November 6, 1995
Web posted at: 11:55 a.m. EST (1655 GMT)
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Yitzhak Rabin, a "martyr for peace," was buried Monday after eulogies by world leaders, including Arabs, who promised that efforts to end religious and ethnic bloodshed in the Mideast would carry on despite the assassination of the Israeli prime minister. The final speaker, longtime Rabin aide Eitan Haber, held a blood-stained piece of paper containing song lyrics from the Tel Aviv peace rally Rabin attended just before he was killed. The burial in a hillside cemetery in west Jerusalem followed a two-hour memorial service that ended with the chief rabbi of the Israeli army chanting kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer for the dead. (198K AIFF sound or 198K WAV sound)
Jordan's King Hussein and presidents Bill Clinton of the United States and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt also spoke to 4,000 invited dignitaries, some of them wearing blue caps they were given to protect them from the sun's heat. Mubarak and King Hussein paid tribute to the man who led Israel's forces in the 1967 Middle East War and then sought a lasting peace with Arabs. "You lived as a soldier, you died as a soldier for peace," the Jordan leader said. Mubarak called Rabin a "fallen hero for peace." (110K AIFF sound or 110K WAV sound)
Acting Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who also spoke, said Rabin warned him of an assassination threat as they stood together at a peace rally Saturday, the night Rabin was shot dead. (230K AIFF sound or 230K WAV sound) "You told me there are warnings of an assassination attempt at the large rally. We did not know who would strike. We did not imagine the harm would be so great. But we knew we must not fear death and we must not hesitate for peace," Peres said.
Clinton, who called Rabin a "martyr for peace" and "a man completely without pretense," brought a smile to the slain leader's grieving widow, Leah, with a story about a necktie. (295K AIFF sound or 295K WAV sound) "The last time we were together, not two weeks ago, he showed up for a black tie event on time, but without the black tie. And so he borrowed a tie, and I was privileged to straighten it for him. It is a moment I will cherish as long as I live," Clinton said.
The only member of Rabin's family to speak at the service was 17-year-old Noa Ben Artzi, who called her grandfather a "pillar of fire before the camp, and now the camp is in darkness." (218K AIFF sound or 218K WAV sound)
"Ones greater than I have eulogized you but none knew the softness of your caress as I," she said.
Also Monday, confessed assassin Yigal Amir, 25, said at his arraignment that he killed Rabin because Rabin wanted to "to give our country to the Arabs."
Israel assigned 10,000 police, soldiers and security agents to protect the world leaders and dignitaries to traveled to Israel overnight for Monday's funeral. PLO leader Yasser Arafat did not attend for security reasons. But in a telephone interview with CNN from Palestinian-ruled Gaza, Arafat mourned the loss of the man he called his partner in peace. "I am very sad for this awful event which had happened there in Israel, where I lost one of the most important, courageous men in Israel," he said.
Syria did not send a delegation but President Hafez Al-Assad condemned Rabin's assassination as a "tragic event," according to a senior Clinton administration official.
Rabin's body was brought to the cemetery in a slow-moving funeral procession. Six generals and two police chiefs loaded his coffin onto a military vehicle covered in black for the three-kilometer (two-mile) drive from the Israeli Knesset, or parliament. Rabin's family followed the pallbearers. Also in the procession was another military vehicle overflowing with memorial flowers. The procession moved slowly through downtown Jerusalem streets to the Mount Herzl cemetery, reserved for prime ministers and other national leaders and named for Theodor Herzl, the visionary of the modern Israeli state. Among the Israelis who mobbed the route to say farewell were hospital patients who ran toward the street in their robes.
After the coffin arrived at the cemetery, sirens sounded across Israel as the nation observed two minutes of silence in honor of Rabin. (1.4M QuickTime movie)
Thousands of Israelis gathered Monday at the Tel Aviv square where Rabin was slain, lighting candles and mounting a quiet vigil. Thousands more huddled outside the apartment building where the 73-year-old prime minister lived in the northern Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv. Leah Rabin came down to thank the crowds, saying in a tear-choked voice that "two bullets killed this great, wonderful man."
On Sunday and through the night, an estimated one million people, in a nation of 5 million, filed past the coffin as it lay in state outside the Knesset.
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