Ukraine has declined the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s request, according to the report, which said that diplomats had made an official request to the Ukranian government on the instructions of Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.
Rebbe Nachman, spiritual leader of the Breslov Hasidim, was born in the city of Medzhybizh in 1772 and died in Uman in 1810. Since then, Uman has become a mecca for Bratslavers, the name by which his followers are known. About 150,000 people visit Rabbi Nachman’s grave every year, making it an important site of tourism for Ukraine.
Rabbi Aryeh Lippo, a member of the Breslov movement involved in the efforts told Army Radio that “it’s illogical that half of Israel leaves the country every Rosh Hashana,” in reference to the thousands of Israelis who annually visit the rabbi’s grave on the Jewish New Year.
Eduard Dolinsky, Director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, told The Jerusalem Post that he doubted Kiev would agree to relocate the grave.
“It’s a kind of national treasure bringing millions of dollars every year to the state and city budgets as well as to Uman inhabitants,” he said. He noted, however, that some nationalistic groups such as the Freedom Party do support the move “because of chaos caused by the pilgrimage and general antisemitic views.”
Around the time of the annual pilgrimage there are often cases of antisemitism in Uman. Last year, Rabbi Nachman’s grave was desecrated with a pig’s head and splatters of red paint.