Peres was being laid to rest on Friday in a ceremony attended by
thousands of admirers and dozens of international dignitaries — in a
final tribute to a man who personified the history of Israel during a
remarkable seven-decade political career and who came to be seen by many
as a visionary and symbol of hopes of Mideast peace.
President Barack Obama, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas headlined a long list of world
leaders who converged on Israel’s national cemetery, Mount Herzl, for
the event. In a nod to the Palestinian leader, Abbas sat in the front
row at the memorial service.
funeral was Israel’s largest gathering of international dignitaries
since the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Peres’ partner in
peace, who was killed by a Jewish nationalist in 1995. The funeral
created numerous logistical and security challenges, and roads,
including the main highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, were closed.
casket lay in state on Thursday outside the parliament building, where
thousands of people, including Clinton, came to pay their respects.
Early Friday, an honor guard escorted the casket, together with Peres’
family, along the short route to the cemetery.
the funeral, the casket was led to the gravesite carried by eight
members of an honor guard and led by soldiers carrying wreaths.
Netanyahu and Obama chatted along the way, also talking with Peres’
Israeli flag was removed from the casket as it was lowered into the
ground in a plot alongside two other prime ministers, Rabin and Yitzhak
dignitaries seated around, soldiers passed bags of dirt to each other
to cover the casket, and a military cantor recited the prayer for the
dead. After it was in the ground, it was covered in wreaths. (AP)
Photos: (from top left) REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (2), REUTERS/Baz Ratner, REUTERS/Amir Cohen, REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (2), REUTERS/Amir Cohen