Family honour Shimon Peres cornea donation request as Israel prepares for state funeral


Shimon Peres's family have donated his corneas, at his request, to Israel's National Transplant Centre.

The statesman registered as an organ donor with the Centre when he was President, encouraging others to follow suit.

Robby Berman, of the Halachic Organ Donor Society, commented, "One cannot deny that Peres thought of other people, of Israelis in particular, and he did not let death stop him - he gave to the other even in death."

Israel, Mr Berman said, had "one of the worst organ donor registration rates in the Western world and that's because of a lot of misperceptions about Jewish law."

Mr Peres’s casket was brought to the Knesset in Jerusalem today, and will lie in state until 9pm.

Before members of the public were allowed into the Knesset plaza to pay their respects, President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Parliament Speaker Yuli Edelstein and opposition leader Isaac Herzog held a silent ceremony in which they laid wreaths beside Mr Peres’s flag-draped coffin.

Mr Peres’s body will be moved to the Mount Herzl cemetery on Friday at 8.30am and the official state ceremony will begin at 9.30am. Some 80 presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, heads of parliament and ambassadors are due to be present.

After the eulogies, a procession will head out at 11am to the cemetery’s Great Leaders of the Nation section, where the burial ceremony is scheduled to begin an hour later. Mr Peres will be interred between the late prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin.

US President Barack Obama ordered all American flags to be lowered to half-mast to mark the death of Mr Peres.

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