Alexander Haig – four-star general, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, top adviser to US presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, and good friend of Israel – passed away over the weekend in Baltimore. He was 85.
Haig is generally considered responsible for bypassing then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and airlifting missiles and other military necessities to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He is also credited with supporting Israel’s counter-terrorism Peace for Galilee invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
Some reports state, however, that after Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, it was then-US Secretary of State Haig who got his boss, then-President Ronald Reagan, to temporarily suspend strategic cooperation with Israel.
Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens, writing in Haaretz, described Haig as “a good friend to Israel – through thick and thin, both at the best of times and during difficult times. He never wavered in his friendship for Israel… Haig's support for Israel was not only based on the rationale that the United States and Israel had shared strategic interests; it was also tempered by an admiration for Israel's courage in the face of daunting odds.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Haig ''served his country in many capacities for many years, earning honor on the battlefield, the confidence of presidents and prime ministers, and the thanks of a grateful nation.''