Naftali Bennett’s Father Laid to Rest

September 3, 2015  

Jim Bennett, the father of Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), was laid to rest Thursday night in the Sde Yehoshua cemetery in Haifa. 

Rabbis, ministers, and MKs attended the funeral – including Economy Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism), and Mayor Yona Yahav.

“Papa was a good Jew, a Zionist, who pursued peace and was always positive,” Bennett stated during his eulogy. “He was a man who always filled his days with the good and never complained. He had a good heart and looks like Paul Newman’s.” 

“I was most proud to have the best and most creative Dad in the world,” he continued. “You always built the sukkah and refused to buy a ready-made one. You started a business and were honest and reliable. You were frugal but generous in giving charity.” 

“You had great love for the State of Israel and introduced us to Zionism and love for this country,” Bennett added. “You said that your grandson graduated from the Navy as an officer was a ‘dream come true’ and that this is why you had made Aliyah to Israel.” 

“We are proud of you and you were a good Jew,” he said. “When we were little, and in the synagogue during the Priestly Blessing, Danny and I would hit each other under your tallit, and laugh…but I never told you how much I still love standing under your tallit even today, when I’m 43.” 

“The last two months have been difficult and unique and united the family,” he noted. “Having this last Shabbat together was special. You were smiling, happy, and succeeded to tell us how much everything is wonderful.”

Jim Bennett passed away Thursday at the age of 73 after a long battle with a serious illness. He had been hospitalized for a long period at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, and his children were at his bedside when he died. 

He was born in the United States in 1941, where he married Myrna. Together, they came to the Jewish State to volunteer on Kibbutz Dafna in northern Israel a month after the Six-Day War in 1967. 

The Bennetts fell in love with the country and decided to permanently immigrate to Israel and settle in Haifa. Naftali, the Bennett’s third son, was born there in 1972.

Bennett fought in the artillery unit during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 as well as the Lebanon War in 1982. He worked at the Technion and as an aliyah emissary at the Jewish Agency, before establishing his own business.  He is survived by his wife, his three sons and ten grandchildren.


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