Former US president Bill Clinton landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday ahead of Friday's funeral for former Israeli president Shimon Peres.
Shortly after his arrival, Clinton paid tribute to Peres at lying in state ceremony at the Knesset.
A who’s who of world leaders were expected to descend on Israel beginning on Thursday to attend the funeral of the state’s ninth president and two-time prime minister and one of its founding fathers, who died on Wednesday morning at the age of 93.
Peres will be buried in a state ceremony Friday morning on Mount Herzl in the section of the cemetery reserved for the Great Leaders of the Nation. His body first was lying in state in the Knesset plaza from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday as thousands of members of the public paid their last respects.
Peres died on Wednesday morning, surrounded by family at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, of complications stemming from a massive stroke he suffered two weeks ago. He had been in an induced coma since.
Among those scheduled to arrive are French President François Hollande, the United Kingdom’s Prince Charles, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Council President Donald Tusk, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Togo President Faure Gnassingbé. Other heads of state who have confirmed their participation are the presidents of Cyprus, Croatia, Switzerland, Latvia, Serbia, Poland and Austria, in addition to dozens of other prime ministers and dignitaries from China, India, Russia, the Netherlands and numerous other countries.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy also will take part, as will Bill Clinton, who worked closely with Peres in the 1990s during the Oslo peace process for which Peres, along with Rabin and Yasser Arafat, won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize.