The funeral of the 95-year-old anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox leader draws thousands to Jerusalem

The funeral of the 95-year-old anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox leader draws thousands to Jerusalem

Thousands attended the funeral of Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, head of the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit group, in Jerusalem on Sunday, with minor skirmishes reported between mourners and police officers.

Weiss was considered a prominent ultra-Orthodox leader known for his uncompromising efforts to enforce Shabbat restrictions and prevent yeshiva students from being drafted into the military.

However, according to news site Ynet, he supported bereaved families who lost loved ones in the military and thwarted ultra-Orthodox anti-state protests during Memorial Day.

Weiss died Saturday at the age of 95.

Mourners marched from the rabbi’s home in Jerusalem’s Givat Moshe neighborhood through Mea Shearim and Sultan Sulayman Streets to the Mount of Olives cemetery, where the funeral took place.

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The police had prepared for the funeral by blocking some main streets in the capital, including Haim Bar Lev Street in both directions and all the streets leading there, Ha Nevi’im Street, the Damascus Gate District, Sultan Sulayman Street, the streets around the Rockefeller Museum and the portion of Jericho Road leading to the Mount of Olives.

The funeral of the 95 year old anti Zionist ultra Orthodox leader draws thousands

Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, chief rabbi of the Eda Haredit faction, attends a protest outside a construction site in Har Gillo, October 18, 2021, claiming the construction site is desecrating Jewish graves. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Riders were asked to use alternative routes and an increased police presence was sent to the capital to ensure the event went peacefully. According to Hebrew media, the mourners began the march to the cemetery around 10 a.m.

By 3 p.m., most roads reopened and most participants reportedly began to disperse.

1659287393 135 The funeral of the 95 year old anti Zionist ultra Orthodox leader draws thousands

Ultra-Orthodox mourners surround the body of Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss during his funeral procession in Jerusalem on July 31, 2022. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

A few limited clashes between mourners and police officers were reported throughout the day, according to news site Walla.

When they arrived at the rabbi’s home on Sunday morning to coordinate with family ahead of the funeral, two police officers were verbally assaulted, with some shouting at them “Nazis” and “murderers,” Walla reported.

1659287393 792 The funeral of the 95 year old anti Zionist ultra Orthodox leader draws thousands

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men attend the funeral of Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss in Jerusalem July 31, 2022. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

In another incident, some mourners confronted police officers who were on site directing traffic, the report said.

Weiss fell ill earlier this year after an unspecified infection and was discharged from hospital about a month ago, but his condition has been deteriorating in recent days.

He was hospitalized at the Hadassah Ein Kerem medical center in Jerusalem, where he was put on a ventilator and sedated until his death.

1659287394 652 The funeral of the 95 year old anti Zionist ultra Orthodox leader draws thousands

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children watch through a window the funeral procession of prominent Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss in Jerusalem, July 31, 2022. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

Weiss was a prominent leader among extremist, anti-Zionist, ultra-Orthodox factions. Born in Slovakia, he came to Britain before the outbreak of World War II as part of the Kindertransport. He was a church leader in Antwerp before taking over the leadership of the Eda Haredit group in 2004.

Eda Haredit is staunchly opposed to Zionism, and his followers, who number in the tens of thousands, reject any government funding. She wields considerable influence through her Badatz Kashrut certification, which is considered the gold standard by many in the ultra-Orthodox world, even among members of competing groups.

1659287395 464 The funeral of the 95 year old anti Zionist ultra Orthodox leader draws thousands

Jewish ultra-Orthodox mourners attend the funeral of prominent Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss in Jerusalem July 31, 2022. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

The group sparked controversy in 2018 when it stripped a winery of its seal of approval and demanded that it ban its Ethiopian employees from any contact with its wine, citing alleged doubts about their Jewish affiliation.

Members of the Eda Haredit have also taken part in violent demonstrations against the IDF and the state, fighting with the police and blocking roads to protest the government’s conscription policy.

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