President Peres’ last voyage: thousands visit his casket to pay last respects

The casket of former President Shimon Peres was moved early this morning from the Tzrifin state military cemetery to Jerusalem, accompanied by a security escort, to lie in state at Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Before masses of people were allowed to enter the premise to pay their last respects, Israel’s leaders including President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid wreaths in a show of respect to the elder statesman who served in Israel’s leadership since the state’s inception.

Shimon Peres will be buried tomorrow on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, with a ceremony scheduled to commence at noon, with dozens of world leaders in attendance, including US President Barack Obama, Former President Bill Clinton, Prince Charles and the King of Spain among others.

Leaders around the world eulogized the 93 years old man, who served both as Israel’s President and Prime Minister and was a significant political leader for more than 70 years. In Washington, for the sixth time in History, flags were lowered to half-mast for a foreign statesman. US Secretary of State John Kerry reflected on Peres’ contributions to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East.

“He dedicated his life to the cause of an Israel that would be safe and secure and democratic and free and the home land of the Jewish people and I he never lost that vision and so many times when I was traveling over there so frequently to meet with the prime minister he would express a frustration frankly with the pace and with the lack of the seizure of opportunities but he always felt restrained and necessarily respectful of the incumbent prime minister having been the prime minister himself. So he never inserted himself in appropriately in the dialogue, but I can tell you he was impatient for peace for his country and impatient for the lost grabbed opportunities that were passing by,” said Kerry.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also eulogized Shimon Peres. In a letter he sent to Israel’s leadership, he referred to Peres as the most authoritative politician,” a man Putin said, he “admired.”