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Monday, October 7, 2013

More than half a million mourners attend funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

More than half a million mourners on Monday took part in Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's funeral procession in Jerusalem, Israel Police estimated, following his death earlier that day at the age of 93.

The procession left the Porat Yosef Yeshiva at 6 P.M. and made its way to the Sanhedria Cemetery in the capital. Thousands have made their way to Jerusalem to attend the funeral.

Police and Jerusalem and Magen David Adom emergency service were preparing to provide security and medical services during the funeral. Many of the city's streets were closed to traffic, including the eastern entrance to the capital (Route 1).

Jerusalem's light rail train lines were altered and the police have asked motorists to avoid entering and leaving the city if possible. The police have also set up an information hotline. Its number is 1-700-553-100.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat has pledged in recent months that Yosef will be commemorated in the city.

Yosef had been hospitalized several times over the last few months with a host of medical problems, including kidney failure, heart problems, blood pressure problems and infections. His condition deteriorated rapidly over the last two weeks.

Ovadia was taken to the Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Kerem more than two weeks ago, where he was anaesthetized and put on a respirator.

He regained full consciousness on Thursday, but his condition rapidly deteriorated over the course of Sunday evening.

Over the years, Yosef served in a wide variety of roles: he was a kingmaker in Israeli politics, president of the Shas party's Council of Torah Sages, Israel's former Sephardi chief rabbi, and more. He was also an Israel Prize laureate.

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