Netanyahu, Abbas Shake Hands at Shimon Peres' Funeral: 'It's Been a Long Time'

Peres' casket en route to Mount Herzl as Israel prepares to bury former president | Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban join world leaders to pay last respects to the Nobel peace prize laureate at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl.

World leaders and dignitaries from 70 countries poured into Israel Friday for the state funeral of Israel’s ninth president, Shimon Peres, in Jerusalem on Friday, after thousands of Israelis paid last respects to the elder statesman who died on Wednesday.

Follow Haaretz's live updates:

9:56 A.M President Reuven Rivlin, the first to eulogize late statesman Shimon Peres at his funeral on Friday, called his predecessor a peace seeker who moved mountains whose death marks "the end of an era" for the country, also apologizing for vociferous right-wing criticism of his diplomatic achievements.

"You taught many around the world to love the State of Israel," Rivlin said at Peres's graveside at a Mt. Herzl burial attended by 70 world leaders, bidding farewell to the late elder statesman and Nobel laureate, widely admired for his peacemaking efforts with the Palestinians.

9:40 A.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin entered the tent and were seated immediately afterwards. Netanyahu and his wife greeted the numerous heads of state and dignitaries in attendance, and took their seats next to U.S. President Barack Obama in the front row.

9:20 A.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara greeted Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas as he arrived. Netanyahu and Palestinian Abbas shook hands and spoke during ahead of the funeral for Shimon Peres.

At the request of the Peres family, Abbas is seated in the front row.

Abbas told Netanyahu during their snap meeting that ''it's been a long time since we last met." Netanyahu responded: "I very much appreciate that you came to the funeral.

9:15 A.M. Dignitaries including former British Prime Ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair, Prince Charles, and former President Bill Clinton have arrived at Mt. Herzl and joined the crowd of over 500 mourners are taking their seats under the large white tent erected on Mt. Herzl in front of Peres' grave. 

9:10 A.M. Spotted: Casino billionaire, major Republican party and Trump campaign donor, and key Netanyahu supporter Sheldon Adelson is attending the funeral. Also present is Democratic mega donor Haim Saban, who flew to Israel in his private jet with former President Bill Clinton.

8:45 A.M. Former President Peres' casket was carried by a military honor guard from the Knesset to a vehicle that will take his body to Mount Herzl.

His large family was gathered behind as a military rabbi and cantor chanted the traditional Jewish prayers of mourning. The family joined in the Kaddish prayer.

8:31 A.M. Major routes were closed to traffic in the capital ahead of former President Shimon Peres' funeral at Mount Herzl.

The routes are set to reopen after attendants leave the burial site at the end of the funeral.

8:05 A.M. U.S. President Barack Obama landed at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport shortly after 8 A.M on his way to former President Shimon Peres' funeral in Jerusalem.

Route 1, which leads to the capital, was shut ahead of the American president's arrival.Schermata 2016 09 30 alle 09.00.28

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives.

Boycott Israeli diamond