The body of Shimon Peres lay in state in front of the Knesset on Thursday so that Israel could bid a final farewell to the last of its founding fathers, a man who in his 93 years participated in the rebirth of the Jewish state and nearly every major event to affect her thereafter.
Early in the morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin laid wreaths on Peres’ coffin.
Other government officials followed, including Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein (Likud), who eulogized Peres thus:
“Today I feel that the family which is Israel is not only saying goodbye to another member of the family, but saying goodbye to the patriarch himself. We aren’t only eulogizing the ninth president of the State of Israel in this building, not only a former prime minister, but also a Knesset member who served for an unprecedented period of time – 48 years. I doubt that anyone can beat this record. Shimon Peres’ story is the story of the Nation of Israel of the last 100 years.”
The Israeli public was invited to visit the Knesset Plaza throughout the day to offer their respect and say their final goodbyes. Citizens from across the country were expected to swarm the capital.
On Friday, Peres will be taken to nearby Mt. Herzl to be buried near his long-time political rival and partner, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in a ceremony to be attended by no fewer than 80 world leaders.
PHOTO: The Knesset Honor Guard stands alongside the coffin of former President Shimon Peres in the Knesset Plaza. (FLASH90)