Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday eulogized former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who died earlier in the day at the age of 91 in a Cairo hospital.
“On behalf of the citizens and government of Israel, I would like to express deep sorrow on the passing of President Hosni Mubarak,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
“President Mubarak, my personal friend, was a leader who led his people to peace and security, to peace with Israel. I met with him many times. I was impressed by his commitment; we will continue to follow this common path.”
Netanyahu added that he sends condolences to Egypt’s current president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, as well as to Mubarak’s family and to the Egyptian people.
The Israeli prime minister was one of the first international leaders to comment on Mubarak’s passing.
Israel’s embassy in Cairo took to Twitter to express “great sadness” at the former president’s death.
The former Egyptian president maintained close ties with all Israeli leaders. His last meeting with Netanyahu, in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, took place in January 2011 — about a month before he was deposed.
Mubarak rose to power after Islamic extremists assassinated his predecessor Anwar Sadat, then steered the nation through the turmoil that buffeted the Middle East with wars, terrorism and religious extremism.
Mubarak, who served as president 1981-2011, maintained a cool peace with Israel and kept Egypt relatively free of the grip of Islamic extremism. He engineered Egypt’s return to the Arab fold after nearly a decade in the cold over its 1979 peace treaty with Israel.