The casket of former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir was placed in the Knesset’s Chagall state hall Monday morning, where it will rest until he is taken to burial at the Mount Herzl plot dedicated to leaders of the nation in the afternoon.
Members of the public were granted access to the Knesset to pay their respects to Israel’s seventh prime minister, who died on Saturday night at the age of 96. Normal Knesset activity has been rescheduled.
Kohanim who work in the Knesset building were excused from work Monday. These members of Judaism’s priestly caste are prohibited by Jewish law from proximity to a dead body.
In a short ceremony, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin eulogized Shamir, who had also served as Speaker, calling him an “unbreakable rock of stability.”
“Nothing could divert you from your path. Only one small weakness nibbled at you — love. Love of nation, homeland, your children and your Shlomit,” said Rivlin. “You did not act for your own personal good. Even the party or the movement weren’t your top priority. If you saw that the good of the homeland demanded concessions, you made them.”
At 4 p.m. the Knesset will close its doors to visitors and Shamir’s body will be taken to Mount Herzl. The funeral will take place at 6 p.m., attended by state and military leaders and international dignitaries.