Ukraine plans to limit Israelis’ entry to Uman for Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

A worshiper prays at the gravestone of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in the town of Uman, 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Ukraine's capital Kyiv, Ukraine, September 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A worshiper prays at the gravestone of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in the town of Uman, 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Ukraine's capital Kyiv, Ukraine, September 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Ukraine will limit the number of Israelis who will be able to enter its borders ahead of the Rosh Hashanah Jewish pilgrimage to the city of Uman, Ukraine’s Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk says.

The limitations, which Korniychuk’s statement does not specify, are due to safety concerns amid Russian hostilities, he says.

“We fear that the Russians would seek to target as many people as possible, including Jewish faith leaders and worshipers, if civilians congregate in Uman,“ reads Korniychuk’s statement. “It would be incumbent on us to minimize the threat, which is the reason for the expected limitations on the number of visitors.”

In recent years, the annual pilgrimage to the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman of Uman, a 19th-century luminary, has drawn more than 30,000 Jews, mostly from Israel.

Ukrainian authorities declined to let in Israeli tourists in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading many to attempt to circumvent the ban.

Last year some 20,000 pilgrims arrived in the city despite the ongoing war, ignoring repeated travel warnings.

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