Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and senior members of the Polish government and army were killed in a plane crash.

 Israel expresses grief over Polish tragedy


President Peres and the late Polish President Kaczynski at Treblinka extermination camp, April 2008 (GPO archive photo)

President Peres sends special message to the Polish people
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

The State of Israel is shocked by the great tragedy and shares in the sorrow of the Polish people and the free world. We received the news of the loss of my friend President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, and senior members of the Polish leadership and parliament with pain and shock. The tragedy is a terrible blow to the Polish people and to the entire world.

My friend President Kaczynski was one of the leaders of change in his country, and represented an independent, democratic and modern Poland. In my many meetings with him I met a leader of stature, determined to move his country forward who represented a democratic and progressive world view.

President Kaczynski and his wife worked to bring the Polish and the Jewish peoples closer together, to heal the wounds of the past and to build a better common future. During his presidency, bilateral relations between our two countries deepened, marked by friendship and warmth.

The State of Israel bows its head and joins the Polish people in their profound grief.

FM Liberman conveys sympathy to the Polish people

(Communicated by Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman said that the Israeli people share the mourning of the people of Poland at the tragic death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and the other victims of the plane crash on Saturday (April 10).

President Kaczynski’s actions as well as his positions demonstrated time and again that he was a true friend of Israel, FM Liberman said. He added that the Polish president’s role in formulating strong strategic relations between Israel and Poland will be remembered for many years to come.

FM Liberman said in an interview on REKA Radio:

"Yesterday’s tragedy sent the international community into a state of shock. Firstly, never has there been a precedent of a state’s leader and many of its top-echelon officials dying in a plane crash. Secondly, the historical analogy of so many Polish leaders being killed in almost the exact same location 70 years after the Katyn massacre had a powerful shock factor. And, of course, Kaczyński’s own personality… He carved out a big career for himself. His life was amazing, starting with the human rights dissident movement in Poland, including the Solidarity movement. and his confrontation with Marshal Jaruzelski.

I last met him about a month and a half ago, at President Yanukovych’s inauguration in Kiev. He showed great interest in the progress of our relations with the former Warsaw Pact states and the countries of eastern and central Europe. He supported the idea of developing those relations and as, a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people, he followed all the latest events. He was closely monitoring our recent events and was concerned about them. Of course the loss of such a friend and such an international personality is a big shock to us."

PM Netanyahu expresses profound grief over Polish tragedy
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Government of Israel and the people of Israel express their deep sorrow over the tragedy in which Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, senior members of the Polish government, army and all of the members of the Polish delegation lost their lives.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "We share in the profound grief of the Polish people over the loss of President Kaczynski, his wife and all of the members of the Polish delegation. I knew President Kaczynski as a Polish patriot, as a great friend of Israel and as a leader who was very active on behalf of his people and for advancing peace and prosperity in the world. We recently met in Warsaw, in January of this year, within the framework of  the events commemorating 65 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz camp and International Holocaust Day. President Kaczynski led an important process for opening a new page in relations between the Polish and Jewish people and developed Polish-Israeli relations. During this painful hour we bow our heads, together with all of the citizens of Israel, over the huge loss to the Polish people and to all nations that seek freedom and peace."

IDF Chief of the General Staff expresses condolences to Polish military
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)

The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi expressed his deepest condolences to the Polish military this evening, to its General Staff and to the family of the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, General Franciszek Gagor who was killed in the devastating plane crash today, April 10th 2010.

The Chief of the General Staff said: "Over the past three years, I met with the Chief of Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, General Gagor, a number of times, during personal meetings that took place between us, during a NATO conference in Brussels and in Warsaw, where he hosted me during the March of the Living. I met a commander, an amazing military man, who integrated his army in the NATO pact.

It especially touched my heart, his great interest in the journey of military officers to concentration camps in Poland in the framework of the Witnesses in Uniform program.  We discussed this at length and it was very important to him that young IDF officers meet with young officers in the Polish Armed Forces and get to know the new generation who is educated about the Holocaust.

In the name of the Israel Defense Forces, in the name of the General Staff and myself, I share the grief felt by the Polish nation and the grief of the Polish military and its commanders."