Deceased Israel leader Shimon Peres lays in state

CCTV News

Deceased Israel leader Shimon Peres lays in state

Thousands paid respects Thursday to Israel’s elder statesman Shimon Peres as he lay in state outside Jerusalem’s parliament building. Roads leading to the site were blocked off to traffic as Israel implemented unprecedented security measures in anticipation of dozens of high powered dignitaries expected to attend Peres’ funeral Friday. Among them, U.S. President Barack Obama and England’s Prince Charles.

CCTV’s Stephanie Freid has this report.

Deceased Israel leader Shimon Peres lays in state

Deceased Israel leader Shimon Peres lays in state

Thousands paid respects Thursday to Israel’s elder statesman Shimon Peres as he lay in state outside Jerusalem’s parliament building. Roads leading to the site were blocked off to traffic as Israel implemented unprecedented security measures in anticipation of dozens of high powered dignitaries expected to attend Peres’ funeral Friday. Among them, U.S. President Barack Obama and England’s Prince Charles. CCTV’s Stephanie Freid has this report.

A procession made its way through Jerusalem’s streets in the early morning hours. At Israel’s parliament building, Shimon Peres’ coffin, ceremoniously draped in an Israeli flag, was laid in state.

The first to pay respects were Israel’s current prime minister, president, and opposition leader. Soon followed by former U.S. president Bill Clinton, whose administration helped facilitate the Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement that garnered Shimon Peres a Nobel Peace Prize.

As the day progressed, amidst heavy security, thousands made their way to Jerusalem to bid farewell.

“The way this country feels about suffering and loss and death, – this is definitely one of those events and I really wanted to come and pay my respects and see how the country responds to such a great loss,” Australian tourist Tara said.

“I want to say goodbye to Shimon Peres and also to respect him and also to let our people – Chinese – our friends in China, to know more about this history and also Shimon Peres’ story,” said Shanghai Business person Benjamin.

Peres’ story is one with mixed reviews. Controversial for his prominent role in creating an Israeli nuclear facility and advocating Jewish settlement on Palestinian land, Shimon Peres was also praised for relentless peace campaigning.

Shimon Peres’ coffin will move a few kilometers from here to his final resting place.

Surprisingly, the turnout was thinner than originally predicted. Some speculate that’s because he was more popular in the West than at home. Another surprise was the attendance of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas – the first Arab leader to announce he will be present for Peres’ funeral.


Sam Chester on Shimon Peres and China-Israel relationship

For more about the important role Shimon Peres played in Israel’s relationship with China, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes interviewed UAV Strategy Director Sam Chester.