Israel, Foreign Dignitaries Lay Ariel Sharon to Rest

Monday, January 13, 2014 |  Israel Today Staff

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took the ride to his final resting place in the southern Negev region on Monday following a pair of memorial ceremonies in Jerusalem and Latrun.

The morning started at the Knesset in Jerusalem, where Israeli officials were joined by more than a dozen foreign dignitaries, including US Vice President Biden, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Czech Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok, Russian parliamentary head Sergey Naryshkin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Spanish Home Affairs Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz and Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

Biden and Blair joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres in eulogizing Sharon.

A massive convoy then made its way to Latrun, where a then-20-year-old Sharon took part and was seriously wounded in a bloody battle against Arab forces during Israel's War of Independence.

Arriving at Sharon's Sycamore Ranch in the Negev, a group of senior IDF generals lowered the former leader's coffin into the ground next to his late wife Lily.

With the Sycamore Ranch situated so close to the Gaza Strip, security officials had feared Palestinian terrorists would try to attack the funeral with rockets. Indeed, earlier in the day two rockets were fired from Gaza, but failed to reach southern Israel.

Standing at the graveside, IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Benny Gantz told Sharon, revered by many as one of history's greatest Jewish warriors, that the Israeli army continues to "march to the sound of your footsteps."

Sharon's tearful son, Gilad, mourned a father who had "become a national legend."

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