'No greater defender of Israel than John McCain'

Netanyahu remembers late Senator John McCain as a 'great patriot' and 'defender of Israel'.

David Rosenberg ,

Binyamin Netanyahu meets John McCain in 2015
Binyamin Netanyahu meets John McCain in 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu eulogized Arizona Senator John McCain Sunday morning, hours after the six-term senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee passed away following a bout with brain cancer.

On Sunday morning, the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement from Netanyahu, praising McCain as a “great supporter of Israel”, and offering the State of Israel’s “salute” for the late senator.

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of John McCain, a great American patriot and a great supporter of Israel,” the statement read. “I will always treasure the constant friendship he showed to the people of Israel and to me personally. His support for Israel never wavered. It sprang from his belief in democracy and freedom. The State of Israel salutes John McCain."

Later, the Prime Minister released a video statement, recorded at a synagogue in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, offering his condolences to the McCain family.

In the statement, Netanyahu recalled the “many, many times” he had visited McCain in the US Senate, and the “many times” McCain had reciprocated with visits to Jerusalem.

"I wish to extend my condolences to the family of Senator John McCain, a great American patriot and a great friend of Israel. I've known John McCain for many, many years. I visited him in the US Congress many times. And he visited me in Jerusalem many, many times, including in recent years. Israel has never had a greater champion and a greater defender. The State of Israel salutes Senator John McCain."

McCain passed away at the age of 81 late Saturday night, just over a year after he was diagnosed with primary glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer.

In the US, President Donald Trump, former US president Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have also published eulogies.

A number of Israeli leaders and lawmakers, including President Reuven Rivlin, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also eulogized the late senator.