Netanyahu praised Bush’s “commitment to the security of Israel, his important contribution to the liberation of Soviet Jewry and his efforts to promote peace in the Middle East.”
By World Israel News Staff
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
George H.W. Bush, a World War II hero and the 41st president of the United States whose leadership soared with the coalition victory over Iraq in Kuwait but then plummeted in the throes of a weak economy that led voters to turn him out of office after a single term, died. He was 94.
Bush, who also presided during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the final months of the Cold War, passed away late Friday night at his Houston home, said family spokesman Jim McGrath.
Bush will be honored with a funeral at Washington’s National Cathedral, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Saturday. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will attend, she said.
“On my behalf and on behalf of the citizens of Israel, I send heartfelt condolences to the Bush family and to the American people over the passing of a great American patriot, President George Herbert Walker Bush,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated. “His wise leadership at the end of the Cold War helped steer the world to a peaceful transition and the spread of democracy.
“The people of Israel will always remember his commitment to the security of Israel, his important contribution to the liberation of Soviet Jewry and his efforts to promote peace in the Middle East at the Madrid Conference,” Netanyahu said.
The Conference, held from October 30-November 1, 1991 in Madrid, hosted by Spain and co-sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union, was was an attempt by the international community to revive the Israeli–Palestinian peace process through negotiations, involving Israel and the Palestinians as well as Arab countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
“We have lost an American hero, George H.W. Bush, who 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,” President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement.
‘A true friend of Israel’
Bush “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. 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,” Rivlin said.
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danon said that Bush “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.”
Bush is survived by four sons and a daughter: John, known as Jeb, the former Florida governor who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016; Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy; and George. His wife Barbara died in April. The couple lost a three-year-old daughter, Robin, to Leukemia in 1953.
Their son George W. Bush served as the 43rd US president from 2001 to 2009