Thousands Attend Funeral Services for President Shazar
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Thousands Attend Funeral Services for President Shazar

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Shnuer Zalman Shazar, who was Israel’s third President, was buried in the Presidential Cemetery on Mt. Herzl today in funeral services attended by thousands. There were no eulogies at the graveside–in accordance with the wish expressed by the late Israeli scholar-statesman and because it is customary not to deliver eulogies during the Succoth season. But many of those present. including members of President Shazar’s own pioneer generation, could not refrain from saying a few words in memory of the man who had symbolized so much in the history of Israel.

(See separate story for statements from Jewish leaders abroad.)

Former Premier Golda Meir stood by the grave with a solemn expression. There were many young people as well, most of them dressed in the black garb of Habad hasidim, the movement with which President Shazar and his forebears were always associated. They had maintained a vigil of prayer at Hadassah Hospital during President Shazar’s final illness. Today they stood by his coffin reciting psalms.

At a special Cabinet meeting today in memory of the late President, Premier Yitzhak Rabin declared, “The story of Shazar’s life was an un-believable mixture of all that was good and beautiful in Jewish life in the last 100 years. On the roots of hasidic Judaism and the Habad, Shazar grew a wide tree that embraced the entire world.” Former Chief Rabbi Isser Yehuda Untermann praised Shazar as “an enormous strength guarding the fundamentals of Judaism.”


The former President, who would have been 85 yesterday, died at Hadassah Hospital Saturday. His coffin lay in state at the Binyanei Haooma, the Jerusalem convention hall, where thousands of citizens filed by. Later it was taken on an army command car escorted by Knesset guards to the grounds of the Presidential residence where psalms were read by a military chaplain. Prof. Ephraim Orbach of Hebrew University, a close friend of the former President, recited the kaddish as requested in President Shazar’s will.

His successor. President Ephraim Katzir, spoke briefly. He described the late President as an exemplary personality and scholar. “The President was a poet at heart and he knew how to represent the people in dignity.” Katzir said. Mrs. Rachel Shazar, the late President’s invalid wife, sat in a wheelchair at Katzir a side as he spoke.


Earlier yesterday, Katzir received a message of condolence from President Gerald Ford of the U.S. The message read: “Israel’s deep sense of loss at the passing of President Zalman Shazar is shared by Americans everywhere. Journalist, scholar, patriot and poet, he was both a man of action and a man of contemplation, embodying the best qualities of his people.”

President Shazar was the first Israeli chief of state to be interred in the Presidential plot on Mt. Herzl. Of his two predecessors, the late President Chaim Weizmann is buried in his home town of Rehovot, and the late President Yitzhak Ben Zvi is buried in the West Jerusalem cemetery where he had asked to be interred.

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