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Overhead infrared photo of Yosef funeral 370.(Photo by: Courtesy Jerusalem Police)
Thousands of officers successfully oversee largest funeral procession in Israel’s history
Police: Our command center was aware of all activity from the sky and the ground in real time in case any incidents occurred.
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 in 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 times.

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.

The 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 said.

“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.”

Rosenfeld 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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