10,000 Israelis to make Uman pilgrimage despite Ukraine-Russia war

Over 2,000 Israelis are already in Uman as of Sunday, despite severe warnings from both Israeli and Ukrainian officials.

Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish pilgrims pray at the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov on the eve of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, the Jewish New Year, in the town of Uman, Ukraine September 20, 2017 (photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO/FILE PHOTO)
Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish pilgrims pray at the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov on the eve of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, the Jewish New Year, in the town of Uman, Ukraine September 20, 2017
(photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO/FILE PHOTO)

Forgoing several warnings from Israeli and Ukrainian officials, some 7,000 to 10,000 Israelis are expected to fly out to Ukraine this week to take part in the annual High Holidays pilgrimage to Uman, KAN News reported Sunday evening.

Over 2,000 Israelis are already in Uman as of Sunday, the report additionally noted.

Israeli sources told KAN News that the situation in Uman "currently poses a real threat to the lives" of the Jewish pilgrims. Earlier in September, the Foreign Ministry stated that all Israelis should refrain from traveling to Uman this year.

"The explosive security situation includes the danger of bombing from the air or firing rockets at civilian areas, including in the center and west of the country, which pose a real and immediate danger to life," said the ministry statement, which urged Israelis in Ukraine to leave the country immediately.

Ukraine: Israel must prevent potential 'massive killing'

  Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk in Tel Aviv, March 11, 2022.  (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk in Tel Aviv, March 11, 2022. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Ukraine had previously said it will not be able to ensure the safety of the pilgrims due to Russia's ongoing invasion of the eastern European country.

"Rosh Hashanah is coming, and no matter what we say, Orthodox Jews will try to get to Uman again," Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk said last month. "We understand your willingness to go to Uman and favor your support for Ukraine, but this is not the right time."

"We cannot guarantee your safety."

Korniychuk also took the opportunity to call on the Israeli government to intervene along with Ukraine to "prevent the massive killing of people that could happen."

Every year, Tens of thousands of Israelis travel to Uman to pray on Rosh Hashanah at the gravesite of rebbe Nachman of Breslov. Last year, more than 30,000 Breslov Hassidim went to Uman – mostly from Israel but also from the US, the UK and France.