The roads to Jerusalem were blocked, traffic in the capital came to a standstill, 4,000 policemen fought for control, and 150 people needed first aid, as mourners from the across the country poured in for the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who died Monday at the age of 93.
A powerful figure in Israeli politics and spiritual leader of the ultra-religious Shas movement, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef died in Hadassah hospital Ain Karem, Jerusalem, Monday morning. He was on life support after rallying briefly from the critical condition that brought him to hospital.
Born in Iraq, Harav Ovadia, as he was known affectionately, was one of the greatest Torah sages of the age, the doyen of Sephardi rabbis and a former Chief Rabbi of Israel. For his outstanding and original Talmudic scholarship and prolific works on Jewish law, Rabbi Yosef was awarded the Israel Prize. His son Yitzhak Yosef stepped into his shoes last month as Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Israel.
While in hospital, many thousands of his followers prayed daily for his recovery.