Israel bids farewell to Ariel Sharon

Kashmir Times. Dated: 1/13/2014 1:30:40 PM

JERUSALEM, Jan 12 (Agencies): Thousands of people today paid their last respects to former premier Ariel Sharon whose death evoked contrasting reactions with Israelis hailing him as a hero and the Arab world panning him as a "criminal".
The former prime minister and Israel Defence Forces (IDF) general will be laid to rest tomorrow, at his family's Sycamore Ranch in the Negev. He will be buried next to Lily, his wife of 37 years and mother of his two surviving sons.
Thousands of people visited the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), to pay their last respects to Sharon, who died yesterday at the age of 85, after eight years in a coma following a severe stroke at the height of his power in 2006.
Culture Minister Limor Livnat, who heads the Knesset's Ceremonies Committee, confirmed today that Sharon will receive a state funeral with a military ceremony.
"Following a memorial service in the Knesset Sharon's funeral procession will leave towards the Sycamore Ranch for a small service. The funeral itself will be a state funeral and the ceremony a military one," Livnat announced.
Eight IDF generals will carry Sharon's casket from the Knesset to the site of the funeral.
Peres, Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Sharon's two sons Omri and Gilad, US Vice President Joe Biden and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be among those expected to speak at the service, Livnat said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is also likely to attend Sharon's last rites, the Jerusalem Post reported.



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