JERUSALEM – US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson was buried on Friday on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, a city that he fought for years to have recognized as Israel’s capital.
Mourners dressed in black – some in skullcaps and all wearing masks – laid Adelson’s unadorned coffin to rest, accompanied by his Israeli-born wife Miriam and other family members.
Praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “huge Jewish patriot”, Adelson died on Monday from cancer, said Las Vegas Sands Corp, which he turned into the world’s largest casino company.
A combative, self-made man raised in a poor Jewish immigrant family in Boston, Adelson established hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore. His wealth made him a formidable figure in US and Israeli politics.
Netanyahu was present on Thursday when Adelson’s body arrived at Israel’s Ben Gurion International airport, in a coffin draped in US and Israeli flags, photos published by Israel Hayom showed.
“It is a great loss for the Jewish people,” Netanyahu – a close friend – was also quoted as saying by the newspaper, which Adelson launched in 2007.
Known for extensive philanthropy and business ventures in Israel and donations to Jewish causes, Adelson saw his cherished goal for the city come to fruition in 2017, when US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
That move broke with decades of US policy, placed America at odds with most of the rest of the world and infuriated Palestinians who claim the east of the city as the capital of a putative future state.
The ancient Jewish cemetery where Adelson was buried is on a limestone ridge that overlooks Jerusalem’s walled Old City – which contains sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.