Netanyahu says he rushed memoir for fear he’d die of COVID

Former PM’s book completed in just nine months, due for release November 22, after national elections

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit at a Covid-19 vaccination center in Zarzir, northern Israel, February 9, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)
Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit at a Covid-19 vaccination center in Zarzir, northern Israel, February 9, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he hurried to complete his new memoir over concerns the coronavirus would claim his life before the book’s completion.

During a presale launch for his English-language book, “Bibi: My Story,” Netanyahu said in a video for the conservative group Tikvah Fund’s Shibolet Library, “I wrote it quickly during the coronavirus pandemic.”

He added, “I am supposed to be in a vulnerable group, and I thought it may be possible that I won’t be around to complete the book, so it’s worth writing faster.”

Netanyahu admitted that had he remained prime minister, he would not have had the time to write the autobiography, which he completed in nine months.

“To be the head of the opposition is infinitely easier, with much more free time, than being the prime minister,” he said. “I never wrote any of my books while I was in an executive role. It’s impossible.”

Netanyahu has authored a range of books over his long political career, covering topics such as fighting terrorism and the history of Zionism, as well as a book dedicated to his older brother Yonatan Netanyahu, the only Israeli soldier killed in the 1976 Entebbe hostage rescue mission.

The cover of Benjamin Netanyahu’s new autobiographical book, set to be published in November (Courtesy)

The new book is intended “to provide inspiration to readers” and to those seeking to live a “meaningful” life, Netanyahu said.

“Born a year after the founding of the Jewish state, I have dedicated my life to combat the forces that seek its destruction and make peace with those that do not,” Netanyahu, 72, said in a statement released in August by Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster that publishes conservative books.

“My story is one of tragedy and triumph, setbacks and successes, lessons learned and loved ones cherished,” he said. “It is woven with that of Israel, which has proven that faith and resolve can overcome insurmountable odds to forge a brilliant future.”

According to Threshold, “Bibi” will range from Netanyahu’s early years to “his singular perspective on the geopolitics of the Middle East” and “his negotiations with Presidents Clinton, Obama, and Trump to secure the future of his country.”

Before being ousted in elections in 2021, Netanyahu was Israel’s longest-serving leader — and its most polarizing, supported and condemned for his hardline stance against the Palestinians.

He now stands at the center of Israel’s protracted political crisis, where a cluster of parties has refused to sit with him in government because he is on trial for corruption. Due to the stalemate, Israel is heading into its fifth election in less than four years.

The former prime minister’s new book will be published in Hebrew and English on November 22, three weeks after elections are to be held in Israel.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report. 

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