Israelis on Thursday paid their respects to Haim Gouri, the veteran poet, novelist, journalist, and filmmaker, with President Reuven Rivlin hailing him as the “the national poet of our age.”
His body first lay in state at the Jerusalem Theater before being driven through the streets of Jerusalem in a funeral procession until it reached the city’s Har Hamenuhot cemetery.
Eulogizing Gouri in front of the Jerusalem Theatre, President Reuven Rivlin called him “the national poet of our age.”
“Not because of the seriousness with which you took your work as a poet, but because of the great respect with which you treated our people, our nation, the State of Israel and your role in it,” the president said.
Gouri passed away Wednesday at the age of 94 and is survived by his wife, three children and six grandchildren.
Culture Minister Miri Regev said Gouri’s death was “a great loss to Israeli culture.”
“I do not think there is anyone in Israeli society who does not know his songs — songs that united the people on Memorial Day,” she said, adding that her office was considering posthumously awarding him a national prize.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1923, Gouri joined the pre-state Palmach paramilitary group in 1941, participating in a number of operations against British Mandate forces stations in then-Palestine and becoming one of the first recruits to complete the elite forces’ commanders course.
Considered the dean of Palmach-era Hebrew verse, his first published book of verse, “Fire Flowers,” detailed his experiences during the war and gave voice to the duality of pain and pride felt by many of Israel’s first soldiers.