Jerusalem, Israel (4E) – Former prime minister Ariel Sharon, 85, was laid to rest at his family home in southern Israel on Monday.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair were among the VIPs who paid their last respect to Sharon, who died Saturday after eight years in coma caused by a massive stroke.
Eulogies were delivered outside the parliament building, where Sharon’s flag-draped coffin laid for the state funeral ceremony. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Sharon a warrior and man of action with deep emotion for the country and the Jewish people.
Netanyahu was part of Sharon’s cabinet but resigned in protest to the former leader’s decision to withdraw Israeli residents and troops in Gaza Strip in 2005.
Israel President Shimon Peres praised Sharon for his dedication to securing Israel while also making the country flourish. Biden described Sharon as a friend and praised him for pulling out 10,000 Israelis living in Gaza for security reason.
Blair said Sharon was a man of war who changed to a man of peace because he was “wise enough to know that war alone could not support Israel’s future.”
After the ceremony, Sharon’s coffin was placed in a military vehicle and driven in a police-escorted convoy toward his ranch. He was buried next to the grave of his wife, Lily.