Some Unpolitically Correct Remarks About the Shimon Peres Funeral

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Shimon Peres kicked the bucket. Finally at 93.

Baruch Dayan Ha’emet.

Because he died with his boots on—while he was no longer president he was still politically active when he suffered the massive stroke that killed him, his funeral is a big deal, HUGE.

Highway #1 the main artery connecting Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion airport to Jerusalem has been closed intermittently as have streets in the vicinity of Jerusalem’s Mt. Herzl military cemetery where Peres will be laid to rest tomorrow morning.

According to media reports, some 8000 policemen and women have been deployed to supervise the event — the two day long lying in state, at which thousands of Israelis including PM BibI Netanyahu have filed past Peres’s casket  and tomorrow’s  star studded celebrity funeral.

As a citizen , taxpayer and a regular driver on the roads which the Peres death event has  closed off,  all of this all of this makes me good and rolling mad. Furious.

I’m not a member of the Shimon Peres fan club. I know it’s bad form to speak ill of the dead, but for the record. I never liked the guy. Despite what the media is saying, he’s not a hero in my book.

Because of policies that Peres and his boss and political mentor David Ben Gurion put into place, thousands of Jewish children educated in state secular schools grew up with such scant knowledge of their Jewish heritage that they couldn’t understand what Jews were doing in the hot, dangerous Middle East and made their way to the  favorable climes of Los Angeles New York or  Berlin.

Decades later Shimon Peres brought us the Oslo accords based on the belief that the Middle East could become a new Scandinavia. That blunder was followed by three bloody and tragic intifadas, rocket attacks, wars etc, etc.

But that isn’t my topic here. This is about Peres’s death, Firstly the  lying in state.

According to the Code of Jewish Law Jews should not lie in state, no matter who they were during their lives. Period.

At least Peres’s coffin is closed, and to my knowledge he hasn’t been embalmed, made up or clothed in a suit. That’s a small comfort.

What we Jews do with a dead body, even of a dead VIP  is to wash it, clothe it in shrouds and  bury it — as quickly as possible.

Once the soul separates from the body, which is the way that Jews define death, it wants the body, which lacking the soul is just an empty vessel, to be buried. When the body is left to lie around, even in state, even while thousands of viewers lay wreaths — another goyish tradition, Jews put small stones on tombs, not flowers, and pay so called “last respect,” — the soul is in pain.  Leaving a body hurts the soul, a lot.

I didn’t like the guy but after such a long career, I think he deserved better treatment.

Why not let him go to his rest with dignity without inconveniencing thousands of people, wasting  public monies removing policemen from their posts and probably endangering the public as a result for the costly, ridiculous and non-Jewish  spectacle of  a casket viewing and delayed funeral.

About the Author
Carol Ungar is a prize-winning author, writing teacher and food blogger. She has several sons who study in yeshivot. Her husband is an IDF veteran who served in Gaza during the first intifada..