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Crowds Mourn Death Of Israeli Rabbi

posted 7 Oct 2013, 13:29 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 7 Oct 2013, 13:30 ]

Hundreds of thousands crowd Israel's streets for funeral of influental rabbi, Ovadia Yosef, who died of illness.

JERUSALEM (OCTOBER 7, 2013) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (CH 10) -  Hundreds of sympathisers joined a funeral procession for influential Israeli rabbi Ovadia Yosef who died on Monday (October 07).

Ultra-orthodox Jewish men crowded around a yeshiva or biblical seminary waiting for the remains of Yosef to be brought out in a funeral procession.

Over half a million sympathisers came out to attend the funeral.

Crowds filled the streets and surrounded the hearse which carried the body of the founder of the Orthodox Sephardic Shas party, once a linchpin in Israeli governments.

Dubbed Israel's Ayatollah by critics who condemned many of his pronouncements as racist - he likened Palestinians to snakes and said God put gentiles on earth only to serve Jews - Yosef was revered by many traditional Sephardic Jews as their supreme religious leader.

Yosef's political messages were sometimes mixed: he viewed the occupied West Bank, captured in the 1967 Middle East war, as part of the Biblical Land of Israel, but in a challenge to mainstream rabbis, he said it was permissible to cede land to prevent bloodshed.