Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mourned Thursday the death of the US conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh in a tweet from his official account.
“I send my heartfelt condolences to the family of Rush Limbaugh,” Netanyahu wrote.
Though Limbaugh was not focused on foreign policy, he was still staunchly pro-Israel, seeing the country as an ally against terrorism. Netanyahu said, “He was a great friend of Israel and he stood by us through thick and thin, always firm, never wavering.”
“We shall miss him dearly,” Netanyahu said.
In 2001, Limbaugh urged the George W. Bush administration to allow Israel to crush its enemies, citing America’s own suffering following the 9/11 attacks that year.
“Bush is right about ‘defeating’ the Taliban, al Qaeda and other terrorist networks,” Limbaugh wrote at the time. “It is, therefore, necessary that in the pursuit of real and lasting peace, Israel also be free to destroy its enemies — meaning the terrorists and, yes, their sponsors, who are at war with her, and that she do so before they obtain devastating weapons of mass destruction.”
I send my heartfelt condolences to the family of Rush Limbaugh. He was a great friend of Israel and he stood by us through thick and thin, always firm, never wavering. We shall miss him dearly.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) February 18, 2021
Limbaugh died at the age of 70 Wednesday of lung cancer. He had announced the diagnosis in February 2020.
Zev Chafets, a Jewish biographer who earned rare access to Limbaugh for his 2010 book “An Army of One,” said Limbaugh’s outsize influence and his friendliness with Israel set an example for other talk radio conservatives.
Unflinchingly conservative, wildly partisan, bombastically self-promoting and larger than life, Limbaugh galvanized listeners for more than 30 years with his talent for vituperation and sarcasm.
He called himself an entertainer, but his rants during his three-hour weekday radio show broadcast on nearly 600 US stations shaped the national political conversation, swaying ordinary Republicans and the direction of their party.
Blessed with a made-for-broadcasting voice, he delivered his opinions with such certainty that his followers, or “Ditto-heads,” as he dubbed them, took his words as sacred truth.
“In my heart and soul, I know I have become the intellectual engine of the conservative movement,” Limbaugh, with typical immodesty, told Chafets in the 2010 book.
Forbes magazine estimated his 2018 income at $84 million, ranking him behind only Howard Stern among radio personalities.