Israel’s leaders express sorrow on passing of President Navon

President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have both released statements of condolence for Israel’s fifth president, Yitzhak Navon.

President Rivlin wrote, “Yitzhak Navon, the State of Israel’s fifth president, created a new style and practice for the presidency. Yitzchak was a noble man, unceremoniously aristocratic, a president who came from the people, and whom the people greatly loved and appreciated.

“Yitzhak was a man of spirit and action, who alongside Ben-Gurion dealt with the establishment and founding of the state, and created one of the most significant works of Jewish and Israeli culture, Bustan Sefardi [“Sephardic Garden”], which became a landmark in Israeli culture.

“Yitzhak the Jerusalemite, son of Jerusalemites, strove to preserve the JewishLadino traditions, a tradition which created a new Israeli identity, proud of its origins, and not forgetting its roots.

“Throughout his life, Yitzhak walked along with the State of Israel. Time after time, he was found at the significant crossroads in the country’s history. Always in a position of significance. Always as a compass which did not hesitate to speak what was in his heart, nor intervene when he felt it his moral duty – even at the end of his tenure when he threatened to resign were there not to be a full inquiry commissioned following Sabra and Shatila.

“The State of Israel has today lost a beloved son, a president of the people, one who never saw himself above the people, but to whom we all looked up in love and admiration.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I would like to express deep sorrow over the passing of Israel’s fifth president, Yitzhak Navon, and send my condolences to his wife, children and grand-children.

“As David Ben-Gurion’s secretary, Minister of Education and President, Navon was a full partner in shaping the State of Israel as a free, Jewish and democratic state. I was always impressed by the depth of his education, his openness to everyone and his deep love for the people of Israel and its heritage.

“As president, author and playwright he was active in advancing unity among Israel’s various communities, commemorating Sephardic Jewish communitiesand in promoting awareness of the history of the Jerusalem in which he was born and lived his life.

“Navon will be remembered as one of the elite of the nation and among its senior builders. May his memory be blessed.”