Netanyahu cautions against risky Uman trip: 'A lot of Jewish blood already shed in Europe'

Government approves NIS 4 million action plan aimed at assisting and improving the conditions for Israelis on pilgrimage to Uman, although ministers urge worshippers to avoid traveling at all amid the war in Ukraine

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged religious Jews to avoid traveling on the annual pilgrimage to Uman, amid the risks posed by the continuing war in Ukraine. The government allotted four million shekel (nearly one million dollars) to provide assistance to those who decide to make the journey and improve conditions at the site of the grave of a Hassidic leader.
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"It's exceedingly dangerous. People need to realize that they are endangering themselves. Too much Jewish blood has been shed in Europe. How can we take such a risk?" Netanyahu said.
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רבבות בתפילה בציון רבי נחמן בעיר אומן שבאוקראינה
רבבות בתפילה בציון רבי נחמן בעיר אומן שבאוקראינה
(Photo: I24NEWS)
He went on to explain that the danger must be made clear to citizens, citing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who informed him that his government would be able to provide shelter for 11,000 people at most, while nearly 40,000 were expected to arrive in Uman. "God did not protect us in the past on European soil. And God did not protect us on Ukrainian soil. I ask that it be made clear to everyone, the extent of the danger – there are missiles that are falling there," Netanyahu said. Ultra-Orthodox Shas Party leader Arye Deri responded by telling the prime minister that God always protects Jews.
The cabinet decided that the Foreign Ministry would coordinate the use of funds and coordination with the Ukrainian government and neighboring countries through which the pilgrims were expected to travel.
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(Photo: Edward Docs)
In its decision, the government said that during the pilgrimage last year, land border crossings into Ukraine saw congestion and delays. Thousands of Israeli citizens were stranded for long hours in the cold and subpar conditions waiting to cross the border. This situation was life-threatening and resulted in a severe lack of basic necessities, creating a dire humanitarian crisis.
Ukraine was among the countries included in a travel warning issued last week by the National Security Council, due to the war.
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