Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hendrikus ( Henk ) Vredeling, 1924 - 2007



A 82-year old man who was a very outspoken politician, and who proved himself to be a true friend of Israel at one of the country's most difficult hours has passed away. After having been active in the Dutch resistance during the war, Henk Vredeling became an agricultural expert. He was a member of parliament for the PvdA ( Labor Party ). In 1973 he was the first socialist ever to become Minister of Defense, in the cabinet of Joop den Uyl. Vredeling later said that he begged to receive another post in the cabinet, because he was "allergic to uniforms", and he could not tell the difference between a lieutenant and a general. During the Yom Kippur War, months after he entered office, he and his State Secretary Bram Stemerdink gave American planes permission to land and refuel in Holland on their way to Israel with weapons and supplies, and the two of them took the initiative for the Netherlands to supply weapons to the Jewish state. All this without the knowledge and approval of PM Den Uyl and Foreign Minister Max van der Stoel. Vredeling's main motive was the dire situation of Israel, and his wish to prevent another Holocaust. Because of the Dutch assistance to Israel the Netherlands were, together with the US, the main target of the Arab oil boycott. Later Mr Vredeling worked as a member of the European Commission.

PS: Here I found some more details about Henk Vredeling. During the Lockheed affair Vredeling was the one who told Prince Bernhard, the husband of Queen Juliana, that he was not allowed anymore to wear a military uniform. He was a heavy ( pipe ) smoker and sometimes drank too much. He loved the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and usually started his day listening to one the recordings from his "enormous" collection of Bach recordings. Friend and foe thought that he was a "kind man with a strong sense of justice".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Israel nowadays defends european values but of course has to make peace with the palestinians.

Terrorisme is no a value but only a destruction and each terrorist has to be persecuted instantly by justice,anywhere every time;

I said instantly and not ten years later.

Mr vredeling was right The question is not to be or not to be but to be right and not to be wrong;