Video: Ukraine Expels Two Hasidic Jews for Tearing Down Barriers at Rabbi Nachman’s Tomb

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UMAN (AP) – Ukraine on Thursday said it would deport two Hasidic Jews after they broke apart metal barriers near the grave of an 18th century luminary.

Tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews travel every Jewish New Year to the town of Uman in central Ukraine to visit the tomb of Rabbi Nahman, founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.

But a string of restrictions imposed by the Ukrainian authorities to stop the spread of the coronavirus significantly cut the number of pilgrims and limited the scope of the celebrations this year.

“Yesterday in the town of Uman a group of young pilgrims and Israeli citizens made a mess at the grave of Tzaddik Nachman, breaking apart barriers set up to ensure the orderly passage to the shrine,” Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies will deport “two of the most aggressive Israeli citizens,” Gerashchenko said on Facebook.

“Ukrainians are hospitable people, but we will not tolerate rude behaviour and violence,” he added.

Last month, the Ukrainian and Israeli governments called on Hasidic Jews not to travel to Uman, a town of 80,000 people, this year, fearing a spike in coronavirus infections.

Kiev later banned foreigners from entering the country until late September.

In video shared on social media, the pilgrims could be seen pulling apart the barriers.

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