The skeleton in his closet

This is the true and sad tale of a father and grandfather who has abandoned himself from them.

It is the story of a woman named Noa Roth. Her maiden name is Netanyahu and she is the first-born child and only daughter of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu born to him and her mother, Bibi’s first wife (he has had three wives) Dr. Miriam Weizmann.

Noa is thirty-nine years old, a married wife and a loving mother of three children, the  grandchildren that their grandfather almost never sees.

Noa married a Chabad hassid, became ultra-Orthodox and lives in the 100% Orthodox Jews only ghetto of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem, a place whose gates are closed to secular Jews.

Her father, our Prime Minister, was married to Noa’s mother from 1972-1978 and they were divorced when Noa was a very young child.

Subsequently her father re-married to his second wife, Fleur Cates, a marriage that lasted from 1981-1984 followed by another divorce. He and his present third wife, Sara Ben-Artzi married in 1991, so far the longest of his three marriages.  Will there ever be a fourth?

Bibi has almost no contact whatsoever with his only daughter Noa.  She is his skeleton in the closet. And sadly he has absolutely nothing to do with his grandchildren Shmuel, David and their young sister. She was more than two months old before he made his first brief (and only) visit to her.

Noa’s existence was a tightly kept secret from the public and from the records of the Knesset. Bibi never informed them that he had a daughter until it was discovered and revealed by the press. Most of the public, including many of his colleagues, were shocked by the news. Why did he keep his skeleton in a closet?   Why did he not acknowledge Noa as his daughter?

For some time he would occasionally meet with his daughter Noa.  It had been rumored that he wore dark glasses so that no one would recognize him at their meeting… a brief  half-hour meeting in the back of a small restaurant well-hidden from the street.

It is a sad story of an intelligent, well-to-do man, successful politician and leader of a nation who prefers to have little or no contact with his daughter and none with his three grandchildren.

There is no love between father, daughter and family. The reason is obviously a dark and personal secret which the Prime Minister has never revealed. And Noa has been kept in the closet for more than thirty years…. a skeleton waiting to be loved, waiting to be hugged by her father.

Many photos and family portraits can be seen in his office showing only Sara, Yair and Avner, his wife and two sons.

There are no photos anywhere of Noa or her three children.

His two sons call him abba. But no grandchild can call him saba.  He is publicly a father but regrettably not a grandfather. That is his preferred choice.  But why?

It remains an unhappy story in the life of Noa Netanyahu Roth and in the lives of three young children who will not ever know their grandfather.

All of them live in different parts of Jerusalem but in very distant worlds.

Bibi remains Israel’s Prime Minister and his daughter Noa remains the skeleton in his closet.

Waiting! Waiting! Waiting!  “Abba, please…just one small kiss. That’s all I ask for”.

The waiting goes on. The tragedy goes on. Lives without love go on.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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