Israel and Ukraine have reached agreement on facilitating Jewish pilgrimage to Uman for Rosh Hashanah after Kyiv threatened to bar worshippers due to a diplomatic spat.
Michael Brodsky, Jerusalem’s ambassador to Ukraine, announced the measures after holding talks with commanders of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine law enforcement agency. The deal will allow for tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews to enter Ukraine from neighboring countries.
As part of the agreement, entries into Ukraine will be increased in the days leading up to the Jewish New Year (which begins on Friday evening) when Hasidic and other Jews head to Uman, located 125 miles south of Kyiv, arrive to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), the founder of the Breslov Hasidic sect.
Border guards will work to speed up the entries and the posts will be open 24 hours a day in the days before and after Rosh Hashanah.
“I again call on the public to be attentive to the instructions and details of the announced plan, and with the help of God we will be able to arrange all matters of the trip,” said Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Jewish Heritage Meir Porush.
“I thank Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who has been leading and assisting in the matter for a long time, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who mobilized in response to my requests and spoke with the president of Ukraine, which made this news possible.”
The agreement comes after Ukraine threatened to bar Israeli pilgrims from entering the country in retaliation for the deportation of Ukrainian tourists from Israel.