Shimon Peres funeral: ‘Israel grieves for him’

Updated 12:27 PM EDT, Fri September 30, 2016
(CNN) —  

The body of former Israeli Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres was laid to rest Friday in a funeral attended by world leaders flanked by heavy security.

Early Friday morning, Peres’ casket was loaded onto a hearse for the drive from the Knesset – the Israeli parliament of which he was a member for more than 45 years – to the national cemetery at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl where he was buried.

The key moments

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
  • Obama says presence of Abbas “is a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace.”
  • US President Bill Clinton says Peres “started off life as Israel’s brightest student, became its best teacher, and ended up its biggest dreamer.”
  • Netanyahu on Peres: “Israel grieves for him, the world grieves for him, but we find hope in his legacy, as does the world.”

Former US president Clinton gave a moving eulogy at the ceremony on Mount Herzl.
PHOTO: ABIR SULTAN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Former US president Clinton gave a moving eulogy at the ceremony on Mount Herzl.

World leaders

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will attend the funeral of former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres on Friday, Abbas’ office said.

President Obama took time to greet guests before the ceremony.
PHOTO: THOMAS COEX/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
President Obama took time to greet guests before the ceremony.

A video tweeted by a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed him shaking hands with President Abbas.

The moment appears to have taken place before the two leaders entered the funeral.

Abbas took his seat in the large white tent on Mount Herzl, while Obama sat next to Chemi Peres, one of Shimon Peres’ sons.

Members of the Knesset guard carry the coffin of former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres.
PHOTO: GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Members of the Knesset guard carry the coffin of former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres.

An estimated 25,000 people have already paid respects to Peres, Knesset spokesman Yotam Yakir said about eight hours after the public visitations began.

Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN Thursday that there was “no concrete intelligence whatsoever” about any potential attacks.

Israeli police confirmed in a statement Friday that a right-wing activist was detained for questioning on suspicion of planning to “carry out an action during the funeral of Shimon Peres.”

Police did not identify the suspect, say where the detention took place or what they suspected was planned.

Amanpour: Will peace be buried with Peres?

Obama tribute

In the final eulogy of the service, Obama made reference to the presence of President Abbas, stating it was a “gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace.”

He also said that Peres recognized the need for a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Obama signed off his speech in Hebrew  saying: Todah rabah, chaver yakar -- "thank you, dear friend."
Obama signed off his speech in Hebrew saying: Todah rabah, chaver yakar -- "thank you, dear friend."

“Out of the hardships of the diaspora, he found room in his heart for others who suffered,” Obama said

“Even in the face of terror attacks, even after repeated failures in negotiations, he recognized Palestinian self-determination.

“He believed the Zionist idea would be best protected when Palestinians too had a state of their own.”

Read: Obama mourns Peres, and a bygone Israel

Obama lamented that Peres “never saw his dream of peace fulfilled.”

President Obama sat next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the ceremony.
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
President Obama sat next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the ceremony.

He recalled his time spent with Peres fondly, a man who was continually enthusiastic about his grandchildren, his love of technology and “a love of words and books and history.”

“Shimon showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea,” Obama said.

“A free life in a homeland regained. A secure life in a nation that can defend itself, by itself. A full life in friendship with nations that can be counted on as allies, always.

“This was Shimon Peres’s life. This is the State of Israel. This is the story of the Jewish people during the last century.”

“Great man of Israel”

In his eulogy, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Peres had “lived a life of purpose… he was a great man of Israel, he was a great man of the world.”

He added: “Israel grieves for him, the world grieves for him, but we find hope in his legacy, as does the world.”

Former US president Clinton made an impassioned speech, claiming that Peres’ “critics described him as a naive, over-optimistic dreamer. They were only wrong about the naive part.