Strengthen Your Brethren

Jonathan “Yoni” Netanyahu, the late brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, was an Israeli military hero who died during the celebrated 1976 Entebbe Raid. But before he was protecting civilians from terrorists, he was protecting his family. This is illustrated in an incident when Jonathan and Benjamin were children.

In 1957, Benzion Netanyahu, Yoni and Bibi’s father, took his family to New York City for work. One evening, the Netanyahu parents went out, leaving Yoni, as the eldest, in charge. Without his parents to see what he was up to, the young Bibi took his opportunity to swipe a bag of marshmallows for himself. Bibi had developed a craving for this new American treat; his mother put the family’s marshmallow stash in the top cabinet of their apartment’s kitchenette, purposely out of reach of the child. That didn’t stop Bibi from trying to climb the doors of the lower cabinets to reach the marshmallows.

Young Bibi slipped and slid on a sharp corner of the metal cabinet door. “It cut a deep gash in my thigh,” Benjamin Netanyahu writes in his autobiography. “Blood squirted out like a crimson fountain. I screamed in pain and panic.”

What happened next was impactful enough to stay burned in Benjamin Netanyahu’s memory all these decades later.

“Yoni, 12 years old, immediately took charge. He spoke with such calm authority that I immediately stopped crying. He spread a big towel on the bed and had me lie on it. He instructed Iddo [the youngest Netanyahu brother] to fetch more towels and told him to help him put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. Afterward he cleaned the wound and bandaged it.”

Little Yoni was only 12. Bibi was three years his junior. Yoni could have started crying with his brother, not knowing what to do. He could have waited for their parents to come home. He could have screamed at his brother for his folly. Instead, he took control of the situation and did everything he could to help his brother. And his actions may have saved the leg—or even the life—of Israel’s future longest-serving prime minister.

When troubles arise, it can be easy to think we’re not in any position of responsibility or help. But God wants us to help our family—our fellow children of God—in their troubles and difficulties (Galatians 6:2). Before He was crucified, Jesus Christ told the Apostle Peter to “strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32; New King James Version). We can provide more help—even life-saving help—to our spiritual brethren than we may think. We, like little Jonathan Netanyahu, just have to be fearless in taking action—and be there for our family.