Hundreds of Thousands Attend Cemetery of Israel’s Leading Rabbi

Hundreds of thousands of people attended the funeral of an ultra-Orthodox rabbi in a city in central Israel on Sunday, March 20.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, 94, one of the most influential academics in the country’s religious community, died Friday.

He was born in Pinsk, Belarus, and moved to the Palestinian territories which were then controlled by the British when he was a child. He is one of the few remaining ultra-Orthodox community leaders in Israel who were born before the Holocaust. He is admired by many Jews around the world.

The rabbi is interred in Bnei Brak, the predominantly ultra-Orthodox town near Tel Aviv, where he lives.

Israeli media estimated that more than 350,000 people attended the funeral procession from his home to a nearby cemetery.

There are about 12 percent of ultra-Orthodox adherents in Israel, a country of 9.4 million people.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting that Kanievsky’s death was a “huge loss for the Jewish people.” On Saturday (19/3), opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu paid his last respects to Kanievsky at his residence. [vm/pp]