Jewish New Year: Virus restrictions thwart pilgrims on Ukraine-Belarus border

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picture captionThe Ukrainian and Israeli governments had known as on Hasidic Jews to not journey to Uman this 12 months
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Hundreds of Hasidic Jews have been stranded on the border between Ukraine and Belarus as coronavirus restrictions impede an annual pilgrimage.

The pilgrims had been travelling to the central Ukrainian city of Uman to go to the tomb of Rabbi Nahman, the founding father of the Breslov Hasidic motion.

Every 12 months 1000’s make the journey to mark Jewish New Year, which runs from 18-20 September in 2020.

As pilgrims tried to enter Ukraine this week, border guards stopped them.

The pilgrims set off though final month the Ukrainian and Israeli governments known as on them to not journey to Uman this 12 months, fearing a spike in coronavirus infections.

Jewish pilgrims, who plan to enter Ukraine from Belarus, rest in a neutral zone near the Novi Yarylovychi crossing pointpicture copyrightReuters
picture captionUkrainian authorities mentioned the Hasidic Jews weren’t exempt from the journey ban

Ukraine has restricted entry to foreigners from 28 August to 28 September to curb the unfold of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Israel has imposed a new national lockdown to contain coronavirus, with robust restrictions coming into impact on Jewish New Year.

Despite this, Ukrainian authorities mentioned a whole bunch extra pilgrims had been anticipated to reach on the nation’s borders within the coming days.

On Tuesday, estimates various as to what number of had been already at Ukraine’s borders.

Jewish pilgrims rest between trucks near the Novi Yarylovychi crossing pointpicture copyrightReuters
picture captionTraffic needed to be stopped on the border on Monday evening
Belarusian and Ukrainian authorities put the quantity at about 700, however The Times of Israel reported that there have been a minimum of 1,000 pilgrims trapped on the border.

Pictures from the border present dozens of Jews sporting conventional costume and carrying baggage as they wandered alongside a highway thronged by lorries.

On Monday evening Ukrainian guards mentioned they needed to cease visitors on the crossing at Novi Yarylovychi, as a result of the pilgrims had been in the best way.

Some pilgrims had arrange makeshift tents, whereas others slept on their baggage in entrance of the lorries.

“I spent the evening on the bus, however most of them spent the evening proper on the highway, some gathered branches within the forest and lit fires,” one pilgrim informed Reuters information company. “We haven’t any meals or water.”

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The Belarus Red Cross Society mentioned the pilgrims didn’t have “sufficient assets to make sure their fundamental wants” and help was being offered.

Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko has informed officers to supply help to the pilgrims, accusing Ukraine of “shutting its borders” and leaving a whole bunch of individuals in impartial territory.

Ukraine’s authorities has insisted it is not going to waive the journey restrictions.

“I do not know who promised to whom the passage of three,000 residents,” the pinnacle of Ukraine’s border service Serhiy Deyneko informed pilgrims on the border. “You had been deceived.”

Ukraine's border service head Serhiy Deyneko speaks with Jewish pilgrimspicture copyrightReuters
picture captionUkraine’s border service head Serhiy Deyneko spoke with Jewish pilgrims on the border

On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned the scenario with Mr Deyneko, his workplace mentioned. Ukraine had full management of the scenario, it added.

The Belarusian border service mentioned it was serving to pilgrims return to Belarus, according to state news agency Belta.

In the meantime, many pilgrims stay camped out on the border, within the hope Ukrainian authorities will permit them to enter the nation earlier than Jewish New Year, Belta reported.

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