The funeral of the "Sar haTorah," the leader of the Lithuanian stream of haredi Jewry, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ztz"l, will be held at noon on Sunday, departing from the Rabbi's home on Rashbam Street in Bnei Brak at twelve o'clock and proceeding to the Zichron Meir cemetery. According to police estimates, between 700 thousand and one million people are expected to attend.
In order to prevent overcrowding and risk to life, the Bnei Brak municipality has installed dozens of huge screens and speaker systems throughout the city. The municipality urges parents to warn their children "not to try and reach the areas of most overcrowding, and absolutely not to try to reach the Rabbi's mitah [the bier] itself."
"Do not climb onto roofs or buildings," the municipality has also warned. "The entire area will be hermetically sealed off by Israel Police, and such attempts will be both unnecessary and dangerous."
The Communications Ministry has asked the public to refrain from making non-urgent use of mobile devices in order to free up bandwidth for emergency services. In cases of emergency it is advisable to try to call the 100 hotline even if there appears to be no reception. Due to the congestion at such events, difficulties are expected in issuing and receiving calls in the immediate area.
The following roads have been blocked ahead of the funeral procession:
- Highway 4 from the Morasha Interchange to the Shiva Interchange.
- All entrances and exits to Bnei Brak.
- Jabotinsky Street from Ben Gurion Junction to Rabin Road and streets leading to Jabotinsky.
- Aluf Sadeh Interchange to Derech Hashalom.
- Derech Em Hamoshava from the direction of the Ayalon Mall in both directions
- Highway exits from Kiryat Ono and Givat Shmuel towards Highway 471 and the intersection of Shaariya in the direction of Highway 471 heading west.
From Saturday at midnight, Israel Railways is operating a direct train service from Yitzhak Navon train station in Jerusalem to the Bnei Brak train station in the north of the city and from there a shuttle bus is operating to take people to Rabbi Akiva Street in Bnei Brak.
Schools and kindergartens in Bnei Brak, and many in Gush Dan such as Ramat Gan and Givat Shmuel, will be conducting distance learning on Sunday. Student transportation has been canceled, and tests will be postponed to a future date.
At the conclusion of a situation assessment held by Police with the participation of the Public Security Minister, Omer Bar-Lev, as well as Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, it was decided that around 3,000 police officers will be posted in and around Bnei Brak to maintain order.
"Israel Police is preparing to organize an event of a magnitude we have never before encountered in our region," said Bar-Lev. "It is vital that the public participating in the funeral and the general public in the central region cooperate with the police today."
Police Commissioner Shabtai added, "I call on the public to keep informed of police announcements regarding the barriers set up and all other funeral arrangements and, of course, to obey the instructions of police officers who will be deployed from the early morning throughout Bnei Brak and the surrounding area. This is a national event, one of the largest in the history of the State of Israel, and all the various security agencies will be working together in order to enable the event to take place in the best possible way.
"The goal of Israel Police is for the funeral to take place safely and in an orderly manner with the large number of participants that are expected to arrive, and the challenging conditions in one of the most crowded cities in Israel. We will have the welfare and safety of all participants at the forefront of our considerations. Around 3,000 police officers from all over the country will be deployed in this complex operation under the command of the Tel Aviv District in an operation that will extend over 15 hours," Shabtai noted.
During his life, Rav Kanievsky was very involved with the tzedaka organization Vaad HaRabbanim.Funds are being collected for tzedaka l'ilui nishmat HaRav Chaim Kanievsky HERE.
The last campaign to run during Rav Kanievsky's life was a "Kamia" campaign, where the Rav revived an ancient tradition for the first time in 100 years.