NETIRA


NETIRA (d. 916), businessman in *Baghdad. Netira wielded considerable influence in the court of the caliphs and the Jewish society of Babylonia. He was at first connected with the business of his father-in-law *Joseph b. Phinehas and his partner Aaron b. Amram. With the appointment of Caliph al-Muʿtaḍid in 892, he became the principal figure of Babylonian Jewry and much authority was accorded him. He held this position until his death. During the reign of Caliph al-Muʿtaḍid, Netira succeeded in frustrating the design of one of the caliph's ministers, Ibn-Abi al-Bagl, who planned to put many Jews to death. Between 909 and 916, when the controversy between the rosh yeshivah of *Pumbedita and the *exilarch *Ukva broke out, he and his father-in-law Joseph b. Phinehas supported the gaon. As a result of their intervention, the exilarch Ukva was twice banished from the country. According to Nathan b. Isaac ha-Bavli, the gaon in question was R. *Kohen Zedek, but J. Mann has proved, on the basis of Iggeret Rav Sherira Ga'on, that it was R. Judah b. Samuel, the grandfather of R. *Sherira Gaon. His sons Sahl and Isaac followed their father's example and they also held important positions in Jewish society. When the dispute between the exilarch *David b. Zakkai and R. *Saadiah Gaon broke out in 930, they supported Saadiah, who was also the teacher of Sahl. It seems that his third son was Joseph b. Netira, who was one of the heads of the Fostat community in the second half of the 10th century. Apparently the sons of Netira lost their influence during the rule of Caliph al-Qāhir (932–934).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Neubauer, Chronicles, 2 (1895), 78–80, 83; A.E. Harkavy, in: Birkat Avraham (Festschrift… A. Berliner, 1903), 34–43 (Heb.); S. Fraenkel, in: JQR, 17 (1905), 386–8; I. Friedlander, ibid., 747–61; L. Ginzberg, Geonica, 2 (1909), 87–88; Fischel, Islam, 34, 36f., 40–44; J. Mann, in: Tarbiz, 5 (1934), 148–65; S.D. Goitein, in: Eretz-Israel, 7 (1964), 83–84; A. Scheiber, in: Zion, 30 (1965), 123–7. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Gil, Be-Malkhut Ishmael, 1, 650–56; M. Ben-Sasson, in: Tarbut ve-Ḥevrah be-Toledot Yisrael bi-Ymei ha-Benayim (1989), 182.

[Abraham David]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.