British media tycoon Robert Maxwell was buried Sunday on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, according to his wishes, with all the pomp of a state funeral.
President Chaim Herzog and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir headed a galaxy of dignitaries and politicians, both government and opposition, who attended the funeral.
Herzog delivered the eulogy for the multimillionaire publisher, whose holdings in Israel. including Ma’ariv, are estimated at $300 million.
” He scaled the heights of human endeavor. Kings and princes waited on him. Many admired him. Many disliked him. But none was indifferent to him,” Herzog said.
Maxwell’s widow, Elizabeth, and their seven sons and daughters were at the graveside for the traditional Jewish burial service. Kaddish was recited by Maxwell’s longtime attorney and personal friend, fellow Holocaust survivor Samuel Pisar.
Also present were the archbishop of Canterbury, as well as a group of the “Chernobyl children” Maxwell had helped save by his involvement in bringing them to Israel from the Soviet Union.
Earlier. his body had lain in state at Jerusalem’s Binyanei Ha’uma convention center, an honor usually reserved for Israel’s government leaders.
Maxwell, 68, died mysteriously Nov. 5 while cruising in his yacht near the Canary Islands. His nude body was recovered from the sea and taken to Las Palmas. Grand Canary Island, for an autopsy. It was flown to Israel last Friday after its release by the Spanish authorities.
FAMILY INVESTIGATING DEATH
Preliminary results from the autopsy revealed that Maxwell suffered a heart attack and died before his body fell into the sea. But further forensic tests have yet to be completed, and his family is investigating his strange death.
Since Maxwell’s mysterious death, reports have abounded that his financial empire was buckling under the weight of vast debt.
But his widow told Ma’ariv she absolutely discounted the possibility of suicide, since Maxwell was a ” fighter” and not the kind of man to take his own life.
Maxwell, born in Czechoslovakia to an impoverished Orthodox family that perished in the Holocaust, distinguished himself as a British soldier during World War II. He went on to amass a fortune in Britain and eventually worldwide in communications and various business ventures.
“He wanted to close the circle of his life here in Jerusalem,” said his eldest son, Philip, a university don who eulogized his father on behalf of the family.
” Welcome home, Robert Maxwell,” declared Haifa Chief Rabbi Sha’ar Yashuv Cohen, a close friend of the deceased.
Herzog recalled Maxwell’s heroism in the British army during the war, which won him the Military Cross, presented by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.
Speaking of his meteoric rise in the financial world, Herzog observed that at the height of his success, Maxwell “returned to his roots,” which he rediscovered in the State of Israel.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.