World leaders including Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Tony Blair and Joe Biden gathered to pay homage to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during the first of two funeral services to be held Monday.
Sharon, who died over the weekend after spending eight years in a coma, was remembered for his strong character and sometimes controversial decisions.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said America's relationship with the state of Israel was unwavering despite some disagreements.
"In certain instances, American leaders, American Presidents had profound differences with him. And they were never shy about stating them, nor was he. Through it all, the United States whether we agreed or disagreed or disagreed with a specific policy has been unflagging in its commitment to the state of Israel," said Biden.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair described Sharon in the following words, "And the same iron determination he took to the field of war, he took to the chamber of diplomacy, bold, unorthodox, unyielding."
Later, the coffin containing Sharon's body was transferred to a burial site at his family farm for another ceremony.
Ariel Sharon was 85 years old.