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Rosh Hashanah 5774

Pilgrims on way to Uman riot after flight delayed

Arrests made after captain calls police to quell protests

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Hasidic Jews en route to Uman for Rosh Hashanah celebrations, Monday (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Hasidic Jews en route to Uman for Rosh Hashanah celebrations, Monday (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Several Hasidic Jews on a plane slated to take off for Ukraine were arrested after a riot broke out while the plane was on the tarmac Tuesday morning.

The unrest was sparked after the plane, one of dozens filled with religious pilgrims heading to Uman, Ukraine, for Rosh Hashanah celebrations, was delayed. The plane’s captain was forced to call police after excessive disturbances by the passengers.

Some passengers damaged the emergency oxygen systems on the plane, Israel Radio reported.

A number of planes were briefly held back after two Palestinians in a stolen truck attempted to ram through the airport’s security gate at 3 a.m., prompting a shootout. Airport officials said flights were back to normal by mid-morning.

Thousands of pilgrims head from Israel to Uman each year to be at the burial site of Rav Nachman of Breslov, the 19th century founder of the Hasidic dynasty, during the celebrations of the Jewish new year.

At the airport earlier in the morning, in a separate incident, police and immigration authorities arrested some 50 people headed for Uman. Among those arrested were fugitives, people wanted for questioning and passport forgers.

It was unclear if all those arrested were actually followers of the Breslov sect or whether they had merely hoped to use the mayhem and abundance of people dressed the same way at Ben Gurion Airport as cover for their getaway.

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