‘I Loved You as a Son Loves a Father’

‘I Loved You as a Son Loves a Father’

Credit:(Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

The people of Israel lost a hero today, with the death of former defense minister and ambassador to the U.S., Moshe Arens. The Times of Israel’s Haviv Rettig Gur remembers this Israeli we all should know, who also acted as a mentor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. May his memory be a blessing:

Moshe Arens, an English-speaking US-educated aeronautical engineer who rose to become Israel’s three-time defense minister and mentored a young Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of his career, died on Monday at age 93.

Born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1925, Arens moved with his family to Riga, Latvia in 1927, then to the US just before World War II in 1939.

He attended high school in the US, served in the US Army Corps of Engineers in WWII, then immigrated to Israel and joined the right-wing Irgun paramilitary group, which immediately sent him to North Africa to help organize Jewish communities seeking to immigrate to Israel. He returned to Israel in 1949 and soon became a key member of the nascent Herut party, the progenitor of today’s Likud…

Arens had been a key mentor for an ambitious young Benjamin Netanyahu, taking him to the Washington embassy in 1982, then backing him for UN ambassador in 1984 and deputy minister in the Foreign Ministry in 1988 — Netanyahu’s first significant public service positions.

A consistent right-wing voice credited with shepherding dramatic advances in Israel’s aeronautics industry and military capabilities, Arens had a reputation as a man of principle…

His death was lamented on Monday by Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum.

Calling Arens “my teacher and master,” Netanyahu said in a statement Monday that Arens “did wonders to strengthen Israel as our ambassador in Washington, as foreign minister, as chairman of the [Knesset] Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and as defense minister time and again…. I visited him in his home a few weeks ago. He was as clear as ever, sharp, dignified and noble, an example to us all. There was no greater patriot than him. Misha, I loved you as a son loves a father…”

Tags: Israelis You Should Know

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