Kanievsky funeral safe and secure thanks to Israel Police -opinion

The police succeeded in pulling off the unbelievable, and exemplary order was kept in all the locations.

 POLICE CHIEF Kobi Shabtai (center) arrives in Bnei Brak to oversee security arrangements for the funeral of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky last month.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
POLICE CHIEF Kobi Shabtai (center) arrives in Bnei Brak to oversee security arrangements for the funeral of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky last month.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The Jewish people recently bid adieu to one of the world’s most revered Torah authorities. The sudden passing of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, of blessed memory, the influential haredi scholar and leader, left a gaping hole in the hearts of Jews from every denomination and circle, who viewed him as the leader of the generation in haredi Jewish society. 

Everyone who was fortunate enough to have seen him in person, and felt how every moment was precious to him; or others who saw how he used every spare moment for learning Torah, and so did not approach him at his residence – all of these people felt a genuine need to accompany this leader on his last journey, and to pay their last respects to a person who symbolized Torah itself. 

This crowd that was fortunate enough to honor the greatest rabbi of his generation, and attend the massive funeral that was the biggest that has ever been seen in Israel, must express its tremendous gratitude to the Israel Police, which till now has not received much sympathy from the haredi public. 

It’s no secret that the sudden death of Rabbi Kanievsky, may his virtue stand us in good stead, on the eve of Shabbat, created an extremely difficult situation and led to much deliberation. Throughout Shabbat and Saturday night, it was still not known when the funeral would take place. This led to surges of people making their way to Bnei Brak, starting already on Saturday night. 

There was no shortage, however, of parents who were wrought with concern over the welfare of their children who planned to attend the funeral, in light of other recent mass events, such as the funeral of Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, of blessed memory, and the last Lag Ba’Omer celebration in Meron, in which lives were lost.

 Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (credit: WIKIPEDIA) Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (credit: WIKIPEDIA)

And so, it behooves us to offer our greatest thanks to the Israel Police. 

THE POLICE succeeded in placing barriers and stationing officers on-site despite the short notice. This was made possible after a senior police official was made aware of the number of people who were anticipated to be in attendance at the funeral, and understood how important attending this special event was to every person there. 

For this reason, a large number of senior police officials could be found on site in a supervisory fashion, so that order would be kept and the event would take place without incident. In other words, they were there to make sure that every person who had come to honor the deceased would be able to return home safely. 

Carrying out this task was no easy feat – both because of the short notice, but also because the haredi community has a great mistrust of the police. However, the police succeeded in pulling off the unbelievable, and exemplary order was kept in all the locations. 

The ring of police officers that respectfully surrounded the late rabbi as he was brought to burial, and the large number of police officers who were spread out on the streets near the cemetery, and who were responsible for directing the crowds and making sure that they did not enter areas that were off-limits due to safety concerns, were the reason the funeral was able to take place with no harm coming to any of those attending. 

Because of the diligent hard work and sensitivity of the police, the event was a great success. 

Not many people were aware of this, but all of the senior police officials were present throughout the event, from Police chief Kobi Shabtai; his deputy, Rabbi Rami Brachyahu, chief rabbi of the Israeli Police; and all the police district heads, who showed up with a sense of mission. 

Indeed, their effort and determination to do everything to ensure that the funeral took place without incident were extremely appreciated. Because of their hard work, all the people who attended the funeral of this great Torah scholar were able to return home in peace. 

It is also worth noting that the public that gathered to honor the esteemed rabbi demonstrated great maturity and readiness to obey the instructions of the police force, since they knew that it was a matter of saving lives. 

As a result, the funeral took place in an orderly fashion, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of Israelis were in attendance, all crowded into a very small space. Thankfully, the event ended with no casualties. 

The bottom line is that thanks to the Israel Police, we were privileged to accompany one of the greatest Torah scholars of all time on his final journey, in the most honorable way possible. We must remember in the future, when other mass events take place, that in order to prevent calamities from occurring, we must cooperate with the police and follow all their instructions and guidelines, so that we can save precious lives. 

The writer is CEO of Rachashei Lev, a nonprofit organization for children with cancer.