Funeral for Shimon Peres in Israel

Dignitaries have been seated at the funeral on Friday for Shimon Peres, expected to be Israel’s largest since that of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Peres’s partner in peace who was slain by a Jewish nationalist in 1995. 

Peres’s office expected 90 delegations from 70 countries, including U.S. President Barack Obama, French President François Hollande, German President Joachim Gauck, Prince Charles of Britain and King Felipe VI of Spain.

The Canadian delegation includes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former prime ministers Stephen Harper and Jean Chrétien, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and interim federal Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose.

Peres died Wednesday at the age of 93. He had suffered a stroke earlier in the month.

Mideast Israel Peres Funeral

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, centre, attends the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Mount Herzel national cemetery in Jerusalem. (Ariel Schalit/The Associated Press)

A military honour guard took Peres’s casket from the parliament building Friday and escorted it and his family to a waiting vehicle. The honor guard recited “Kaddish,” the Jewish prayer for the dead.

The casket then made the short journey to Mount Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery, where Peres is to be buried alongside most of the country’s past leaders.

A protege of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father and first prime minister, Peres served in parliament for nearly half a century, held every major Cabinet post — including defence, finance and foreign affairs, and served three brief stints as prime minister. He was the country’s elder statesman as its ceremonial president between 2007 and 2014.

Peres shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in reaching an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians, alongside late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and former PM Rabin.

Former president U.S. Bill Clinton, who helped host the signing of the peace agreement at the White House, arrived Thursday in Jerusalem and was among thousands who paid respects to the casket of Peres in the plaza outside the Knesset.


Family members walk behind the coffin of former Israeli premier Shimon Peres carried by members of the parliamentary guards at the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, at the start of his funeral in Jerusalem on Friday. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP/Getty Images)

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