Breslov hassidim to Shas, Aguda: Don’t count on us in March elections

Many in the large community rage over what they see as being “abandoned” when Ukraine refused to allow them in for the Jewish New Year.

Breslov hassidim in a public park in Gomel, Belarus, who have been waiting for days and weeks for entry into Ukraine for the annual pilgrimage on ash Hashana to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Uman (photo credit: NACHMAN BENCHAYA)
Breslov hassidim in a public park in Gomel, Belarus, who have been waiting for days and weeks for entry into Ukraine for the annual pilgrimage on ash Hashana to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Uman
(photo credit: NACHMAN BENCHAYA)
Agudat Yisrael and Shas may face the loss of thousands of votes due to the alleged “cold shoulder” both parties gave Breslov hassisim last Rosh Hashanah, ultra-Orthodox portal Bahazit reported on Monday. 
Thousands of religious Jews flock to the Ukrainian town of Uman on the Jewish holiday to visit the burial site of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ukrainian health and state officials warned all tourists, Jewish and non-Jewish, that the borders will be sealed. 
This was ignored by many Jewish believers who either hoped for a last-minute change or wished to show their devotion. For some Hassidic Jews, the emotional and spiritual connection to a great soul of the level of Nachman is very important. Some religious Jews visited holy sites even during the years of the USSR. 
The result was that Israeli citizens, most of them religious, were stuck on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border in what quickly became an international issue involving Israel, Ukraine, and Belarus. The event turned into a media spectacle with television crews filming families sleeping in fields, refusing to let go of the dream of visiting the holy grave. 
Now these Breslov hassidim might vote for another religious-leaning party, bearing in mind how Shas leader Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said at the time that "we are amid a plague and all synagogues around the world pray in small groups.
“The great gathering in Uman this year [2020] can't take place in its usual format and will need to be reduced," he said at the time. 
"We will remind everybody what took place," a source close to the community told the Bahazit. "In the moment of truth, Deri was not there to help us."
While the Ukrainian government decided on a policy and made it clear ahead of time to all visitors, Israel did not halt outgoing flights and did not insist on preventing the mass movement of persons to the pilgrimage site. 
This refusal to take a stand, many claimed, was due to the mass public support Breslov hassidim enjoy. 
   
       


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