Skip to main content

Russia, Ukraine exchange barbs over Israeli pilgrimage to Uman

Moscow and Kyiv are exchanging accusations of endangering Israeli Jews wishing traveling to the Ukrainian town of Uman for the annual Jewish New Year pilgrimage.
Jewish pilgrims are stuck between Belarusian and Ukrainian border crossings after Kyiv refused their entry citing coronavirus concerns, Sept. 16, 2020.

Reports Sept. 18 indicated that some 7,000 to 10,000 Israelis are expected to travel to Ukraine this week, ahead of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, to be celebrated Sept. 26. Other estimates place the number of Israelis expected to arrive to Uman for the New Year as high as 30,000. The Israeli pilgrims are heading for the town of Uman, where Hassidic Rabbi Nachman of Breslov is buried. Over 2,000 Israelis are already in Uman for these annual pilgrimage celebrations.

Israeli authorities had warned several times in recent weeks against traveling to Uman, because of the war in Ukraine. The most recent warning was issued by the Foreign Ministry Sept. 1. While numbers are expected to be much lower compared with some 50,000 Jews arriving to Uman in the years before the war and before the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of Israeli travelers are still avoiding the warnings.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.