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Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, a prominent hardline ultra-Orthodox leader, dies at 95

Funeral in Jerusalem on Sunday expected to draw tens of thousands of mourners, snarling traffic in the capital until early afternoon

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

Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, a prominent, hardline ultra-Orthodox leader, died on Saturday in Jerusalem at the age of 95.

He had caught an infection earlier this year, and was released from the hospital around a month ago, but his condition deteriorated in recent days.

He was hospitalized in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem medical center, where he was put on ventilator and sedated until he passed away.

Weiss was a leader among extremist anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox factions and the head of the Eda Haredit group. He was known for his uncompromising efforts to enforce Shabbat restrictions and prevent the conscription of yeshiva students into the military.

He was not always opposed to mainstream, secular society, though. He was supportive of bereaved families who lost loved ones in the military and prevented ultra-Orthodox protests against the state during Memorial Day, the Ynet news site reported.

His funeral will be held at Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives cemetery at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Police expect tens of thousands to attend the funeral. Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai held a situational assessment to prepare for the event and additional officers were going to be sent to the area.

The funeral procession was expected to set out from Weiss’s home in the Givat Moshe neighborhood, then wind its way through Mea Shearim before heading to the cemetery.

Men pray near the body of Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss at a synagogue in Jerusalem on July 30, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Traffic disruptions are expected in the capital between the morning and early afternoon.

Police asked funeral-goers to refrain from climbing fences, trees and buildings for a view, and asked drivers to remain patient.

Weiss, 95, was a community leader in Antwerp before taking on the leadership of the Eda Haredit group in 2004.

He was born in Slovakia and arrived in Great Britain as part of the Kindertransport prior to the outbreak of World War II.

Eda Haredit is staunchly opposed to Zionism and its followers, who number in the tens of thousands, refuse to accept any state funding. It wields considerable influence through its Badatz kashrut certification, which is considered the gold standard by many in the ultra-Orthodox world, even among members of competing groups.

The group generated intense controversy in 2018 when it revoked its stamp of approval from a winery, demanding that it ban its Ethiopian employees from coming in contact with its wine due to an ostensible doubt over their Jewishness.

Members of the Eda Haredit have also engaged in violent demonstrations against the IDF and the state, fighting with police and blocking roads in protest of the government’s draft policies.

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