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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Updated: 850,000 Mourners at Rav Ovadia’s Funeral (+Video)

The gigantic contribution of Rav Ovadia to Israel cannot be measured, but one indication is they 850,000 people who attended his funeral and a huge number who did not come, knowing there was no room for many more.
.Crowds at Rav Yosef's funeral

Photo Credit: Yonatan SIndel/Flash90

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Approximately 850,000 people – more than 10 percent of Israel’s Jewish population – crowded Jerusalem streets Monday night for the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, forcing the closure of the entrance to Jerusalem from the main highway and resulting in more than 200 of injuries and victims of fainting.

Police were barely in control of the crowds, and police officers expressed hopes that there will not be a tragedy from the cramming of people and cars into small spaces.

It is estimated that one million mourners may pass through the capital before the funeral is over, and that is estimated to be not long before midnight Israeli time. The body of Rav Ovadia arrived at the entrance to the cemetery shortly before 10 p.m., but authorities were having a difficult time to stop thousands of mourners from trying to come close to the grave site. At 11 p.m., five afters the funeral processi0n began, the burial was over.

Hundreds of people simply parked their cars in the middle of the street to reach by foot the funeral procession and burial, next to his wife Margalit at the Sanhedria cemetery. It  is the largest funeral in the history of Israel and may remain such for a long, long time.

Yosef, a widower, is survived by 10 of his 11 children and several dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His son Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef recently was elected as Chief Sephardi Rabbi, a post once held by his father.

Media around the world are reporting on the death of Rav Ovadia, and even the Gulf Times, based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported it.

The Associated Press told its readers, “he was the charismatic face of his Shas party,” one of the most succinct and accurate statements that one could make.

Rav Ovadia was well aware that the Shas party, which he founded, will be without a shepherd after his death. His son Rabbi Yitzchak said that Rav Ovadia’s will stated that there should be no in-fighting over the future of the party.

Knesset Member Aryeh Deri, the charismatic and controversial political leader who has been his heir apparent, cried after the announcement of Rav Ovadia’s death, “How will we go on alone. Who will lead us now? U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro stated, “Rav Ovadia Yosef was a spiritual leader to hundreds of thousands, if not more, a great learner [of Torah] and a wise and learned man, a father to an impressive family and an important contributor to the society and politics of the State of Israel.

“Today in Jerusalem and all across Israel, his supporters and followers mourn him. To them, and first and foremost to his beloved family, I send my condolences. May his memory be blessed.”

 

Crowds at Rav Ovadia's Funeral

Crowds at Rav Ovadia’s Funeral

.Rav Ovadia Funeral   Rav Ovadia Gravesite open  

Shalom Bear contributed to this report.

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About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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9 Responses to “Updated: 850,000 Mourners at Rav Ovadia’s Funeral (+Video)”

  1. Zipi Vainstein says:

    מעניין שאת כל ה 850 אלף האלה לא רואים כשיש גיוס לצה”ל בתקופת מלחמה!!!

  2. Yeremiahu Rueben Yonteff says:

    This is amazing, only the Jewish people could ever have and show this much love for one man.

  3. Robert Sidi says:

    “Entire Jewish communities returned to Israel thanks to Rav Ovadia’s rulings,” Sharansky noted, adding that Yosef’s “rulings on conversion reflected first and foremost the importance of building the nation in an era of the in-gathering of exiles. May his memory be a blessing.”

  4. That doesn't say much for the Jewish people. What a shanda.

  5. Vingore says:

    G-d bless him.

  6. Bye bye Rav Ovadia. May your soul rest in peace.

  7. Paul Devlin says:

    He was an avowed racist and sectarian hatemonger and, in political terms, a fascist. If any religious leader in any decent country made the utterances he made, they would be in prison for incitement to violence and racial and religious hatred. That this person is lauded by anybody, never mind the Israeli establishment and the American ambassador (WTF?) is an utter disgrace and shows the benighted depths to which the Israeli public discourse has sunk

  8. Paul Devlin says:

    He was an avowed racist and sectarian hatemonger and, in political terms, a fascist. If any religious leader in any decent country made the utterances he made, they would be in prison for incitement to violence and racial and religious hatred. That this person is lauded by anybody, never mind the Israeli establishment and the American ambassador (WTF?) is an utter disgrace and shows the benighted depths to which the Israeli public discourse has sunk

  9. No wonder here, each nation once being returned to tribal identity will do the same.Do not expect something worthy from such communities …

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