Israel Mourns King Hussein
February 7, 1999

Special Cabinet Communique – Death of King Hussein
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

The Government of Israel convened this afternoon (Sunday), 7.2.99, in special session, after learning of the death of King Hussein. At the meeting, in accordance with the proposal of the Prime Minister, it was decided that:

1. With respect and profound appreciation for His Majesty King Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in memory of the builder of peace with Israel, and in shared grief with Crown Prince Abdullah, Queen Noor, the Royal family and the people of Jordan, all Israeli Government offices will lower their flags to half- mast during the King’s funeral.

The Interior Minister will see to the implementation of this decision.

2. The following death announcement, as approved by the Cabinet, will be issued:

The citizens and Government of Israel mourn the passing of His Majesty King Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Builder of the peace with Israel and express their profound grief and condolences to King Abdullah, Queen Noor, the children of King Hussein, the Royal Family and the Jordanian People.

President Weizman Mourns King Hussein
(Communicated by President’s Spokeswoman)

In the wake of King Hussein of Jordan’s death, President Ezer Weizman’s office released the following statement by the President:

"My wife Reuma and I, and all the people of Israel, mourn the untimely death of His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal, who passed away after a severe illness. We send our sincere sympathy to his widow, Queen Noor, to his children, to the family of the Hashemite Kingdom and to all the people of Jordan.

King Hussein was one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, a brave soldier who fought for peace, a clever and warm-hearted man, and the symbol of good neighborly relations. The people of Israel lament the death of a great friend, a courageous Arab leader, a man who was worthy of esteem and free of hatred, and a very human person, who was not afraid to take the long and difficult path to peace.

We, in Israel, and in the whole Middle East are obliged to continue his legacy, and I am sure that, together with Crown Prince Abdullah, we will persevere along this road. The State of Israel seeks peace and I, as its President, will do my utmost to ensure it.

The memory and legacy of the King will always be with us."

Prime Minister Netanyahu on the Passing of King Hussein of Jordan
(Communicated by Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The government and people of Israel bow their heads in grief over the passing of King Hussein, a courageous leader, a loyal friend, a maker of peace with Israel.

King Hussein was one of the few leaders who was recognized even in his lifetime as a historic figure. He will be remembered as the creator of modern Jordan, as a major architect of peace in the Middle East. He will always be remembered as one of the giants of the second half of the 20th century.

Hussein was committed to a vision of peace, for Jordan and Israel, for the entire Middle East. He sought to transform endemic strife to enduring reconciliation. It was clear to all that when he shook the hand of our prime minister, the late Yitzhak Rabin, he felt that he had reached a long-sought goal, to which he had dedicated his life. He called me a few days before the peace treaty was signed, wanting to know whether I, then head of the opposition, would support the agreement. I told him that I would do it with unbounded enthusiasm. The people of Israel, I said, are united in the wish for a true and lasting peace.

On the personal level there was no one more gracious, considerate and kind; no one more hospitable and generous; no one more capable of understanding and empathy. The people of Israel will never forget his visit to the bereaved families of Beit Shemesh. Coming to ask forgiveness for a heinous act of terror, he knelt before parents mourning their slain young daughters, tears in his eyes, words of comfort and condolence on his lips. It was an act of greatness of a great man, a man who knew war and grew to hate it, a man who tasted violence and vowed to banish it. He was an apostle of good will, a visionary with a healthy grasp of the real, a dreamer with a thorough understanding of the possible, a man of infinite courage who craved peace with all his soul.

In the difficult moments of the talks at Wye River, he came to inspire us while struggling for his life. He did not intervene in the talks, but his brave and touching presence served as a symbol of the longing for peace.

Above all – he was a human being, a king who never let the aura of legends obscure his concern for his people. He loved them and reached out for them, and they returned his love. Those who cherish peace will miss him. Those who want a better world will be guided by his memory. We are certain that his son Abdullah will continue in his way and strengthen the peace between us.

We all extend our condolences and deep sympathy to Queen Noor, to King Abdullah, the Royal family and the Jordanian people.

With great sadness we bid farewell to you, king and friend. The peace between our peoples will be a testament to your abiding belief in lasting peace among the sons of Abraham.

Rest in peace, Your Majesty.

Foreign Minister Sharon Statement on the Death of King Hussein
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Upon learning of the death of King Hussein of Jordan today (Sunday), 7.2.99, Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon said that the Middle East and the entire world have lost a great leader, and the State of Israel has lost a genuine friend. Foreign Minister Sharon extended his condolences to Queen Noor, Crown Prince Abdullah, the Jordanian royal family and the Jordanian people.

The State of Israel and its people have come to know and admire King Hussein, and the sorrow felt in Israel is great. Despite the sadness of the day, Foreign Minister Sharon emphasized, we must continue to strengthen the friendship between Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan. He added that he is certain that Crown Prince Abdullah, who today assumes power and responsibility for the affairs of Jordan, will continue to serve as a stabilizing factor, contributing to peace in the Middle East as did his father, the late King Hussein.

DM Arens Mourns King Hussein
(Communicated by Defense Minister’s Media Advisor)

Today (Sunday) 7.2.99, Defense Minister Moshe Arens, together with the defense establishment and the IDF, bows his head at the loss of the outstanding leader and fighter for peace, King Hussein of Jordan.

The people of Israel, along with all the peoples of the region, share in mourning the untimely death of the king. The defense establishment has in recent years found in King Hussein a full partner in the mission of maintaining regional stability, the ensuring of security and the advancement of peace, for the benefit of both countries.

Defense Minister Arens is sure that King Abdullah will continue the policies initiated by his father, and thus ensure continued friendly relations between the two countries.

Knesset Speaker Tichon Sends Condolences to Jordan
(Communicated by the Knesset Spokesman)

Knesset Speaker Dan Tichon today (Sunday) 7.2.99 delivered a message of condolence on the death of King Hussein:

The Israeli Knesset bows its head in great sorrow over the death of King Hussein of Jordan. This courageous man is no longer with us and this grieves us greatly. Our neighbors, the Jordanian people, have lost a great leader. We have lost a wonderful friend, a true friend. When he chose peace, he did not allow the window of opportunity to close. He was a staunch defender of peace, and was not deterred by those who opposed it. We will greatly miss this rare man, whom we loved so much.

Israelis Honor King Hussein

Ruhama Cohen of Beit Shemesh, whose daughter Keren was among the seven school girls killed by shots fired by a Jordanian soldier in Naharayim in March 1997, gave birth yesterday to a daughter. The parents decided to name her Yarden (Hebrew for Jordan), to honor King Hussein, then in critical condition. The Cohen family, like the other families of the victims of the Naharayim attack, had been deeply touched by the personal condolence calls paid by the late King to the families in their homes. (Full story – Jerusalem Post).

Other news stories:

 Israel Mourns King Hussein

 Weizman to lead Israel’s funeral delegation
   – Jerusalem Post, Feb 8, 1999

 Israel Mourns King Hussein

 Youths light candles at Kikar Rabin
   – Jerusalem Post, Feb 8, 1999

 Israel Mourns King Hussein

 Naharayim victims’ families: He was a king, but also a human being
   – Jerusalem Post, Feb 8, 1999