According to reports on Israeli news site Ynet.com, the proposed entrance fee to the site would be approximately $100 per day. Admission to the site would be controlled by a magnetic card, with all fees collected used to maintain and secure the site. For the thousands of chasidim who make the annual trek to Uman for Rosh Hashana, the additional cost for the typical five day visit could prove to be prohibitive.
Breslover Chasidim are preparing to fight the proposed fee, which was tabled by Parliament last week. One Breslover who lives in Uman told Ynet that it was Breslover rabbanim and askanim who suggested the entrance fee to Parliament, in the hopes that they themselves would win the needed approvals to run the site and potentially turn a hefty profit.
“No one in Israel would try to charge an entrance fee to the kever of Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meiron,” said the Uman resident. “Here, too, there should be freedom of religion and freedom to worship. Unfortunately, some of our good friends are taking part in this effort and are hoping to take over for all of Breslov.”
The Uman resident also alleged that the Ukranian government has never spent any money to improve the site of Rebbe Nachman’s kever in Uman or done anything to benefit the thousands of pilgrims who flock to the site annually.
“It’s not enough that they make substantial profits from the Chasidim who come every year, now they want to add on additional taxes.”
One of the Breslovers named as an instigator of the plan told Ynet that he had just heard of the proposed entrance fee in the last day, and that despite rumors to the contrary, he is not in favor of the plan.
Shimon Buskila head of the World Breslov Center in Uman pledged to do everything in his power to ensure that the proposed fee does not receive parliamentary approval.
“The proposal is a violation of fundamental values of human freedom and liberty,” said Buskila.