(AP/Ira Schwarz)
George Bush

“He was always a true friend to Israel and the Jewish people,” said Ambassador Danon of former US President George H.W. Bush.

By: United with Israel Staff

Israel’s leaders on Saturday expressed sorrow over the death of former US President George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, and lauded him is a statesman who was a true friend of Israel.

Bush, who died late Friday at his Houston home at age 94, is to be honored with a state funeral at National Cathedral in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, followed by burial Thursday on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M.

Ahead of the funeral, his body will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda for a public viewing from his arrival in Washington Monday until Wednesday morning.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Former President George W. Bush, son of the deceased, stating that “on behalf of the people of Israel I send heartfelt condolences to the Bush family and the American people on the passing of a great American patriot, President George H.W. Bush.”

“His wise leadership at the end of the Cold War helped steer the world to a peaceful transition and the spread of democracy,” Netanyahu noted, adding that “the people of Israel will always remember his commitment to Israel’s security, his important contribution to the liberation of Soviet Jewry, and his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East at the Madrid Conference.”

‘An American Hero’

President Reuven Rivlin stated that Israel has lost “an American hero” with Bush’s death.

A World War II veteran, Bush was just 20 when he survived being shot down during a bombing run over Japan. He had enlisted in the US Navy on his 18th birthday.

Bush “fought in the killing fields of the Second World War, who knew to distinguish between good and evil and how to build strong regional coalitions against cruel tyrants. He led his country with skill and wisdom at the end of the Cold War and under his leadership our strategic relationship evolved into the strongest of alliances,” Rivlin stated.

“The Jewish people will always remember his help in bringing the Jews of Ethiopia to Israel and his determination to ensure the Arab world recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.

“Personally and on behalf of the people of Israel, my deepest condolences to President George W Bush, a true friend of Israel, to Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Doro and their families. May his memory be for a blessing,” the president concluded.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, sent his condolences. “We are saddened to hear of the passing of President George H.W. Bush,” he stated.

“During his term as ambassador to the United Nations and throughout his distinguished and remarkable career, he was always a true friend to Israel and the Jewish people, taking a stand against PLO terrorism and proving instrumental in helping saving tens of thousands of Jews from the Former Soviet Union and Ethiopia.

“America lost a patriot and remarkable individual today. May he rest in peace,” Danon said.

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