Netanyahu Abbas shake hands at Peres funeral Photo YouTube screenshot RT channelAttended by leaders around the world, the funeral of Shimon Peres facilitated a number of encounters - including a handshake and words between PM Netanyahu and PA President Abbas.


Just before Shabbat, last Friday's funeral for Israel's ninth President, Shimon Peres, also provided a venue for quiet diplomacy, as dozens of world leaders gathered to pay tribute to the internationally renowned statesman.

The service, held at the Great Leaders of the Nation plot on Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, saw Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet with several world leaders.

Perhaps most notably, the funeral enabled the first meeting between Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in over six years. The Israeli and Palestinian leaders shook hands and exchanged brief words.

"Long time, long time," Abbas told Netanyahu and the prime minister's wife, Sara Netanyahu.

Welcoming Abbas, Netanyahu said of his attendance: "It's something that I appreciate very much on behalf of our people and on behalf of us."

Sara Netanyahu also welcomed the Palestinian leader. "I'm glad you're here, and I look forward to hosting you in our home. We are waiting for you. Thank you for coming," she said.

The prime minister also spoke briefly with Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat, who also attended the service.

President Reuven Rivlin and his wife, Nechama, also met with Abbas.

Rivlin reportedly stressed the importance of promoting trust-building measures between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Abbas replied by saying he wished he was meeting Rivlin under more pleasant circumstances.

Following the service, Netanyahu hosted several world leaders in the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem.

The prime minister met with French President Francois Hollande, who promised him that Paris would not try to force any diplomatic initiative on Jerusalem regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

He also met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the Russian Parliament's Upper House Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, and Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Serra.

Serra invited Netanyahu to visit Brazil, and according to the Prime Minister's Office, similar invitations were extended by the Mexican and Argentine officials with whom Netanyahu met.

The Prime Minister's Office said all meetings focused on Peres' legacy and contribution to Israel's foreign relations, and that "regional issues, ways to stabilize the security situation in the Middle East and ways to promote peace" were also discussed.

Rivlin met Friday with Prince Charles of Britain, King Felipe VI of Spain and Australian Governor General Peter Cosgrove.

Meanwhile, thousands of Israelis visited Peres' grave over the weekend.

Peres himself was the one to choose his final resting place: between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995, and former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who passed away in 2011.


This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by Israel Hayom at

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