Published Monday, December 19, 2011, 6:43 AM
One of New York Jewish Culture Examiner’s very favorite world leaders of recent decade has passed away.
Vaclav Havel, a dissent Czech poet and writer who became the first president of the post-Soviet Bloc communist Czech Republic, passed away yesterday at the age of 75. Once imprisoned by the communist rulers of Czechoslovakia (which preceded the Czech Republic), he emerged as a symbol of and advocate for freedom. In additionally, President Havel was a close, loyal friend of Israel and the Jewish People.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has issued a statement on President Havel’s passing:
In the name of the government and the Nation of Israel I wish to extend our condolences to the Havel family and to the Czech people over the passing of Vaclav Havel.
President Havel was a strong, brave voice against totalitarianism, inspiring freedom fighters worldwide. After leading the Velvet Revolution he established a democratic Czech government, and revived the deep friendship of the Czech peoples with Israel. He was a true friend of Israel, and he made efforts in recent years along with other world leaders to counter attempts to de-legitimize the only State of the Jewish People. His courage and confidence will be sorely missed.
Additionally, Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, is quoted as saying of President Havel:
He was many things at once: A writer, a philosopher, a King and a President. No met ter what he was always a free man. No chains could bind his hands or mouth. He was a true friend of Israel. we will miss him. This is a loss for the whole world, the Czech people, western civilization and human freedom. May his memory be blessed.
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