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‘now Leon Klinghoffer Belongs to the World’ Victim of Terrorist Atrocity Buried

Leon Klinghoffer came to his final rest yesterday afternoon. The last journey of the American Jew murdered by terrorists aboard the Achille Lauro cruise ship two weeks ago — begun last Sunday when the flag-draped coffin with his body arrived at Kennedy Airport from Rome– ended as he was buried after a 15-minute service at the Beth David Memorial Park-Cemetery here.

Security for the private burial was the tightest that this town had ever witnessed, according to Mayor Livio Mansino. New York police cars led the 20-vehicle procession from Temple Shaarey Tefila on Manhattan’s East Side, where the funeral was held early in the afternoon. They were joined at the George Washington Bridge by New Jersey state troopers and, at the Kenilworth exit, by local and county police.

Secret Service officers were also on hand. An FBI bomb squad, aided by their county counterparts and equipped with snifter dogs, had spent all morning combing every inch of the 10-acre cemetery.

An American flag covered the green carpet over the mound of dirt from the gravesite in the Aaron and Shifra Peterman plot owned by Marilyn Klinghoffer’s family. The flag was held in place by a World War II plaque in recognition of Leon Klinghoffer’s service in the U.S. Army during the war.

The cars began to arrive at the cemetery at about 3 P.M., with most of the 75 participants — close family members and friends — walking the length of the cemetery in two’s and three’s.

QUIET WORDS OF CONSOLATION

Viola and Seymour Meskin, and Mildred Hodes, held hostage by the terrorists aboard the Achille Lauro, accompanied by family members, grouped together on one side of the grave. The mahagony coffin was brought to the gravesite and immediately draped with a black and gray cover with a large Jewish star.

The mourners arrived — Klinghoffer’s daughters Lisa Arbitter and her husband, Jerry, and llsa Klinghoffer and her fiance Paul Dworin; Marilyn Klinghoffer’s mother, Rose Windwehr; and finally, the widow.

After the cantor chanted prayers in Hebrew, Rabbi Harvey Tattelbaum of Shaarey Tefila, Klinghoffer’s rabbi of two decades, said quiet words of consolation to members of the bereaved family. The family mourners placed the flowers they had held during the ceremony on the coffin, and the rabbi threw soil on the casket. Most of the people present followed suit.

A long-time friend of the family, cemetery official Harry Massar, said quietly, “Now Leon Klinghoffer belongs to the world.”

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