Thousands of people attended the funeral of Israel’s ninth president and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who passed away this week at the age of 93. Arutz Sheva provided live coverage for the entire funeral.
President Reuven Rivlin eulogized Peres, in addition to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
Peres’s children – Yoni and Chemi Peres and Prof. Tsvia Walden – eulogized their father as well, as did author Amos Oz, a personal friend of Peres. Singer David D'Or performed "Avinu Malkeinu" as requested by Peres himself.
Rivlin eulogized Peres, "I am speaking to you, 'president to president,' for the last time. As I speak, my eyes are searching for you. Our beloved brother, our eldest brother, you are no longer here. ... Few of those among us understand, and many more will write, about how many mountains you moved from 1948 until today, in order to protect Israel's security and our army's superiority.
"Who can understand how deep your belief was...how much you believed that Israel must be clever but also right, and faithful to her values - as Jewish democratic state and a democratic Jewish state - at all times."
Rivlin added, "This is a sad day, Shimon, it's a sad day. Your journey of dreams began in Vishnyeva, Poland, and ended in Jerusalem, our capital city. She, too, is a dream which became reality. Your death is a huge personal and national loss; it ends an era, an era of giants, whose life story is the story of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel."
Prime Minister Netanyahu also eulogized Peres, saying, "He was a key partner in the revival of the Jewish nation. Peres flew on the wings of a vision, but he knew that his flight took him over the bumps of politics."
Netanyahu turned to the participating world leaders, saying, "You came to Jerusalem from near and far, to honor one of Israel's founding fathers, one of the leaders who created our nation. Shimon Peres was amazing, he was a full partner in the revival of the Jewish nation."
He added, "It's no secret that Shimon and I were political enemies, but over the years we became close friends."
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said, "Your words, Shimon, were always exact. Your sentences were perfectly formed, as befits a man of your stature. But you were exceptional: Your words were not a substitute for deeds. You never made do with only words. You merited to become one of Israel's great founders, forming our country's face, strength, and character."
Edelstein continued, "While I was still a refusenik, my mother told me during a rare family visit, how worried you were about me, and how you were working to free me. She spoke to me in code. You proved again and again how great our nation is, despite our geographic and demographic limitations."
"We learned from you not to give up, not to despair. You were a lighthouse of optimism; you put everything in proportion. Your dream was to be a shepherd, and you fulfilled your dream. You were a shepherd leading the way; you served for 48 years in the Knesset. You were Knesset Chair, and you were part of the Knesset's essence," he said.
Former US president Bill Clinton also eulogized Peres, saying, "For more than 70 years, Peres served the Israeli public. I was honored to share more than 25 of those years with him, first in an attempt to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians and then as good friends. I was always amazed at his ability to utilize every opportunity of every day.
"Peres was someone who you could listen to and laugh with. He was able to ignore the worst possibilities and look forward to the best. I feel honored that the family has asked me to speak about his importance. I received much inspiration from Shimon Peres, and he touched many hearts," Clinton concluded.
Tsvia Walden, Peres' daughter, said, "I say goodbye to two people today: To Peres, Shimon, the honorable president; and to the person my mother called 'Bujik' and I called 'Dad.'
"The world will remember determined Peres, who never stopped, who continued to run despite the obstacles and falls along the way. My memories of him are of Friday night (Shabbat) meals in our home, when he was the first to stand for the Kiddush ceremony."
Walden added, "Dad, you were 'one who desired life,' who was 'strong as a lion' to serve his G-d, and ran forward. You deserve a proper rest."
US President Barack Obama eulogized Peres as well, saying, "I was the tenth American president to meet Peres, and the tenth to be enchanted by him."
According to Obama, Abbas' presence at the funeral is an important reminder for all of us.
"The Jewish nation was not created in order to rule over another nation. Peres insisted that the 'Palestinians' be equal to the Jews in every way, and that they should live in a 'Palestinian' country," he claimed.
"There is no greater honor for me than to say goodbye to Shimon Peres here in Jerusalem. Peres showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea," Obama said.
He added that, "Peres did not merit to see his vision of peace become reality."
Turning to Peres' coffin, Obama said in Hebrew, "Toda raba, haver yakar [thank you so much, dear friend]."