Golda Meir, the once preeminent leader of the Jewish people and moving force behind the creation of the Israeli state, was buried today as she asked to be-simply, solemnly and without eulogies and official salutes.
A cold, penetrating rain fell over Mount Herzl as the body of Mrs. Meir, who died Friday at the age of 80, was lowered into a grave. Israeli's chief army cantor chanted prayers asking God to put the dead at rest in heaven.
Several hundred relatives, friends, government officials and foreign dignitaries from around the world crowded the gravesite in a sea of black umbrellas to observe the simple and brief burial service. Mrs. Meir's grave was next to that of Levi Eshkol, whom she succeeded as prime minister in 1969.
Earlier, in the grand foyer of the Knesset, Israelis parliament, about 1,000 mourners attended a service that was similarly brief and simple.
There, under Mare Chagall's imposing 24-foot-high mural depicting the tumultuous history of the Jewish people, Mrs. Meir lay in state in a plain pine coffin covered with the blue-and white Israeli flag stop a high black-covered bier flanked by a military honor guard and two burning torches.
As the hundreds of mourners filed into the vast hall, two army chaplains softly recited psalms until the chief army chaplain, Brig. Gen. Gad Navon, opened the services with readings from the Book of Psalms.
Mrs. Meir's son, Menachem, recited kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer for the dead that glorifies God but does not mention the person who died.
The late premier's son's voice broke with emotion as, reading in Aramaic, he concluded with the verse, "He who makes peace in heaven will make peace on Israel. Amen."
In the front row were members of the immediate family, Israel's President Yitzhak Navan, Prime Minister Menachem Begin, members of the Cabinet and leaders of the Knesset and other officials and members of the foreign delegations.
The largest delegation, from the United States, included Lillian Carter, the presidents's mother, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, former Supreme Court justice Arthur Goldberg, senators, representatives and governors and leaders of the American Jewish community.
Following the symbolic tearing of clothing by close relatives, an ancient expression of bereavement, and readings form Mrs. Meir's own writings by Israeli actress Orna Porat, six high-ranking army officers carried the coffin outside for the procession to Mount Herzl.