At the request of the head of the Israeli government, Ukraine, has decided to impose restrictions on the number of Hasidic pilgrims traveling to Uman (Cherkasy region) to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) this year.
This was announced in a statement on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s website after a conference call on Tuesday, the CFTS portal reports, citing the Interfax Ukraine news agency.
"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," the statement said.
Earlier, the participants in an interagency meeting at the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed that arrival of tens of thousands of Hasidic pilgrims in Uman to celebrate the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, in the traditional format is impossible in 2020 because of the epidemiological situation in Israel, the ban on organization of mass events in Ukraine, the need to create a large number of places in which Hasidic pilgrims arriving in the country can be placed under observation, and the fact that law enforcement officials will have difficulty monitoring pilgrims in self-isolation.
The Israeli Ministry of Health later urged Ukraine not to allow Hasidim pilgrimages to Uman this year for Rosh Hashanah celebrations.
Mayor of Uman Oleksandr Tsebryi threatened on August 17 to block Hasidic pilgrims from entering the city during the Rosh Hashanah celebrations because of the coronavirus situation. He then traveled to Kyiv to resolve the issue at the highest level.
On the same day, Ukraine’s Interior Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov said that the government supported the decision to restrict travel to Uman by foreigners during the Rosh Hashanah celebrations.
The governments of Ukraine and Israel issued a joint statement on August 18, urging all pilgrims who have planned or are planning to take part in this year’s Rosh Hashanah celebrations in Ukraine to refrain from visiting the city of Uman “due to the threatening epidemiological situation." The governments reminded the pilgrims who nevertheless decide to visit Uman that the quarantine in Ukraine applies to all public events and that it must be strictly observed.
Avakov said on August 21 that Ukraine would introduce technical restrictions that would make it impossible for a large number of pilgrims to travel to Uman.
In 2019, more than 30,000 Hasidic pilgrims traveled to Uman to celebrate the 5,780th Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), which is celebrated from the evening of September 29 to the evening of October 1. The Boryspil airport handled almost 40,000 Hasidic passengers last year.