Herzl’s Remains Brought to Israel; Coffin Placed in Public Square; Reburial Today
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Herzl’s Remains Brought to Israel; Coffin Placed in Public Square; Reburial Today

The remains of Dr. Theodor Herzl, father of the political Zionist movement, lay in state here today after being brought to Israel from Vienna by a special plane which was met off Haifa by a squadron of Israeli fighters. Heavy artillery in Haifa fired salvos and all vessels in Haifa port blew their whistles as the craft bearing Dr. Herzl’s remains approached the city.

Accompanied by the fighters, the Israeli plane carrying the remains of Dr. Herzl and his family landed early this morning at Lydda airport where hundreds of the Cabinet, as well as a large delegation from the Israeli parliament, were among those who waited at the airfield for the arrival of the coffins.

Immediately after the plane landed, the caskets were transferred to a be-flagged Army lorry which brought the coffins to Tel Aviv. Army and police honor guards escorted the cortege from Lydda to Tel Aviv where the coffins were placed on a specially erected platform in Knesset Square. The coffins will lie in state till tomorrow morning when the remains of the Herzl family will be transferred to Jerusalem for reburial.


While crowds jammed the area around Knesset Square to pay their last respects to the founder of the Zionist movement, the Israeli parliament conducted a special session to pay tribute to Dr. Herzl. Speakers emphasized that the Knesset, in arranging for the transfer to Israel and the reburial of Dr. Herzl’s remains in Jerusalem, was carrying out the last wishes of the late leader.

Premier Ben Gurion, in a moving homage delivered to the Knesset deputies on behalf of the government, declared: “Only two men were privileged to have their remains returned to Israel in the course of 3,300 years–both were sons of Jacob. The first was Joseph, who left a testament asking that his remains be returned to Israel with the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, and the second was Herzl. This funeral is not a mourning procession, but a triumphant march of victory for a vision converted into reality.”

Speaker of the Knesset Joseph Sprinzak read a message from President Chaim Weizmann, who is now vacationing in Switzerland. “Every person in Israel,” Dr. Weizmann’s message declared, “must today remember Herzl’s famous words–‘If you wish, it is not a legend.’ The Jewish people has shown a determination to persist until the state becomes a home for all in the Diaspora. With the transfer of Herzl’s remains I visualize the completion of a decisive stage in the history of the Jewish people and an indication of the course of the future. Fortunate is the generation which has been privileged to implement the dream of its leader.”

Speaker Sprinzak, addressing the overflow audience which assembled in the Knesset gallery and which included veterans of the first Zionist Congress in Basle, said the Israeli parliament was halting its regular proceedings to hold a special session for the “greatest event in the history of the state.” Dr. Herzl’s coffin has now been brought before the Knesset building, he asserted, adding: “It is our duty to receive him as a living person, because he lives in our hearts every hour.” Communist deputies in the Knesset were conspicuous by their absence during the special session.

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