Following a week of extensive preparations for the imminent death of former
Sephardi chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, thousands of police officers were deployed
throughout the capital to ensure order during the largest funeral procession
the country’s history, police said Tuesday.
“As Rabbi Yosef’s medical
situation was deteriorating, we knew we had to prepare for a huge, huge funeral,
on a scale that would be the largest ever in the country,” said Police spokesman
Micky Rosenfeld Tuesday.
“From 3 p.m. [on Monday] we already started
closing roads in Jerusalem,” he added.
According to Rosenfeld, 4,000
police officers – including 2,500 brought in from other parts of the country, as
well as numerous helicopters – monitored the funeral procession at all
While estimates in the media of mourners attending the funeral
were as high as one million, Rosenfeld said Tuesday that a preliminary headcount
taken by helicopters overseeing the procession was roughly 750,000.
Police Command Center, located in the Russian Compound of the Old City,
carefully monitored all movement around the massive procession into the city
from 12 p.m.
Monday until the funeral concluded, Rosenfeld
“Our command center was aware of all activity from the sky, as well
as the ground, in real time in case any incidents occurred,” he said.
“Considering the short space of time involved, our units were quickly dispersed
to ensure they were in the right place at the right time.”
added that all the officers were instructed to take into account “the huge level
of sensitivity involving the funeral.”
Despite the sheer density of
people and the emotionally charged nature of the event, no arrests were made
throughout the day, he said.
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