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Obama, Clinton call PM to express condolences

May 3, 2012 05:41

"The significant role he played in the life of the nation and your family only makes the loss more significant," US president tells Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and father Benzion

Netanyahu and father Benzion 370. (photo credit:PMO)

US President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from Air Force One on Wednesday to express his condolences over the loss of his father Benzion, 102, early Monday morning.

He spoke with Netanyahu of Benzion’s remarkable legacy of service to the Jewish people and deep friendship with the United States.

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“Michelle and I wish to express our deep sorrow at the passing of your father,” Obama said. “I can only imagine how proud he was to see you, as the leader of the State of Israel. It was a great gift for him.

“I want you to know that we are thinking of you and your family at this time. Your father was a figure who was larger than life. The significant role he played in the life of the nation and your family only makes the loss more significant. He was a remarkable man who dedicated his life to the Jewish people and served as a bridge between Israel and the US,” said Obama.

Netanyahu thanked Obama and his wife, Michelle.

“I appreciate your words,” he told them. Of his father, Netanyahu said, “He was a wonderful father and a great man. This is a big loss for me.

No matter how long you live, it is always too short. Even if you think you are ready to separate from your parents, you are never really prepared for it.”

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger also called Netanyahu.

A number of other world leaders sent letters through their countries’ ambassadors who personally delivered them to Netanyahu, including Russian president- elect Vladmir Putin and outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
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