Former US President Bill Clinton passes the flag-draped coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres during his funeral at the Mount Herzel national cemetery in Jerusalem, Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) (AP)

Israel's "biggest dreamer": Bill Clinton praises Shimon Peres at former president's funeral

Joined by President Obama, Clinton said Peres was a "wise champion of our common humanity"


The Associated Press
September 30, 2016 3:58PM (UTC)

JERUSALEM — The Latest on the funeral of Israel's former President Shimon Peres (all times local):

10:40 a.m.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton says Shimon Peres was Israel's "biggest dreamer."

In a eulogy to the former Israeli president in Jerusalem Friday, Clinton calls Peres a "wise champion of our common humanity."

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Clinton describes a meeting where Israeli and Arab children together sang John Lennon's "Imagine."

Clinton says, "he imagined all the things the rest of us could do. He started life as Israel's brightest student, became its best teacher and ended up its biggest dreamer."

He continues, "he lived 93 years in a state of constant wonder over the unbelievable potential of all the rest of us to rise above our wounds, our resentments, our fears to make the most of today and claim the promise of tomorrow."

RELATED: Israel leader Shimon Peres also had a bloody record of war

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10:10 a.m.

Israel's prime minister has praised the late Shimon Peres as "a great man of the world."

Addressing Peres' funeral ceremony in Jerusalem Friday, Benjamin Netanyahu says the gathering of dozens of world leaders was a "testament" to Peres' optimism, his quest for peace and his devotion to Israel.

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Netanyahu says, "He was a great man of Israel. He was a great man of the world. Israel grieves for him. The world grieves for him."

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9:55 a.m.

Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin, has praised Shimon Peres as a "man of deeds."

Addressing Peres' funeral in Jerusalem on Friday, Rivlin says he was speaking "as one president to another."

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Rivlin says to Peres "you were not only a man of vision, you were a man of deeds."

Rivlin, who succeeded him as president in 2014, says Peres had the ability "to conceive what seemed to be the inconceivable, and see it to fruition."

He says, "You strived until your final breaths to reach the pinnacle of the Zionist dream: an independent, sovereign state, existing in peace with our neighbors. Yet you also knew that true peace could only be achieved from a position of strength, and you were sure to secure the path to this goal."

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Rivlin delivered the first of a string of eulogies.

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09:20 a.m.

President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials have taken a front row seat at the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem.

Abbas greeted Israeli officials, hugging some members of Peres' family and shaking hands with officials and mourners.

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Abbas is heading a delegation of several Palestinian officials.

In contrast to an outpouring of grief from Western leaders, Arab leaders have remained largely silent over Peres' death. Abbas was one of the few to express sorrow. A representative said he wanted to attend the funeral to send a message to Israeli society that despite the current stalemate, Palestinians still believe in peace and appreciate men of peace like Peres.

Peres shared a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for attempting to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since then, the peace process has collapsed.

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8:40 a.m.

Israel has begun the funeral procession for the country's former President Shimon Peres.

A military honor guard took Peres' casket from the parliament building Friday and escorted it and his family to a waiting vehicle. The honor guard recited "Kaddish," the Jewish prayer for the dead.

The casket will make the short journey to Mount Herzl, Israel's national cemetery, where Peres is to be buried alongside most of the country's past leaders.

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8:20 a.m.

U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Israel for the funeral of Shimon Peres.

Obama heads a long list of international dignitaries attending the event Friday and will deliver one of the eulogies.

Peres, Israel's ninth president, died early Wednesday of complications following a stroke. He was 93.

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8:10 a.m.

Israelis, along with dignitaries from around the world, are gathering in Jerusalem for the funeral of the country's former President Shimon Peres.

U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, German President Joachim Gauck and scores of other world leaders are attending the funeral. Obama is one of the speakers at the ceremony.

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Police have shut roads in central Jerusalem ahead of the funeral.

It is expected to be Israel's largest since that of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Peres' partner in peace who was killed by a Jewish nationalist in 1995.

Peres died early Wednesday of complications following a stroke. He was 93.

Peres shared a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for attempting to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since then, the peace process has collapsed.


The Associated Press

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