Rabbi Nahman supporters in Ukraine 311.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The Foreign Ministry on Thursday issued a statement expressing regret at the
violent incidents in Uman over Rosh Hashana during which a local was stabbed by
an Israeli pilgrim.
The comment came a day after the office of the
Ukrainian president issued a statement of its own saying Ukraine expected the
pilgrims to exhibit tolerance and respect for its laws.
An Israeli man
was arrested, and later among those deported, after he reportedly stabbed a
Ukrainian citizen in the city’s Jewish quarter on Friday night. A number of
witnesses said the Israeli was drunk and that the altercation broke out after
the Ukrainian man was caught stealing from Jewish tourists who came to Uman for
the Rosh Hashana pilgrimage.
Ukrainian police said the local man was
stabbed in the stomach and taken to a local hospital in serious
According to the Ukrainian police, two policemen were injured
in a mass altercation with hundreds of pilgrims that broke out after they came
to arrest the stabber. That incident came a day after hundreds of Jewish
pilgrims rioted in another incident when confronted by police.
the Ukrainian government and its citizens for the hospitality, consideration and
patience that they demonstrate toward the numerous visitors from Israel who
every year visit the grave of Rabbi Nahman in Uman,” the Foreign Ministry
The statement said that like the Ukrainian government,
Israel attributes a great deal of importance to interreligious understanding and
freedom of worship for all. “We are certain that the unpleasant incident that
occurred this year will not cast a cloud over the deep and longtime friendship
between the two peoples, and hope that this type of incident will not occur in
The statement followed by two days a communiqué put out by
the office of the Ukrainian president saying that Ukraine “has a centuries-old
multicultural tradition of tolerance toward all the nations and religious
communities living on its territory.
“Many geniuses of other nations were
born in our land of plenty, and we understand the desire to honor them, or make
pilgrimages to places of their residence or burial,” the statement said in
reference to Rabbi Nahman of Breslov (1772-1810).
The Ukrainian statement
then said the authorities “expect of the organizers and pilgrims the same
tolerance to the local population and other religious communities, as well as
unconditional compliance with Ukrainian laws in order to prevent ethnic or
religious tensions in our society."
Ukraine hoped the incident would be
“a good lesson for organizers of the pilgrimage, and that they would
additional measures to minimize the possibility of similar unpleasant
in the future.”
Foreign Ministry officials denied that the Israeli
statement was intended to avert a crisis in ties with Kiev over the
Ben Hartman contributed to this