Brooklyn service to pay tribute to Ariel Sharon

January 12, 2014 8:51:46 AM PST
Jewish leaders in Brooklyn scheduled a memorial service Sunday for former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who died Saturday.

Rabbis, community leaders and others from various Jewish organizations said the service would be held to commemorate Sharon's life.

"Ariel Sharon was a Jewish hero, and we mourn the death of our heroic patriot. He was a warrior and one who cared greatly about the Jewish people, and the State of Israel. We mourn for the loss of this great man and we remember his legacy, and wish his family comfort," said Rabbi Aryeh Katzin, Chairman Of RAJE.

New York officials and Jewish groups praised Sharon's legacy following his death.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement Saturday commending Sharon's dedication to public service.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement New Yorkers were mourning his death. Both officials said New York has shared a special bond with Israel.

Hundreds of Israelis lined up outside Israel's parliament building on Sunday to pay their last respects to Sharon, the hard-charging former prime minister and general.

Sharon's coffin was displayed in a plaza in front of the Knesset, where a stream of visitors passed by to snap photos and say farewell. A funeral service to be attended by dignitaries from around the world, including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is scheduled for Monday.

The 85-year-old Sharon, one of Israel's most iconic and controversial figures, died Saturday, eight years after suffering a stroke that left him in a coma.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.