The chareidi and secular media have different figures but by all accounts, a minimum of 250,000 people took part in the levaya of Maran HaGaon HaRav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv ZATZAL.
The following information furnished by officials in Ichud Hatzalah. According to an Ichud Hatzalah (IH) report recapping the levaya, over 300,000 were in attendance. The EMS organization had over 350 volunteers assigned to the levaya, distributing thousands of liters of water on the hot Yerushalayim night. IH Executive Director Ze’ev Kakash praised his volunteers who only had a few hours to set.
IH had 67 motorized scooters standing by, three ambulances, a command post unit, and other specialized vehicles to address the difficult situation of so many people crammed into the alleyways and streets of Meah Shearim and surrounding areas. At Har Menuchos, IH was also on hand with lighting to facilitate the levaya.
As of 02:00 Ichud treated 57 people. Everything from people falling off of dangerous perches to chest pains. The evening was hot and stifling yet the sheer mass of people continued to grow. Nonetheless the levaya wasn’t moving due to the crowds. People were getting tired and weak and the volume of medical related calls started rising.
With the help of its rabbinic advisor Rav Azriel Aurbach Shlita [a son-in-law of Rav Elyashiv zt”l], the family was convinced to move the meis of Rav Elyashiv to an Ichud Ambulance to get things moving. The pace of the levaya then picked up and people were able to accompany the meis to Har Menuchos in more respectable and timely fashion.
For most, the levaya ended and they returned home but for police and Egged officials, the traffic jam was more than impressive and it took hours for the streets of Yerushalayim to unload the thousands and thousands of vehicles and buses that arrived to pay their respects to the gadol hador.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)