Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said he mourned the death of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“I join the American people in mourning the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the great judicial leaders of our time,” Netanyahu said.
“She was proud of her Jewish heritage and the Jewish people will always be proud of her,” he wrote on Twitter.
Ginsburg succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Friday at the age of 87.
News of her death broke after the start of the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Netanyahu issued his statement shortly after the holiday ended in Israel.
I join the American people in mourning the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the great judicial leaders of our time. She was proud of her Jewish heritage and the Jewish people will always be proud of her.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) September 20, 2020
Ginsburg, from New York, was the first Jewish woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Ginsburg was frank about the importance of Jewish tradition in influencing her life and career, hanging the Hebrew injunction to pursue justice on the walls of her chambers.
“I am a judge, born, raised and proud of being a Jew,” she said in an address to the American Jewish Committee following her 1993 appointment to the court. “The demand for justice runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition.”
In her 27 years on the court, Ginsburg emerged not only as the leader of the court’s liberal wing but as a pop cultural phenomenon and feminist icon.
She won liberal acclaim by penning blistering dissents in high-profile cases concerning birth control, voter ID laws and affirmative action.
Ginsburg attributed her outsider perspective to her Jewish roots, pointing often to her heritage as a building block of her perspective on the bench.
“Laws as protectors of the oppressed, the poor, the loner, is evident in the work of my Jewish predecessors on the Supreme Court,” she wrote in an essay for the American Jewish Committee. “The Biblical command: ‘Justice, justice shalt thou pursue’ is a strand that ties them together.”
Her death ignited a fierce partisan battle between Republicans and Democrats over her replacement, mere weeks before a presidential election, in a nation already frayed by fractured politics, the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic collapse, protests over police violence and environmental disasters.