Deep Emotion Marks Funeral of Moshe Sharett; Buried in Tel Aviv
Menu JTA Search

Deep Emotion Marks Funeral of Moshe Sharett; Buried in Tel Aviv

Download PDF for this date

Moshe Sharett, first Foreign Minister and second Premier of the State of Israel, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel and internationally renowned Zionist leader, was laid to rest this weekend at the tiny “Old Cemetery” here, close by the Mediterranean Sea. The funeral procession, led by Israel’s spiritual, political and military leaders, world Jewish figures and high ranking foreign diplomats, accompanied the beloved Jewish statesman to his final resting place from Jerusalem, where he had died Wednesday; at the age of 70.

As his bier was lowered into the ground, Mr. Sharett’s two sons, Yaacov and Chaim, chanted the Kaddish. Premier Levi Eshkol and Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, threw the first spadefuls of earth into the open grave.

The simplicity of the funeral ceremony was in accordance with Moshe Sharett’s wishes that no eulogies be voiced or undue pomp shown on the occasion of his death. The deep emotion felt by the thousands who lined the funeral procession route was articulated at the cemetery by David Hacohen, leading member of Parliament and life-long friend of Sharett, who, with tears in his eyes, watched the coffin being lowered and cried out: “Shalom, Moshe, Shalom.”

Sharett’s grave lies between the tombs of two old friends and comrades in the struggle to found the Jewish State, Dov Hoz and Eliahu Golomb. Mr. Sharett had requested that he be laid to rest there in a will he signed in 1962.

The funeral cortege accompanying the simple, open, black-shrouded, army car, bearing Mr. Sharett’s coffin draped with the blue-white Israel flag and a talith, included veterans of the Haganah, the Jewish Brigade, young soldiers, kibbutz members, students and members of the nation’s many ethnic communities, attesting to the position of esteem the fallen leader had held in his countrymen’s hearts.

The cortege entered Tel Aviv and proceeded along Herzl Street to Beit Eliahu Golomb on Rothschild Boulevard. There Dr. Baruch Ben Yehuda, prominent Israeli educator and principal of the famous Herzliya Secondary School from which Sharett had graduated with the first class in 1912, read an excerpt from one of Sharett’s speeches. Mr. Sharett’s niece Hilda, an actress and daughter of Sharett’s brother Yehuda, recited a poem by Yehuda Halevi. The cortege then moved down Allendy Road and stopped at the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv where the Army Chief Chaplain, Major General-Rabbi Shlomo Gorsn, offered prayers. Following this the procession arrived at the cemetery.

Before proceeding to Tel Aviv, the cortege had assembled for a brief outdoor ceremony at the Jewish Agency Building in Jerusalem. President Zalman Shazar read the first Psalm instead of delivering the customary eulogy. The procession then stopped briefly in front of the Knesset, Israel’s Praliament, where Speaker Kaddish Luz read two famous speeches by Mr. Sharett. One was his address to the troops of the Jewish Brigade to whom he presented their official flag as they mustered in a camp in Italy prior to joining the Allies in the fight against the Nazis; the other was the speech Sharett made before the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1949, when Israel was admitted to full membership in the world organization.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund