When the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who died on Tuesday, came to Israel in 1995 to attend the funeral of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, he had brought with him earth from the graves of his brothers, Sen.
Robert F. Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy, who were killed the same way as Rabin.
Prof. Leonard Fine, who revealed the gesture on the Talking Points Memo blog, said that "after waiting for the crowd and the cameras to disperse, he dropped to his hands and knees, and gently placed that earth on the grave of the murdered prime minister. No spin. No photo op."
President Shimon Peres paid homage on Thursday to the late Senator Edward Kennedy as "a great friend of the state of Israel."
Kennedy died at age 77 on Tuesday night following a battle with cancer.
During the senator's first visit to Israel, Peres said he was impressed at Kennedy's interest in the country's health insurance system. "He saw already at that time that health issues were going to be central ones for the American people," Peres said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday also mourned the loss of Kennedy. "Ted had been a friend for the last 30 years," he said in a statement. "He was one of the greatest patriots to arise from the American nation, a special person and a profound friend to Israel and to the Jewish People. He will be sorely missed."