Funeral Procession for Sharett Today in Jerusalem; Burial in Tel Aviv
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Funeral Procession for Sharett Today in Jerusalem; Burial in Tel Aviv

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Thousands of Israelis mourning the death of their leader Moshe Sharett today marched silently by the bier on which his body was lying in state in the court-yard of the Jewish Agency headquarters, while plans were completed for his funeral tomorrow which will start which will start with services in Jerusalem and conclude with burial in a Tel Aviv cemetery chosen by the late leader, prior to his death, as his last resting place.

The Israeli flag flew at half-mast throughout the country, by orders of the Ministry of the Interior. Deep grief was noticed everywhere over the passing of the man who had served as Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, concluding a long career of public service at the age of 70, as chairman of the Jewish Agency executive.

In the Keren Rayesod Auditorium at the Jewish Agency premises this morning, outstanding leaders gathered for a brief but touching memorial meeting. Here were many of his fellow-leaders in the cause of Zionism and Israel–President Zalman Shazar, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization. From this hall, the Government-owned radio broadcast the eulogies, and the nation heard the President declare of Sharett: “He was the most beloved of all Israelis–beloved by all people.”

As the leaders walked out to the court-yard, they took positions as a guard of honor. They were joined by Kaddish Luz, Speaker of the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament), where Mr. Sharett had served since the new State’s parliament was established in 1948; Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Nissim and Isser Yehuda Unterman; Shimon Agranat, president of the Israeli Supreme Court; Jerusalem Mayor Mordechai Ish-Shalom, Yaacov Tsur, world chairman of the Jewish National Fund and Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin, Then the gates were opened, and in orderly fields the Israelis among the huge crowds outside began passing the bier.

An emotion-charged scene was enacted in the Knesset, where Speaker Luz opened the day’s proceedings by reading Sharett’s first speech before the first Knesset session, delivered in 1948. The House then adjourned for 15 minutes in respect to the memory of its veteran member.

The mourning throughout the country started yesterday, as soon as it was announced that Sharett had died. Reverberations of shock and grief were felt from around the world. Messages of condolence came from virtually every country on the globe, not only from Jews but from many other sources. Mourning services were held in many parts of Israel. One such meeting was addressed at Tel Aviv by former Prime Minster David Ben-Gurion who referred to Mr. Sharett as “one of the greatest figures of our generation whose name will never be forgotten in the history of the Jewish people.”


The obsequies-tomorrow are to start in the morning. With all who had made up today’s guard of honor plus other Sharett associates, forming before the bier, brief religious services will be conducted by the two chief rabbis who had issued a formal decree of mourning earlier today. Then the cortege will proceed afoot to the street facing the Knesset.

There, Speaker Luz will read from two famous speeches by Mr. Sharett. One will be his address to the troops of the Jewish Brigade, to whom he presented their official flag as they mustered in a camp in Italy to help the Allied armies win the war against Nazism. The other will be the Sharett speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations, after the Assembly had admitted Israel to membership in the UN.

All members of Israel’s Cabinet, Supreme Court and the Knesset will join the cortege, proceeding to Jerusalem’s Convention Hall. Then the funeral will proceed to Tel Aviv, where religious services will be held in front of the Great Synagogue.

Here, many thousands will join the procession. These will include veterans of the Haganah (the pre-State, Jewish defense force), veterans of the Jewish Brigade and of other Jewish units who fought on the Allied side in World War II, representatives of settlements throughout the country, delegations of Jewish immigrant groups in Israel, and pupils of the Herzliyan Secondary School of Tel Aviv. Mr. Sharett, a student at that school, was a member of its first graduating class.

From that point, the route will be toward Tel Aviv’s old cemetery. Only members of the family and close friends and colleagues will be admitted to the cemetery. Mr. Sharett will be brought to his last resting place in a grave next to the burial sites of two brothers-in-law and old friends and colleagues of the pre-State days of Zionism, the Jewish settlement in Palestine, and Haganah. In a will in 1962, he had made that request. He will lie next to the men he named: Dov Hoz and Eliahu Golomb.

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