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More than 1,000 Jewish pilgrims stranded in Ukraine over fear of coronavirus

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Ukrainian The government video from the scene showed hundreds of men and boys waiting along a highway in Belarus to try to enter Ukraine. Some have set up tents, presumably after waiting overnight.

Border guards with helmets and armor policed ​​a string of barricades blocking them from entering the area. Ukraine has been closed to foreigners since August.

The pilgrims were given food and water, the Ukrainian border service said.

Ukraine is the burial place of 18th-century Breslov Rabbit Nachman, the great-grandson of the founder of the Hasidic movement. His tomb in the city of Uman is a place of pilgrimage often visited by the surrounding ultra-Orthodox Jews. Rosh Hashanah, The Jewish New Year, which begins on Friday night of this year.

Avraham Shapira, an Israeli pilgrim who is on the border with his children, told CNN that he had booked a direct flight from Tel Aviv to Kiev four weeks ago because he heard the border would be closed.

When he arrived at the airport, he said, the flight was canceled and he booked new tickets to Kiev via London. In London, his next flight was canceled, but he was able to book a ticket to Belarus.

He praised the Belarusian government for providing “all necessary services” for pilgrims crossing the border, saying Belarusians had offered to provide buses to bring pilgrims directly to Oman, stay two days and return to Belarus.

Shapira added that the group would not “see any Ukrainian citizen. It is not a danger to anyone. I come to pray for the world, I do not come to pray only for myself.”

Belarus, which has faced international criticism for its controversial presidential election, has confirmed it has offered to transport pilgrims.
Rosh Hashanah Quick Facts

“Our country is ready to take responsibility for all these functions and, of course, to organize the process as safely as possible, for example it will not affect the situation with the level of Covid disease,” said the press secretary of President Alexander Lukashenko, Natalia Eismont in a statement.

The Government of Ukraine has issued an order close its border to foreigners from August 28th to September 28th to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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