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Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

In 1983, she told leaders of the Soviet Jewry movement that she would do “absolutely everything” to support their cause, which dovetailed with her revulsion of communism. Thatcher did not shy away from taking on Israeli leaders. She tussled with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin over his refusal to deal with Palestinian leaders, calling him the “most difficult” man she had to deal with, and pressed Reagan to deal with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, who dealt with Thatcher when he served as prime minister in the 1980s, said her strength served as an example.

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“She showed how far a person can go with strength of character, determination and a clear vision,” he said.

(JTA)

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