Naftali Bezem was born in Essen, Germany, in 1924 and emigrated to Palestine in 1939 under the auspices of Youth Aliyah. He studied for three years at the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem, and later became a teacher there. From 1949 to 1951 he painted in Paris.
Bezem's first major showing was of drawings in the Venice Biennale of 1954, where six years later he exhibited five paintings. In 1960 his work was included in the "Noir et Blanc" exhibition in Lugano; He also exhibited in the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1963 and at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris. His paintings were also exhibited in the Art Israel exhibit organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1964 an exhibit of his works was held in New York and at Brandeis University.
In Israel, Bezem won the Dizengoff Prize in 1957; and in 1967 he won a grant from the government which permitted him six months' painting in Paris at the Israel studio of the Cite Internationale des Arts. His works were exhibited at the National Museum in Jerusalem in 1959, Tel Aviv Museum in 1960, Haifa Museum in 1964. Bezem has executed a number of important commissions as well, including murals for the Israel Pavilions at the Brussels World's Fair and at Expo'67, a sculptural wall for the El-Al Airlines Building in Tel Aviv, and murals for the Zim Steamship "Theodore Hertzl" and for the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot.