(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The flag-draped coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres was laid in state in the Knesset Plaza on Thursday allowing the public to bid farewell to the last of Israel's founding fathers and its most veteran statesman.
The ninth president died on Wednesday, at age 93, two weeks after suffering a massive stroke.
Israeli flags were lowered to half-mast Wednesday at all government and state buildings, military and police bases, and Israeli embassies worldwide. The directive will remain in effect until sunset Friday.
Peres' coffin arrived at the Knesset Plaza shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday. At 8:45 a.m., President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog laid wreaths at its base.
MKs from all political factions, as well as members of Peres' staff, passed by the coffin to pay their respects.
The Knesset allocated 12 hours, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., for the public to pay their respects. Scores of Israelis huddled outside the Knesset Plaza from early Thursday to await their turn. The Knesset Guard said hundreds of thousands of people were expected to pass by the coffin.