Bill Clinton, Obama Join Dozens of Leaders at Peres Funeral

It was Israel's biggest gathering of leaders since 1995
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 30, 2016 5:44 AM CDT
Updated Sep 30, 2016 6:28 AM CDT
World Leaders Gather for Shimon Peres Funeral
Bill Clinton touches the coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres after delivering his eulogy.   (Abir Sultan, Pool via AP)

Shimon Peres was laid to rest in Jerusalem Friday in a ceremony attended by thousands of admirers and dozens of international dignitaries—a final tribute to a man who personified the history of Israel during a remarkable seven-decade political career and who came to be seen by many as a potent symbol of hopes of Mideast peace. President Obama, Bill Clinton, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas headlined a long list of world leaders who converged on Israel's national cemetery, Mount Herzl, for the event, the AP reports. In a nod to the Palestinian leader, Abbas had a front-row seat at the memorial service for Peres, who died Wednesday at the age of 93.

In an emotional eulogy, Clinton described Peres as a "wide champion of our common humanity." He described a warm, 25-year friendship and recalled a meeting with Peres where Israeli and Arab children sang John Lennon's "Imagine." Obama, visiting Israel for the second time as president, hailed Peres as a man who saw "all people as deserving of dignity and respect" and understood the Palestinians must be seen as equal in dignity to Jews and therefore must be equal in self-determination. The funeral was Israel's largest gathering of international dignitaries since the 1995 funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon's partner in peace, who was killed by a Jewish nationalist. (More Shimon Peres stories.)

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