Last updated: 2 July, 2012

Israel’s Shamir to lie in parliament before burial

The body of Israel’s former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, who died on Saturday aged 96, was laid to rest with full state honours on Monday at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery.

President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin led the mourners at the hilltop site, where Israel’s leading political and military figures are buried.

“Yitzhak Shamir was a fighter,” Peres said. “For his people, for his country, for his path.”

“He fought against British rule (and) in the Mossad against the hidden threat,” Peres added.

A member of a far-right pre-state underground militia during the British mandate over Palestinian, Shamir was an agent of the Mossad spy agency before becoming Israel’s prime minister from 1983 to 1984 and then from 1986 to 1992, also serving terms as speaker of the Knesset and foreign minister.

During the day he had lay in state at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, flanked by military chaplains and an honour guard.

“You were a solid rock Yitzhak; unbreakable,” Rivlin said earlier. “Nothing could divert you from your path.”

At Mount Herzl, Shamir’s coffin was draped in the blue and white Israeli flag as relatives and the Israeli political establishment paid their respects.

He retired from political life in 1996 and in his later years suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, living in a retirement home north of Tel Aviv until his death.