TEL AVIV (Jul. 14)
The special plane bearing the body of Eliezer Kaplan Israel Deputy Premier and former Minister of Finance who died in Genoa yesterday morning, landed at Lydda airport at 4 P.M. today. The funeral will be held in Jerusalem tomorrow.
The plane was picked up far over the Mediterranean Sea by an escort of four Air Force fighter planes. Waiting on the ground were Premier David Ben Gurion, Acting President Joseph Sprinzak, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Yigal Yadin, members of the Cabinet and Knesset, and hundreds of other leaders of Israel’s political, economic and social life.
The Premier and Minister of Trade Dov Joseph entered the plane to pay their respects to their friend and colleague, then eight Army majors carried the coffin down from the plane and placed it on a special truck. Detachments of the Army, Navy, Air Force and police presented arms as the coffin was brought from the plane and placed at rest on the truck and a wreath from Premier Alcide de Gasperi of Italy was laid on top. Then the truck began its slow three-mile trip to Tel Aviv along a road lined with thousands upon thousands of immigrants whose arrival in this country was in part made possible by Mr. Kaplan’s stringent fiscal policies.
BODY LAYS IN STATE IN PREMIER’S OFFICE
In the city itself thousands more stood silently in the streets and watched the coffin make its way to the Histadrut headquarters where the procession halted for a few minutes. Then it proceeded to Jerusalem where the Premier and few former colleagues had chosen a burial plot in the Mt. Heral cemetery. The remains will lay in state in the Premier’s office in Jerusalem tonight where it will be guarded by a special honor guard of police and members of the staff of the Finance Ministry, which Mr. Kaplan headed from the state’s inception until a few weeks ago.
Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, who was in Paris when the news of Mr. Kaplan’s death broke and who rushed to Genoa immediately, accompanied the body to Tel Aviv. On the same plane were Mrs. Kaplan and their two daughters, all of whom were on route to Switzerland for a vacation when the Deputy Premier collapsed.
A special session of Parliament was held this morning with Speaker Sprinzak and the Premier delivering the eulogies. While the deputies stood in silence and gazed at the black draped chair on the rostrum which Mr. Kaplan had occupied when alive, Ben Gurion, in an emotion-choked voice, said “he was not an easy man to work with” but everybody respected his opinions because they came from “deep and pure conviction.” The Knesset then adjourned until after the funeral tomorrow.