PM: Thatcher was a special woman who I admired

Following funeral of former British prime minister, Netanyahu tells reporters the two leaders shared a very warm relationship.

Netanyahu Thatcher funeral 370 (photo credit: Screenshot CNN)
Netanyahu Thatcher funeral 370
(photo credit: Screenshot CNN)
Former British leader Margaret Thatcher was a great leader whom “I admired and loved very much,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters on Wednesday after her funeral in London.
Netanyahu was one of the 11 prime ministers who attended her funeral in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Thatcher, who was prime minister of the UK from 1979- 1990, remains the only woman to have held that post and the only leader in that office to have served for so many consecutive years.
Known as a staunch ally to the Jewish state and a good friend to the Jewish people, Thatcher was also the first British prime minister to visit Israel.
“She was a great leader, not only an economic leader, but a world leader helping along with president Ronald Reagan to end the Cold War bloodlessly,” he said. “That changed history.
She evidently changed the history of Britain, the history of Britain’s economy, but in doing so and in doing everything else that she did as she led this country, she inspired many around the world with conviction, determination and courage.”
Netanyahu said that Thatcher was the second most important British prime minister of the 20th century, after Winston Churchill.
“I think everyone felt that,” Netanyahu said.
“I knew Margaret Thatcher in a very personal way,” added Netanyahu. “I really appreciated her and we had a very warm relationship.”
He recalled how she had sent him a hand written note when he lost the prime ministerial race in 1999.
“She wrote, ‘I am sorry for your loss.’” “It was very typical of her,” he added. “In our meetings, she always talked straight and to the point.”
Netanyahu explained that he admired her philosophy for restoring economies.
“She was sympathetic to Israel and its struggles,” he said.
When he was finance minister, he said, he and his wife visited her in London where she hosted them. He recalled how at a dinner, she moved from table to table to make sure that everyone was cared for and had received their meals.
Netanyahu said her funeral was very emotional. The Biblical references to Jerusalem in the eulogy, he said, made him very proud to represent Israel as he sat in the cathedral.