Jewish New Year pilgrims spark Ukraine border block

  • Jewish New Year pilgrims spark Ukraine border block

Jewish New Year pilgrims spark Ukraine border block

The Belarusian border service and the Red Cross are doing what they can to help the pilgrims. They give out drinking water and blankets since there are many women and children among the pilgrims.

Video footage from the scene showed Hasidim camped out on a road crossing the border that was blocked by Ukrainian guards.

Hundreds of Hasidic Jews on pilgrimage for the Jewish New Year have caused problems on Ukraine's border, as they attempt to enter the country despite its coronavirus lockdown.

Belarus, which shares a long border with Ukraine, has not shut its borders to travelers.

Every Jewish New Year, tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews make the pilgrimage to the Ukrainian town of Uman. More pilgrims willing to celebrate the traditional holiday in the Ukrainian city of Uman are arriving.

The Haredim10 website, which caters to the ultra-Orthodox community, reported Tuesday that a rumor claiming the Gomel border crossing was open caused thousands of pilgrims in Belarus to rush to the site on Monday.

"A group of 170 Hasidim managed to find a loophole and according to their account, in return for a payment ($3,000 each) various authorities agreed to let them across the border [Monday] evening", the Secretariat of Bratslav Hasidim said in a statement.

Aleksei Dyubenkov said that the Ukrainian side had informed the Belarusian side that no citizens or vehicles are allowed to cross the Belarusian-Ukrainian border via the border checkpoint Novyye Yarilovichi as of 20:00 on 14 September. The Secretariat blamed the Israeli government for the situation and demanded the country's foreign ministry intervene immediately.

The Rabbi Nachman Foundation issued a statement, saying it had asked Ukrainian officials to allow the pilgrims to come.