Ultra-orthodox Jewish arrive at Ben Gurion Airport after attending the Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage in Uman, Ukraine

Hundreds of Uman pilgrims feared trying to enter Israel with fake coronavirus tests

Police say found at least 13 pilgrims carrying forged documents at airport; suspects sent home to quarantine, expected to be hit with charges for knowingly spreading a communicable disease

Itamar Eichner, Adir Yanko |
Published: 09.09.21, 21:51
Israel Police feared that hundreds of Israeli worshippers returning from the Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage in Ukraine are trying to enter the country on Thursday with forged negative coronavirus tests.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • This after at least 13 pilgrims who arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on a flight from Kyiv were found to be carrying forged documents after having tested positive for the virus back in Ukraine.
    (Video: Ukrainian police)
    They were taken by ambulance to quarantine at home and authorities are expected to launch criminal proceedings against them for knowingly spreading a communicable disease.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    בן גוריון
    בן גוריון
    Ultra-orthodox Jewish arrive at Ben Gurion Airport after attending the Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage in Uman, Ukraine
    (Photo: AFP)
    Over 30,000 members of the Breslov Hasidic movement and other religious and non-religious Jews descended on the Ukrainian city of Uman this year for a three-day festival at the gravesite of the movement's founder Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
    The lion's share of worshipers arrived from Israel, but many others also came from France, Britain, Canada, and the United States among other countries.
    Over 10,000 Israeli pilgrims arrived in the country weeks ago for fear of COVID-19-related travel restrictions and some stayed there more than a month with their families.
    Israel has issued a travel warning to Ukraine due to relatively high coronavirus infection rates in the Eastern European country and requires travelers to self-isolate for seven days upon their arrival in Israel.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    חסידים חוזרים מאומן
    חסידים חוזרים מאומן
    Pilgrims returning from Ukraine arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, September 9, 2021
    (Photo: AFP)
    The national emergency service Magen David Adom (MDA) on Thursday reported an abnormally high coronavirus infection rate among Israeli worshippers who traveled to Ukraine for the Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage.
    MDA reported high demand and heavy crowding at coronavirus testing stations in Uman Wednesday night where pilgrims are offered rapid and cheap coronavirus tests.
    As the positive diagnoses kept mounting, some interest groups — namely local forgers offering fake tests — began spreading disinformation among the pilgrims, with some claiming that the Health Ministry-approved testing kits were fake or that MDA was manufacturing fake results because it was committed to a certain quota of positive tests.
    Some even began circulating stories about pilgrims who have initially tested positive for the virus at the MDA testing hub, but then tested negative several hours later.
    MDA rejected the claims categorically and said that it had no interest in forging test results.
    Sources familiar with the event have told Ynet of several pilgrims who have tested positive for the pathogen but then managed to evade quarantine and get on a bus to the capital of Kyiv where they bought a negative test from local forgers and boarded a flight to Israel. Officials are concerned they may have infected others on the bus and then on the flight.
    Talkbacks for this article 0