Lithuania’s Grybauskaitė extends condolences on passing of Israeli former president

Yitzhak Navon (right) with Jimmy Carter in 1979

“Having served his nation for many years with strong commitment and responsibility, President Yitzhak Navon will forever stay in the hearts of the people of Israel as a deeply respected and loved leader. His political, public and educational activities promoted peace and built bridges between the people of different nationalities and faiths in Israel,” the president wrote in her message of condolences addressed to current Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Grybauskaite offered condolences to Yitzhak Navon’s family and friends and to the people of Israel.

Yitzhak Navon, who served as the 5th President of the State of Israel, from 1978 to 1983, passed away on Saturday, November 07, 2015 at the age of 94. His funeral took place on Sunday, November 08, 2015 on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.

According to a press release of the Israeli Embassy in Vulnius, through the years Navon combined public activity, political activity and writing, which centered mostly on preserving the cultural heritage of Sephardic and Mizrachi Jewry. In 1978 he was elected to serve as the fifth president of the State of Israel. He served in office until 1983.

During his presidency, he strove to act as a bridge between Israel’s ethnic groups, religious and secular, Sephardim and Ashkenazim, left and right, Jews and Arabs and to allay high tensions following the evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Sinai Peninsula pursuant to the peace agreement with Egypt.

One of the highlights of his term of office was his state visit to Egypt in 1980 at the invitation of President Anwar Sadat. He impressed his hosts with his eloquent Arabic, breaking the ice and demolishing stereotypes of Israelis and Jews as a “foreign element” to the region.

After finishing his term he returned to public and political activity. His other high posts include prime minister’s chief of staff, minister of education, Knesset member and chairman of the Zionist Executive Committee.

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