Thousands of Officers to Secure Sharon's Funeral
Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will be laid to rest on Monday, in a complex operation that will be secured by some 4,000 police officers.
At 9:30 a.m., a state memorial ceremony for Sharon, who died Saturday at age 85, will be held at the Knesset. President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will speak.
Following the state memorial ceremony, Sharon’s coffin will be taken to the Shikmim Farm in southern Israel. The convoy will stop for a short ceremony at Latrun before continuing for a military funeral at 2:00 p.m. at the Shikmim Farm.
During the funeral, Sharon's sons Omri and Gilad will speak, as will IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. The Chief Military Rabbi, Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz, will read a chapter from the book of Psalms and the Chief Military Cantor, Shai Abramson, will recite the “El Malei Rachamim" memorial prayer. Sharon will be buried alongside his late wife, Lilly.
On Sunday, Israelis were given the chance to pay their last respect to Sharon, as his coffin lay in state at the plaza outside the Knesset.
The funeral, as well as the arrival of delegations from 23 different countries, will result in many road closures throughout Israel on Monday.
The section of Highway 1 between the Ben Gurion Airport and Jerusalem will be blocked to traffic between 6:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Monday morning, as the convoy of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden comes through. As of the morning hours there will be no movement of heavy vehicles on Highway 1 in both directions, and traffic will be directed to Highway 443.
Starting at 11:00 a.m. Monday morning, as the convoy carrying Sharon’s coffin makes its way towards the Shikmim Farm, the following roads will be blocked to traffic: Highway 1 from Sakharov Gardens to Latrun; Highway 3 from the Latrun Interchange to the Sorek Interchange; Highway 6 South from the Sorek Interchange to Highway 40; Highway 40 up to the Beit Kama junction; Route 293 up to the Sdeh Tzvi junction; and Route 334 up to the Shikmim Farm.
The Iron Dome anti-missile system will also be on alert during the funeral, in case Gaza Arab terrorists decide to fire rockets at the Negev as Sharon is being buried.
The funeral will take place in an area of the Negev where Hamas rockets are able to reach, and have struck in the past. Israeli officials expressed concern Sunday night that Hamas terrorists would “salute” Sharon with rocket attacks on the area.