World leaders attend funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres
(VNF) - World leaders bid farewell to Israeli elder statesman and Nobel Peace laureate Shimon Peres at his funeral in Jerusalem on Friday (September 30th), with US President Barack Obama hailing him as a giant of the 20th century.
More than 70 delegations came to pay their respects, including US President Barack Obama, former US President Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Charles, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, French President Francois Hollande, and German President Joachim Gauck.
In his eulogy, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Peres was a great man of Israel and the world. He said the gathering of world leaders was a testament to Peres’ optimism, quest for peace, and love for Israel.
US President Barack Obama touches the coffin of former Israeli president and Prime Minister Shimon Peres after speaking during his funeral at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl national cemetery. (AFP/Abir Sultan/Pool)
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was among the mourners at Mount Herzl national cemetery and sat in the front row, reportedly at the request of Peres’s family.
Security forces were on high alert, with roads closed and thousands of officers deployed.
Some 70 countries were represented, with the range of leaders illustrating the respect Peres gained over the years in his transformation from hawk to committed peace advocate.
“In many ways he reminded me of some other giants of the 20th century that I had the honour to meet: men like Nelson Mandela, women like Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth,” said Obama, who wore a black Jewish skullcap.
Peres’s death on September 28th at the age of 93 after a major stroke drew tributes from around the world for Israel’s last remaining founding father.
An estimated 50,000 people filed past his coffin as it lay in state outside parliament in Jerusalem on September 29th./.