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Moving Ceremony Marks Resurial of Herzl’s Remains; Israeli Cabinet in Full Attendance

August 18, 1949
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The remains of Dr. Theodor Herzl, father of political Zionism, were brought today to their final resting place on Mt. Herzl here after being interred in Austria 45 years. Present at the ceremony at which Herzl’s coffin was lowered into the grave was the entire Israeli Cabinet, all members of the Israeli parliament, the Jewish Agency executive and more than 6,000 persons invited to attend the rites.

Army units presented arms when the coffin arrived from the courtyard of the Jewish Agency to the burial place at Mt. Herzl. The chiefs of the military services carried the coffin to the grave where it was put on a special platform from which it was slowly lowered into the grave. The casket was then covered with small blue-white sacks of soil brought by delegations from 380 Jewish settlements from all parts of Israel.

The blowing of a military trumpet, accompanied by the roll of drums, signalled the conclusion on of the ceremony. Earlier, the traditional Kaddish prayer was chanted by a cantor while the choir of Tel Aviv’s Great Synagogue sang verses from the Book of Psalms as well as a special song composed in memory of Dr. Herzl.


Thousands of Jews followed the cortege of 64 vehicles which brought the coffin from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The convey reached the premises of the Jewish Agency here at 8:15 A.M. after passing dense crowds of settlers and Army units lined up along the entire road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The cortege slowed down when it passed Jewish settlements along the route.

The procession made its first stop near the Mikveh Israel settlement in exactly the same place where Dr. Herzl, in 1898, met with Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany to whom he appealed for support of his idea to acquire Palestine for the Jews as a Jewish state. It then proceeded to the Rishon L’Zion colony where Dr. Herzl spent his first night on his only visit to Palestine. The settlers at each colony met the cortege with placards and banners, most of which carried the excerpt from Dr. Heral’s diary, “When we arrive, Jerusalem will be the most beautiful city in the world.”

When the convoy reached the Jerusalem suburb of Romema, it was met by thousands of Jerusalemites who lined up on both sides of the streets. It proceeded to the premises of the Jewish Agency where it was met at the courtyard by Premier David Ben Gurion, members of his Cabinet, the Jewish Agency executive and all the members of the Jerusalem Municipal Council. The chiefs of the Army services then carried the coffin from the black-draped vehicle to a specially-erected platform surrounded by 45 Israeli flags symbolizing the number of years that Dr. Herzl was buried abroad.

A proclamation on behalf of the Jewish Agency was then read by Berl Locker, chairman of the executive, which said: “We are now bringing to their final rest the remains of the creator of the Zionist movement, a great visionary whose dream is now fulfilled. But the Zionist movement has not as yet fulfilled its task and will continue its endeavor until the final goal–the ingathering of all dispersed Jews–is reached.”

Approximately 20,000 people filed peat the coffin while it lay in state in the courtyard of the Agency. Jerusalem has not been as crowded since the 1948 siege. Hotels are full and for several days visitors have been sleeping on cots in schools or in hotel corridors. The city is beflagged and traffic through many of the main thoroughfares has been rerouted since early this morning to avoid congestion.

Thousands of members of the Jerusalem population sought in vain to enter the courtyard of the Agency to witness the coffin of Dr. Herzl during the several hours it lay on the special platform. Members of the “Naturei Karta” extreme Orthodox sect boycotted the funeral despite the fact that Agudah leaders, including Cabinet Minister I.M. Lewin, joined in the rites.

Three red flags were hoisted amid an ocean of blue-white banners along the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem route which the cortege followed this morning. Not a single untoward incident was reported throughout the day. Police Inspector-General Yeahezkiel Shauher told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the behavior of the crowds was exemplary, with not a single complaint lodged with the police.

The funeral of Dr. Herzl’s parents and sister, whose coffins were brought here together with the leader’s casket yesterday, is scheduled to be held Friday. They will be reburied in a gravesite near that of Dr. Herzl. (See P. 6 for other observances of Herzl’s funeral.)

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