World leaders, dignitaries and royalty from 70 countries attended the state funeral of Israel’s ninth president, Shimon Peres, in Jerusalem on Friday. They joined thousands of Israelis and Peres family members to pay their last respects to the Nobel Peace Prize winner who died aged 93 on Wednesday.
A tireless campaigner for Middle East peace who remained energetic until the final days of his seven decades in public life, the Polish-born soldier-turned-statesman was praised for his tireless engagement.
President Reuven Rivlin, among the first to speak at the service, said: “You were not only a man of vision, you were a man of deeds. You had the ability to conceive what seemed to be the inconceivable, and see it to fruition
“You strived until your final breaths to reach the pinnacle of the Zionist dream: an independent, sovereign state, existing in peace with our neighbours. Yet you also knew that true peace could only be achieved from a position of strength, and you were sure to secure the path to this goal.”
Mr. Peres moved with his family in the 1930s to then British-ruled Palestine and was part of almost every major political development in Israel from its founding in 1948. He served in a dozen cabinets and was twice prime minister, though he never won a general election.
Mr. Peres was first elected to parliament in 1959 and, barring a brief interlude in early 2006, held his seat for 48 years, before becoming president in 2007.
The extraordinary turnout for his funeral was evidence of his wider impact on global affairs although the rulers of Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel, in 1979 and 1994, were absent. But the Egyptian foreign minister came and King Abdullah of Jordan sent a telegram of condolences.
Britain’s Prince Charles, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former British leaders David Cameron and Tony Blair also were at the funeral.
A selection of pictures appears below that captures the day’s solemn events.
You can see raw video of the day’s events below: