More than 800,000 people attended Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s funeral yesterday afternoon, making it the largest funeral in Israel’s history.
People from all over the country gathered in and around the Sanhedria cemetery, Jerusalem, to mourn the passing of Shas’s spiritual leader and head of the Sephardi community, who died on Monday afternoon aged 93.
Speaking at the funeral, Shas political leader Aryeh Deri said: “We’ve been left orphans. We have no father, we have no leader.”
Jerusalem came to a standstill, with roads closed and hundreds of police deployed around the city to manage the vast number of mourners. Paramedics attended to 300 people around the cemetery – and even delivered a baby boy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres both attended the funeral, following Mr Peres’s bedside visit to Rabbi Yosef earlier that day.
Mr Peres said in a eulogy after Rabbi Yosef’s death: “His greatness wasn’t measured but rather it was felt as a spiritual wind in every corner, lighting up the darkness in unexpected places.”