Gesture Toward National Unity Seen in State Funeral for Sternists

The re-burial here today with full military honors of the remains of two members of the Stern group for whose bodies Israel released 20 convicted terrorists to Egypt yesterday, was regarded by most observers as a demonstration of national unity by the government at a crucial moment of history for Israel when national unity is essential. It was also seen as a further manifestation of the gradual weakening of the bitter feelings that divided Israelis in the latter years of the Palestine Mandate over the activities of underground militants such as the Sternists who resorted to violence.

Re-interred in the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl this afternoon were Eliahu Hakim and Eliahu Beth Tzuri who were hanged in Cairo in 1945 for the murder of Lord Moyne, the then British Resident Minister in the Middle East. The assassination set off severe repercussions at the time and was condemned by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the world Zionist leader who, three years later, was to become Israel’s first President.

But today Premier Yitzhak Rabin was the first of several hundred Israelis to file past the coffins of the two Sternists which lay in state in the Russian Compound before the funeral procession. The Education Ministry distributed booklets to schools explaining the motives behind the assassination of Lord Moyne in Cairo in 1944. The British official was depicted as one of the strongest opponents of the admission to Palestine of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust.

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