Hasidic Jews on pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine in 2019
Hasidic Jews on pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine in 2019
Photo: United Hatzalah
 Hasidic Jews on pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine in 2019

PM denies role in Ukraine move to restrict Jewish pilgrimage

Netanyahu denies Ukraine president's claim he asked for restriction; Mayor of Uman Oleksandr Tsebriy says if necessary, he would set up roadblocks to ensure that 'outsiders' kept out of city though sources in Israel estimate 1,500 already at pilgrimage site

Reuters, Ynet |
Updated: 08.25.20, 19:07
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday denied he had requested Ukraine to limit access to the annual pilgrimage of Jews to Uman.
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  • Ukraine said it would limit the number of Hasidic Jews planning to enter the country after Israeli fears that the event would be a coronavirus hotspot.

    3 View gallery
     Hasidic Jews on pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine in 2019
     Hasidic Jews on pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine in 2019
    Hasidic Jews on pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine in 2019
    (Photo: United Hatzalah)
    "At the request of the Prime Minister of Israel, a decision was made to significantly restrict the Hasidic pilgrimage to Uman to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)," President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office said in a statement.
    It did not say how many Hasidic Jews would be allowed into Ukraine for the event or give any further detail but sources in Israel say 1500 people have already arrived at the pilgrimage site.
    The head of Israel's coronavirus task force has asked Zelenskiy to ban the annual pilgrimage outright because of concerns the central Ukrainian town of Uman could be a hotbed of coronavirus contagion.
    Zelenskiy's office has declined to comment on whether Kyiv might ban the Hasidic pilgrimage entirely, not just limit it.
    Israel is among a series of countries from which any travelers to Ukraine must quarantine themselves for 14 days after arrival. Israel registered 230.6 new infections per 100,000 of its population last week while Ukraine's rate was 54.9.
    Tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews descend on Uman every Jewish New Year to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who revived the Hasidic movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and died in 1810.
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    אולם התפילה בסמוך לקבר רבי נחמן
    אולם התפילה בסמוך לקבר רבי נחמן
    Jews in prayer near the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
    (צילום: איחוד ברסלב באומן)
    Rosh Hashanah celebrations this year run from Sept. 18-20.
    The Ukrainian and Israeli governments have issued a joint statement pleading with pilgrims to cancel their trips, but significant numbers are still planning to go.
    The Mayor of Uman Oleksandr Tsebriy said last week that if necessary, he would set up roadblocks to ensure that "outsiders" not enter the city .
    3 View gallery
    The Mayor of Uman Uman Oleksandr Tsebriy visits the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
    The Mayor of Uman Uman Oleksandr Tsebriy visits the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
    The Mayor of Uman Uman Oleksandr Tsebriy visits the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    He added that 94% of the city’s population oppose the entry of foreign nationals from “red" countries with a high level of coronavirus infection, of which Israel is one.

    First published: 17:27, 08.25.20
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