"Kaczynski was a friend to Jewish people"
Netanyahu and Peres extend condolences to Poland after horrific plane crash.
President Shimon Perez, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi were joined by other world leaders and top ranking officers in extending their condolences to the Polish people as well as the families of the victims of a plane crash that claimed the lives of Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria and other senior dignitaries and military personnel.
Among those who died in the crash were relatives of Polish prisoners of war, mainly members of the armed forces and Polish intelligentsia who were killed in the 1943 massacre in the Katyn Forrest. The plane was on its way to a memorial ceremony for the victims of the massacre.
Netanyahu met with Kaczinsky less than three months ago at the International Holocaust Awareness Ceremony commemorating the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The Israeli PM issued this statement: “I knew Kaczinsky was a Polish patriot, a great friend to Israel and a leader who did much for his people and to further world peace and prosperity.”
According to Netanyahu, Kaczinsky was an instrumental figure in beginning a new chapter in Israeli/Polish relations. Kaczinsky was an ardent promoter of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a project he helped get off the ground when he was mayor of Warsaw. The museum is being built alongside the Warsaw Ghetto monument.
Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, also spoke highly of Kaczinsky saying he was detrimental in strengthening ties between Poles and Jews during his presidency and helping Poland grow and adapt to an ever-changing world. “My friend, President Kaczynski, was among those who led and advanced change in his country, and represented free Poland, democratic Poland and modern Poland.” Peres spent a great deal of time with Kaczinsky when the President paid a state visit to Poland on the 65th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Barak and Lieberman issued statements as well. Both praised Kaczisnsky as a politician who first and foremost was a friend to Israel. Barak said the death of the Polish Prime Minister was “a great loss to his people and to the entire world.”