Israel’s political leaders praised Yitzhak Shamir’s steadfastness and commitment to the Jewish State as they laid the seventh prime minister of Israel to rest Monday afternoon.
Shamir, who died on Saturday at 96, was buried at the national cemetery at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
“Israel and the Jewish people always stood at the head of his interests,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a eulogy. “He had deep feeling within him, but was at his core a man of action.”
Hundreds followed the funeral procession from the Knesset to the Mount Herzl national cemetery to bid Shamir farewell.
President Shimon Peres, whose leftist views often clashed with Shamir’s hard-line stances, praised the seventh prime minister for his bravery in helping build the Jewish State.
“Yitzhak Shamir was a fighter. For his people. For his country. For his way,” he said. “Many times we were at odds with one another. Our positions on the regional situation were different. But the two of us were convinced that we both were working as Israelis devoted to their country and who love their land.”
Shamir’s son Yair Shamir also spoke, as did Yair Stern, son of Avraham Stern, who headed the underground militia Shamir fought with in pre-state days.
Shamir’s casket sat in state in Knesset’s Chagall hall Monday morning, where it remained until the funeral.
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 was 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 brief ceremony earlier Monday, 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.”