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Former Israeli PM Sharon laid to rest in family ranch

English.news.cn   2014-01-13 23:27:50            

JERUSALEM, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who died on Saturday at the age of 85, was laid to rest in his ranch in southern Israel on Monday.

This was the final part of a funeral procession which started in Jerusalem on Monday morning, and continued with a private military ceremony near Jerusalem and then with the burial itself in Sharon's Havat Hashikmim (Sycamore Farm) plot.

The burial ceremony was conducted in a military fashion and was attended by family, friends and 400 officials from Israel and around the world and 1,500 citizens who came to pay their last respects to the former statesman and general.

First to eulogize Sharon was the military's chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, who remembered Sharon as a military man.

"I came here to solute you as the chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, as a commander who followed you through the different stops on the way even when you no longer had the military ranks on your shoulders," Gantz said.

"I want to tell you that the army protecting the people of Israel, who were so precious to you, would carry on in your image for many years to come."

Both of Sharon's sons, Gilad and Omri Sharon, also gave eulogies and said the prayer of Kadish, a traditional Jewish prayer which is often recited at funerals.

"Look around, Ariel, and see the people gathered around the hill. How they are grateful that you've protected them, how they love and miss you. You were worthy of your people," Omri said.

His other son Gilad stressed that despite personal hardships, Sharon maintained his "courage and fighting spirit."

"In the year 1967, our elder brother Gur died in a weapons accident. This was, without a doubt, the event that influenced my father the most. My father kept on living and didn't hurt himself, and said that the intensity of the pain does not diminish over the years," he said.

He praised his father's fights in Sinai in 1956 and the Yom Kippur war and his operation Defense Shield, aimed to curb a wave of Palestinian militant attacks in the early 2000's, while Sharon was prime minister.

Gilad continued extolling his father's work in a variety of fields including agriculture, industry, construction, immigration and foreign affairs, adding that Sharon had erected more communities in Israel "than anyone else," directing his words to the former prime minister's right-wing critics who slammed him for evacuating settlements in the 2005 Disengagement Plan from Gaza.

Other critics of Sharon and his legacy include many Palestinians and human rights organizations who say Sharon, as Israel's defense minister during the Lebanon War in 1982, is accountable for the massacre in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, in which hundreds of Palestinians were killed by Lebanese militias.

Following the eulogies given at the service, top Israeli leaders and the foreign delegates who attended the funeral, placed wreaths of flowers on the newly dug grave.

Prior to the burial ceremony, members of the military held a private ceremony in his memory in Latrun, where Sharon was injured during the 1948 War of Independence.

Earlier, on Monday morning, an official memorial ceremony was held in Jerusalem in front of the Knesset (parliament) building, attended by friends, family members, politicians from Israel and across the world.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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