Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, the father of Sara Netanyahu, died on wednesday in Jerusalem at the age of 97. The prime minister, his wife and their two sons were at Ben-Artzi's bedside at Hadassah University Medical Center at Ein Karem when he passed away. In recent months, following a decline in his health, Ben-Artzi had been living at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem.
Ben-Artzi was a writer, poet and educator. He was born in Poland and moved to Palestine in 1933. He studied at the Beit Yosef yeshiva in Bnei Brak, worked in citrus groves and as a department head at a government office of the British Mandatory authorities in Netanya. He served in the pre-state Irgun and Haganah underground organizations and worked as an educator in the north of the country. Among his students were the singer Dudu Fisher and the news broadcaster Gadi Sukenik.
Ben-Artzi earned a bachelor's degree with honors in Bible, literature and Hebrew language at the University of Haifa. He was known for his great love of the Bible, and helped prepare his grandson, the Netanyahus' son Avner, for the 2010 International Bible Contest in which Avner Netanyahu was a contestant.
In 1947, Ben-Artzi began publishing stories and poems in publications for children. He was also the author of numerous books over his lifetime, including "Hamesh Sipurim al Dani" ("Five Stories about Dani" ) and a volume of Bible quizzes.
Ben-Artzi was in the headlines recently after his Nepalese caregiver accused Sara Netanyahu of verbally abusing her and mistreating her. An advocacy organization for migrant workers also alleged that the caregiver worked long hours and was denied time off to arrange her return to Nepal. The family dismissed her, claiming that she was negligent in her care for Ben-Artzi.
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