Leaders of Israeli Left Will Not Address Shimon Peres' Funeral

Alongside Obama and Peres' family, only three Israeli politicians will eulogize Israel's elder statesman, all three from the Likud.

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A man carries a large portrait of former Israeli President Shimon Peres near the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot, Israel September 28, 2016.
A man carries a large portrait of former Israeli President Shimon Peres near the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot, Israel September 28, 2016. Credit: Amir Cohen, Reuters
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The leaders of Israel's left wing parties and peace camp are not scheduled to speak during the funeral for Israel's most vocal voice for peace: former president Shimon Peres, who died Wednesday at the age of 93.

Opposition chairman and leader of the Zionist Union party, Isaac Herzog, who asked to speak at the funeral - which will be attended by dozens of world leaders, including U.S. President Obama - but was told he could not due to scheduling limitiations.

Read more on Shimon Peres: Peres pursued peace for sake of Israel's values, and Palestinians' dignity | Hawk to dove, pro-settlements to pro-peace: Shimon Peres was it all | The countless contradictions of the late and great Shimon Peres | Obama, world leaders mourn Peres | Shimon Peres, the eternal immigrant | Peres' quixotic battle for Israeli-Palestinian peace | Drop the kitsch: Shimon Peres had a dark side, too | Peres, 1923-2016: an interactive timeline

Only seven people are set to address Peres's funeral, to be held in Mount Herzl in Jerusalem: Obama and three politicians affiliated with the ruling Likud party: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein. Three of Peres' family members will also eulogize Israel's elder statesman.

Culture Minister Miri Regev, who chairs the Ministerial  Committee on State Symbols and Ceremonies said Wednesday evening in a statement that "according to protocol, the chairman of the opposition is not supposed to speak at an official state funeral. Following [Herzog's] request, the possibility was examined, but because of the number of speakers and scheduling demands stemming from the Jewish Sabbath, it was not possible. The decision on who to include was coordinated with the [Peres] family.

"Despite protocol, and from good will and respect to the chairman of the opposition, Minister Regev made every effort possible so he will be allowed to lay a wreath as part of the funeral procession."

A massive operation, integrating the Israel Police, the Border Police, the Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet security service, government ministries and other state bodies, will ensure security, deal with traffic arrangements and maintain public order during Peres' lying-in-state at the Knesset and funeral at Mount Herzl on Friday.

he coffin of the country's ninth president will lie in state in the Knesset plaza from Thursday morning for both dignitaries and the public to pay their respects. It will leave the Knesset for the Mount Herzl national cemetery on Friday morning.

At 8:45  A.M. on Thursday, President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuri Edelstein will lay wreaths at the coffin in the Knesset plaza.

From 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. on Thursday, the plaza will be open to members of the public who wish to pay their respects to Shimon Peres.

At 8:30 A.M. on Friday, the coffin will leave the Knesset for Mount Herzl, where a memorial ceremony, including eulogies, will begin at 9:30 A.M.

Following the memorial ceremony, the coffin will proceed to the "Great Leaders of the Nation" burial plot, where the official funeral ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12:00 P.M.

Attendance at the burial itself will be limited, at the request of the Peres Center for Peace. But all those present at Mount Herzl will be able to watch the ceremony on large screens.

In addition to Obama, the national leaders and dignitaries who are expected to attend the funeral include French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German President Joachim Gauck, Charles, the Prince of Wales, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Togo President Faure Gnassingbé, European Union President Donald Tusk, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, former British Prime Minister David Cameron, Australian Governor General Peter Cosgrove, representatives of the Jordanian government and representatives of the Egyptian government.

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