Absurd: Trendit Claims Just 273,000 Attended Chacham Ovadiah’s Levaya

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trendit-rav-ovadiah-levayaAccording to Israeli police reportsup to 800,000 people were at the levaya of Chacham Ovadiah Yosef zt”l.

Most Israeli chareidi outlets had the estimate at about a million.

Ovadia Yosef Funeral

However, in addition to the secular media in Israel trying to downplay the crowd size – no surprise there – an Israeli high-tech start up named Trendit claims the number of people actually attending the funeral was 273,000, just 34% of the police figure.

Trendit gathers real time cellular phone data in a predefined area, and by cross-referencing the raw data with demographic and statistical data, is able to generate what it calls, Population Analytics. At the core is the simple notion that people carry their cellular phones with them all the time, therefore enabling the mapping of population movement.

Trendit’s research has already featured in the press during the “social protests” two years ago.

Yesterday, less than 24 hours after the levaya, Trendit published on LinkedIn and Twitter their research on the number of people at Rav Yosef’s levaya. By their count, there were “only” 273,000 people, a figure that seems way off base considering the reports from numerous sources – including police and emergency personnel – stating that the minimum was 600,000.

As of March, Israel’s population stands at 8,012,000, with roughly 75%, or 6 million of them Jewish. Given that the vast majority of levaya goers were men, that means that roughly 25% of Jewish males attended the funeral, or 1 in 4.

Trendit’s Data shows a different case:

Timeline of funeral participants, all rights reserved Trendit Ltd.

Further exploration of the data shows the participants’ origins:

Participants origin.

Participants origin, all rights reserved Trendit Ltd.

This data show that there’s a discrepancy of half a million people between the Israeli Police and Trendit. While there’s no reason to doubt the police figures, estimated by the number of buses and crude head count, it might be an overestimation, as has already happened with big rallies in Israel. Then again, Trendit’s data might be an underestimation due to a number of reasons:

First, Trendit uses mathematics and computer algorithms to extrapulate the data, and is only accurate to a certain degree.

Furthermore, chareidim are a difficult demography to monitor due to different norms, including a ban, to a certain extent, on mobile phones. Though Trendit may know their demographics, it is worth remembering that unlike Tel-Aviv social justice protests, not everyone has the most up-to-date iPhone or Android mobile phone.

And then there’s the inherent problem of scale. Just what is a funeral procession? Is it only the people in a certain radius from the grave? Does it include all the people along the path of the procession? What about the people stuck in traffic that, although partaking in the funeral, couldn’t physically make it close enough in time?

Trendit allows customers to define an area for monitoring, which is usually fixed around a focal point. Funerals move through space, and are highly irregular. Then there’s the issue of cell tower migration and system overload, which might also interfere with the data collection.

Media estimates are notoriously unreliable at times, but between the probable overestimation of a million and the absolute underestimation of 273 thousand, Rav Yosef’s levaya saw one of the biggest crowds ever. Our sources say that it is far close to the million mark than Trendit’s “fabricated numbers,” one source called it.

Info from IsraellyCool.

{Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Its completely off base for several reasons, including the “scale” reason mentioned in the article. They also mentioned that many do not have droid and iphones. Another reason, which is quite simple, is people who shut off their phone. It was a funeral, and people came to show respect as well as behave respectfully. Many people wouldn’t consider chatting on the phone while at a funeral. They chose to close their phone.

  2. The reason you think 273,000 is low may be because of an anchoring bias. The number 800,000-1,000,000 has already been established in your mind so 273,000 seems ridiculous to you. There is no reason to think that the police estimates where even remotely accurate. The scene was chaotic and constantly moving. Head counts even under the best conditions are notoriously difficult.

  3. As you mentioned, Trendid goes by real time cellular phone data, but since most people who attended the funeral did not have their cellular on or did not have cellulars altogether (like bachurim), they’re way way off.

    Another reason, the anti charedi police would not give such a high estimate, if anything they’d give the lowest possible estimate. Thus there were most probably even more than 1 million people.

    The secular can buy into this absurd estimate but we know the truth. THE TORAH WON AND WILL CONTINUE TO WIN!

  4. I guess i really wasn’t at the levayah with my daughter because I don’t own a i-phone! There were so many people at the levayah that people walked allthe way from ramot because there was no other way to get through; there were many more people at this levaya than at hagoan rav elyashiv. There is nothing to even talk about, these people making the study are only interested in taking down kovod shamayim. In addion if the ISRAELI POLICE. Admitted to 850000, then for sure there were over a million. They always minimize the amount of people to anything religious by about 40%.

  5. i was at the levaya and i can tell you cellulars were not working because there were so many ppl jamming the lines at the same time so they cant really use cell data as any form of proof

  6. As most who were at the levayah can attest, our cellular phones where not working! Most phones simply did not have service, because the networks were overloaded. I don’t know how, or if, that would affect Trendids numbers.

  7. When you state that there is a 4 Million population of jews in israel, how many are dati. Frum? If one million were there then according to the best estimates in israel, there are st most only 1 million frum and that includes women and children.
    It is literally impossible to have that many.
    The problem with us is, that we feel bad if the number were 500,000. That is still the biggest of the biggest. No one in america or israel ever had do many.
    Remember, that the ridiculous estimates given by previous were also highly exagerated. Not willfully, simply there is no one that can estimate between 500,000 and one million, or 300,000 and 6.

    Its more than enough to say this godol hador zt”l had the biggest funeral with hundreds of thousands attending.

  8. Of the 6,000,000 people considered jewish, according to the frum parties, there are only 1.2 million chareidim/dati. This includes women and children. Remember, of the 6 million there are 1.6 million Russian and ethopian immigrants that are not frum. Bottom line, if there were 1 million people there that means every single dati plus another 4-500,000 non dati/frum attended. Unlikely.

    What our propogandists don’t realize is the kovod that the greatest godol hodor had with the hundreds of thousands that were there.

    The CHAZAL says clearly “KOL HAMOSEF GORAYAH”,
    adding and exaggerating diminishes the value and repect of the tzadik zechiso yogain oleinu.

  9. #10
    Your # are off on population of Israel, and with 65% of Israeli Jews being Sefardim of any or none religious spectrum…..plus all the chutzniks (students, yeshiva, university, volunteers),, no. near 800,000 is far from absurd.

    YET WHO CARES?????

  10. # 10 & 11, the same person:

    Many people who are not [yet] completly observant, attended the funeral to show respect and mourn our great loss.

    Its also absurd to al-of-a-sudden say that police are incapable of accuratly estimating crowds. Absolute insanity. What’s your real agenda?

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