A new highway to Jerusalem is to be named after Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Transport Minister Israel Katz said Sunday.
Yosef, a former chief rabbi regarded as the leading Sephardic halachic authority of the generation, died last Monday. He was 93.
Route 16, due to connect the Motza interchange with the neighborhoods of west Jerusalem, is slated for opening later this year.
Katz said that the 4.7-kilometer (2.9-mile) road would honor the memory of the late Yosef, and that the highway would pass through the neighborhood of Har Nof, where the rabbi lived.
“Rabbi Ovadia [Yosef] was a great figure for all of Israel and a great figure for the city of Jerusalem,” Katz said.
“Route 16 symbolically makes a connection between two great men — [former prime minister] Menachem Begin and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef — through the two main entrances to the city,” Katz added, referring to the Begin highway, which currently passes through the capital and is undergoing an expansion toward the city’s southern entrance.
On Sunday, thousands of people gathered in Jerusalem to take part in a memorial for the late rabbi, marking the end of the traditional seven-day shiva mourning period. Organizers put the number of participants at 100,000.
Yosef’s funeral, which took place on Monday last week, drew, according to police estimates, over 800,000 people, making it the largest funeral in the country’s history. Others estimated the crowd at perhaps half that number.