JERUSALEM (Apr. 23)
A special session of Israel’s Cabinet approved today funeral arrangements for Israel’s President, Izhak Ben-Zvi, and appointed a mourning committee. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion presided.
The coffin, accompanied only by the Ben-Zvi family, was moved this afternoon to the Jerusalem Convention Hall where the body will lie in state until tomorrow noon with an honor guard of all the armed services, Thousands of mourners were expected to file past the bier this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow.
From Convention Hall, the coffin will be carried through Jerusalem’s main streets, stopping before the small Rehavia Synagogue where the President went to pray and before the Parliament building where the late President will be eulogized by Speaker Kaddish Luz.
The coffin will be carried part of the way by six army brigadiers and later will be carried on a command car. Five thousand people, representing all walks of life in Israel, will form a procession to accompany the coffin up to the last stage of the trip to the cemetery. For that stage, only a smaller group will be permitted.
The President will be buried not on Mount Herzl but in the general cemetery, Har Hamenuhot (Hill of Repose) in accordance with his last wish. Some time ago, the President acquired a plot in the cemetery, earmarking as a family plot where his father and stepmother lie buried.
BEN-GURION DELIVERS EULOGY AT SPECIAL CABINET SESSION
Prime Minister Ben-Gurion delivered a brief eulogy at the special Cabinet session in which he called the late President the “personification of the unity of Israel, love for Israel and all the finest qualities for which the best of our people have been distinguished since the days of old.”
The Prime Minister said that despite the late President’s “wealth of achievements,” he was “one of the most modest among us. He never tried to push himself forward and, when he was asked to assume some important function, he would express astonishment that he should be called on to carry out that particular task. He did not become arrogant or over-bearing and he performed the services of the Presidency humbly and devotedly with that humility which characterized the whole of his life.”
Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim at a special mourning session of the Rabbinate Council said that the late President’s personality “illuminated the entire House of Israel.”
The official seven-day mourning period will be marked by a 24-hour closing of theatres, cinemas and cafes starting tonight. Israeli vessels on the high seas will cancel music, entertainment and similar activities for the week, and legations abroad will refrain from receptions for the traditional 30-day mourning period.
Flags of all foreign missions and United Nations agencies, whose representatives called at the Presidential residence to pay their respects and condole the bereaved family, will be at half-mast for the week. The Jerusalem consular corps called today on the Government to convey condolences.
Israel’s defense forces were in mourning at all camps and installations. Special torches were lit near the flags with guards of honor present. Starting tomorrow morning and throughout the week, one minute of silent attention will be observed during the regular morning parade.