NOVYYE YARYLOVICHI, UKRAINESEPTEMBER 17, 2020SOURCE: STATE BORDER GUARD SERVICE OF UKRAINERESTRICTIONS: NO RESALE
1. Mid shot Hasidic Jews facing Ukrainian state border guard officers 2. Mid shot Hasidic Jews leaning on barrier3. Mid shot children leaning on barrier4. Mid shot man trying to speak with guard officers5. Close-up chevron on guard officer's shoulder6. Wide shot guard officers standing in line7. Close-up state border guard service officer's back8. Mid shot Hasidic Jews leaning on barrier9. Wide shot crowd of Hasidic Jews at border10. Wide shot crowd of Hasidic Jews at border11. Wide shot man reading prayers12. Mid shot man reading prayers13. Wide shot people near their temporary tents14. Wide shot people near their temporary tents15. Wide shot people walking16. Wide shot man walking17. Mid shot man leaning on fence18. Wide shot guard officers standing in line19. Aerial shot crowd of Hasidic Jews at border (NO AUDIO)
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Hasidic pilgrims at Ukraine border refuse to return despite Israel plea By Olga SHYLENKO in Kiev and Jonah MANDEL in Jerusalem
Kiev, Sept 17, 2020 (AFP) - Hundreds of Hasidic Jews were still massed at Ukraine's border, with some saying they had no intention of leaving, even though Kiev has refused their entry citing coronavirus and Israel has urged them to return.Tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews head to the central Ukrainian city of Uman every Jewish New Year -- which falls on September 18-20 this year -- to visit the tomb of Rabbi Nahman, the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.The believers departed for Uman this year even though both the Ukrainian and Israeli governments last month had urged them not to travel because of the pandemic.Speaking to AFP from the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, one of ultra-Orthodox pilgrims, Itsik Cohen, said the believers were hoping for divine intervention."I'm waiting and praying that they open the borders, so we can have the privilege of being with our Rabbi, God willing," said Cohen, an Israeli Breslov Hassid from Jerusalem."We believe in God, and if God wants it this way, we need to do anything we can to show our determination, to the very last minute."Ukrainian authorities said the situation had not changed since Monday when crowds of believers began building up on the closed Ukraine border and pilgrims were still refusing to leave."They are dancing, they are singing, they are praying," the spokesman for the Ukrainian border guard service, Andriy Demchenko, told AFP.He said that some 1,000 pilgrims were staying between Belarusian and Ukrainian border crossings, while more people were in Belarus.Ultra-Orthodox members of the Israeli coalition had pressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to enable the tradition, despite the objection of health officials who feared the crowded mass event would increase contagion.
- Call to return home -
But an Israeli minister indicated Thursday that efforts to enable ultra-Orthodox believers' access to Uman had failed."Ukraine announced it wouldn't allow entry via border crossings or any form of small delegation," Higher Education and Water Minister Zeev Elkin, who is Ukrainian-born, said on Twitter."I call on our citizens to return to Israel and uphold the quarantine instructions upon their arrival."Both Ukraine and Israel are keen to avoid a spike in coronavirus infections, with Kiev closing the borders to foreigners until late September.Israel is set to be the first developed country to enforce a second nationwide shutdown, to begin on Friday afternoon.Pilgrim Cohen dismissed the Israeli minister's call."Elkin doesn't determine the reality, there's a God in the world," he said.The Belarus border guard service said 1,216 people had attempted to cross since Monday, including 337 children. The Hasidic Jews standoff on the border has led to diplomatic tensions between Ukraine and Belarus.Ukrainian authorities on Wednesday accused Belarus of giving the pilgrims false hope of entering despite the restrictions by spreading "false encouraging statements" and "rumors" that the Ukrainian border may still be open to foreigners.Minsk has called on Kiev to start dialogue with the pilgrims and show respect for their rights.Up to 3,000 Hasidic Jews have arrived in Uman for the celebrations, local police said. Law enforcement has tightened security near Rabbi Nachman's tomb where pilgrims have congregated. Ukraine has reported more than 166,000 cases of coronavirus and 3,400 fatalities.On Thursday, Ukraine reported a fresh daily record of 3,584 new coronavirus cases.jjm-osh/as/pma