President Herzog to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

Prime Minister Yair Lapid will be flying that day instead to New York, where he will address the opening session of the UN General Assembly.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

President Isaac Herzog will attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral next Monday, September 19,  to formally represent Israel among dozens of other heads of state.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid will not attend, flying instead on the 19th to New York. He, along with over a hundred other heads of state and government will participate in the opening of the UN General Assembly where leaders address the world.

Lapid will be speaking there for the first time, and is expected to to address the Iranian threat.

There are also reports that he will be meeting with Turkish President Recep Erdogan on the sidelines, according to Kan News. Jerusalem and Ankara re-established full diplomatic ties this year after more than a decade of strained ties.

Very soon after the announcement of the queen’s death was made late Thursday night, Lapid had tweeted his condolences, calling Britain’s longest-reigning monarch “an extraordinary figure, a unique leader who symbolized devotion and love for her homeland.”

On Saturday, Herzog came to the British ambassador’s residence in Tel Aviv to formally sign the condolence book Ambassador Neil Wigan had opened for those wishing to offer words of consolation to the royal family.

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“On behalf of the State and the People of Israel, I express my deepest condolences on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose reign was momentous and historic,” Herzog wrote, according to a statement by his office. “She was an icon of stability and beacon of morality in the service of her people. May G-d bless King Charles III and may he reign in peace.”

The president’s message ended with a verse from the Book of Proverbs: “The king by justice establishes the land.”

The Israeli embassy lowered its flag to half-mast Friday in London, as it did in several other countries, including the United States. It has yet to be decided whether on the day of the state funeral, flags throughout Israel will also be lowered in respect.

In Jerusalem, the Old City walls were lit up with huge representations of the Israeli and British flags Thursday night in honor of the queen, as was Tel Aviv’s city hall.

The funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey after the late queen lies in state first in Scotland and then for several days at the House of Parliament in London. Members of the public will be able to pass by for 23 hours a day in respect of the only queen most of them have ever known. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to do so.