returned to Torah observance in recent years.

He was born in Poland in 1914, and came to Israel in 1933. He began his life in Israel in the Beit Yosef yeshiva in Bnei Brak, but later decided to dedicate his efforts to physically building the land and left to work as a farmer and an agricultural administrator.

In 1945 he served in the Etzel underground military group. From 1946 to 1948 he served in the Haganah, which later became the IDF.

He spent the next several decades working as a teacher, raising a family and earning university degrees in Tanach (Bible), literature and the Hebrew language. His three sons all earned prizes for their knowledge of Tanach – a family tradition continued last year by Sarah and Binyamin Netanyahu’s son Avner.

Ben-Artzi wrote multiple books, the most recent of which details his life as a yeshiva student in Israel and the inner debate between Torah and secular Zionism that faced many young students at the time.