Vaclav Havel, A ‘Great Friend’ Of The Jews And Of Israel, Dies At 75

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European Jewish Congress (EJC) President Moshe Kantor said former Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel, who died on Sunday, “was known as a great friend of the Jews and did much to confront anti-Semitism and teach the lessons of the dark chapter of the Holocaust during his two terms in office.”

Vaclav Havel, a dissident playwright who was jailed by communists and then went on to lead the Prague “Velvet Revolution” and become Czech president, died at 75 after a long illness.

“He was a figure for a new and modern Europe to emulate. President Havel lived through communism and led the Czech Republic to a new era helping move his countrymen through a troubled past to a more open, free and tolerant future,” Kantor said.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Havel was a “true friend” of Israel who in recent years joined The Friends of Israel group with other international leaders to defend the Jewish state against delegitimization.