Fact Check: NO Evidence Argentine President Javier Milei Is Related To Netanyahu Or That They Have Same Surname

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: NO Evidence Argentine President Javier Milei Is Related To Netanyahu Or That They Have Same Surname Speculation

Are Javier Milei, president of Argentina, and Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, related, and is this assertion based on a shared familial last name? No, that does not seem to be true: There is no evidence that the two political leaders share a familial surname. Milei's last name is the same as it appears on his birth certificate; it does not match a longer name that is a part of Netanyahu's family tree.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram on February 15, 2024. The post included a video whose caption read:

Well this is an interesting new revelation Milei is related to Netanyahu. Both Kabbalist Jews. The paper adamantly says this is false. So the records show he didn't change his last name. But his father or grandfather could have changed it.

That's way too much to be a coincidence the similarity in last name.

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

milei netanyahu IG post.png
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Feb 15 19:53:53 2024 UTC)

The video in the post alleges that Milei's father's last name was actually Mileikowsky. It also states that Netanyahu's original family last name was Mileikowsky. However, Lead Stories did not find any evidence that Mileikowsky was the actual last name of Milei or his father. Reporting from Reverso, a collaborative project between Chequeado and AFP, shows that Milei's birth certificate lists him as "Javier Gerardo Milei" (archived here). Chequeado is a fact checking organization in Latin America; AFP is an international news organization.

As for Norberto Horacio Milei -- Milei's father -- even the post making the claim speculates, saying that he "could have changed it." However, Lead Stories could not locate any reports suggesting that he made such a name change. We searched for "Norberto Horacio Mileikowsky" (archived here) and "Norberto Horacio Milei name change" (archived here) and did not find any credible sources proving that his name changed.

Netanyahu's family name did change from "Mileikowsky." His grandfather was Nathan Mileikowsky, a rabbi and an active participant in the Zionist movement. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Mileikowsky used the surname "Netanyahu" in his writings, leading his children to adopt the name (archived here).

The similarity between "Milei" and "Mileikowsky" isn't strong enough to suggest that the two political leaders in question are related. A press release of a meeting between Milei and Netanyahu on February 7, 2024, did not mention any familial relationship between the two (archived here). Any further connection would have probably been mentioned, as Milei is a vocal supporter of the Israeli government and has taken an interest in Judaism despite being raised Catholic (archived here).

Juan Luis González, a journalist and the author of "El Loco" (archived here), an unauthorized biography of Milei, told Lead Stories via an online exchange on February 19, 2024:

... someone told me about that similarity on the last names, but as far as i know they are not related

Lead Stories reached out to the Israeli government and the U.S. Embassy in Argentina for comment on the claim and assistance with reaching Argentina's government for comment on the claim, respectively. We will update this story with any relevant responses.

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to Netanyahu can be found here.

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