Former President Bill Clinton is set to speak at former New York City mayor Ed Koch’s funeral on Monday.
The New York Post reports that Clinton is one of several people chosen by Koch, the 105th Mayor of New York City, himself to speak at his funeral. Koch played an integral role in helping get Hillary Clinton’s political career started.
Koch’s longtime spokesman George Arzt said that Koch and Clinton had a lot in common. “They had a very good relationship,” he said. “They talked on a lot of issues.”
In 2000, Koch endorsed Hillary Clinton for the New York Senate set, a time when many were skeptical of the former first lady and Chicago native taking the role. He again threw his support for Clinton in 2008 in her ultimately unsuccessful presidential bid.
Bill Clinton is said to be speaking at the high-profile funeral on Monday as a representative for President Obama, who will not be in attendance. Clinton is cutting a visit to Japan short to make it home in time for the funeral.
Current New York City Mayor Bloomberg is set to speak at the funeral as well, alongside Ido Aharoni, consul general of Israel in New York. Koch’s law partner, James Gill, his political aide and longtime friend, John LoCicero, and his former chief of staff, Diane Coffey, will also deliver eulogies, along with several family members.
The services will be held at the 2,500-seat Temple Emanu-El on East 65th Street in Manhattan. Koch will be buried at Trinity Church Cemetery in Washington Heights, and a private shiva will be held at Gracie Mansion on Tuesday.
Koch’s tombstone, which he bought several years ago, bears a star of David and reads the Jewish declaration of faith, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.’’
It also has murdered journalist Daniel Pearl’s last words inscribed on his tombstone: “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.”
“This is how he wanted it,” said Arzt.