Daily Israel Report

Following Speculation, Obama Extends Condolences to PM

Obama told PM: Your father was an extraordinary person who served as a bridge between Israel and the United States.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 5/2/2012, 7:38 PM

PM Netanyahu Mourns
PM Netanyahu Mourns
Israel news photo: Flash 90

There have been speculations, even outrage from amongst the Jewish Blogosphere, as to whether President Barack Obama has sent his condolences to the Israeli Prime Minister following the death of his father, Ben-Zion Netanyahu.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney immediately extended his message of consolation to the Israeli Prime Minister and his family calling Ben-Zion’s passing “a loss for all of Israel and for all who care about Israel.”

“Not only was he the father of my friend Benjamin, the Prime Minister of Israel, and the father of Israel’s hero of the Entebbe raid, Yonatan Netanyahu, he was also a distinguished historian and leader in his own right,” Romney said.

In an unusual gesture, even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad sent condolence letters to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

After an extensive Google search that failed to yield the desired results, Arutz 7 contacted an Israeli government spokesman this morning who had refused to comment on the issue.

However, a few hours later, Arutz 7 received notice that President Obama did, in fact, relay his condolences to the PM Netanyahu later that day.

In a telephone conversation Wednesday afternoon the President said, “Michelle and I wish to express our deep regret on the passing of your father. I can only imagine how proud he must have been that you are the leader of the State of Israel. It is a great gift for him.”

“I want you to know that we think about you and hope that your family is doing well.  Your father was a figure larger than life,” he said.

“The fact that your father took an important part in national life and in familial life makes your loss all the more significant,” Obama added. “He was an extraordinary person who dedicated his life to the Jewish people, and served as a bridge between Israel and the United States.”

PM Netanyahu expressed his gratitude for the President’s words of consolation.