Netanyahu: Huge Turnout for Peres Funeral 'Testament to His Optimism, Quest for Peace'

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu eulogizes late Israeli statesman Shimon Peres at his funeral in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu eulogizes late Israeli statesman Shimon Peres at his funeral in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016.Credit: AP

Eulogizing Shimon Peres as one of Israel's greatest leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked world dignitaries on Friday for the large turnout for the late statesman's funeral as a "testament to his optimism, his quest for peace."

Live updates from Shimon Peres' funeral

Netanyahu said at the burial held at Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl cemetery that Peres "built a life of purpose, he soared to many heights. He was a great man of Israel, he was a great man of the world."

Read more on Shimon Peres:  How Shimon Peres built Israel's nuclear program | In death, Peres got one last win | 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

"I want to thank you all for coming today. That so many leaders came from around the world to bid farewell to Shimon, is a testament to his optimism his quest for peace his love for Israel," Netanyahu said in English.

"The people of Israel deeply appreciate the honor you have shown Shimon."

Netanyahu summed up Peres's legacy by saying, in remarks made in Hebrew:

"We are both right. In the stormy Middle East where only the strong survive peace will only be achieved by constantly ensuring our strength.  But the goal isn't power, the goal is survival and coexistence."

On a personal note, Netanyahu referred to how Peres, an overseer of a 1976 commando rescue of Israeli hostages from an airplane hijacked to Entebbe, Uganda, reacted at the time to news that Netanyahu's brother, Yoni, had been killed in that raid.

"Shimon my friend, you told of how one of the only times you ever shed a tear was when you received the bitter news of the death of my brother, Yoni, in Entebbe," Netanyahu said.

"You cried then, Shimon, and I weep for you today. I loved you. We all love you. Rest in peace, Shimon, a dear man, a great leader. You will be enshrined in the hears of the nation and I dare say in the hearts of all nations."   

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