Israel and Ukraine issued a joint statement on Tuesday discouraging visitors from coming to Uman for Rosh Hashanah due to fears of sparking a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The epidemiological situation in Ukraine and Israel, as well as throughout the world, unfortunately, does not allow us to mark [Rosh Hashanah] per the usual customs,” the joint statement said.
“In accordance with the recommendations and warnings of the Ukrainian and Israeli health ministries, we urge those planning to take part in the Rosh Hashanah celebrations in Ukraine to refrain from visiting Uman due to the threatening epidemiological situation.”
“Regarding those who nevertheless decide to visit Uman, we emphasize that the social distancing regulations apply to all public events and will be strictly enforced. The governments of both countries are jointly concerned regarding the public health and safety of their citizens.”
“We hope for understanding and believe that next year we’ll be able to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, like other holidays, together and without any restrictions.”
In July, an official letter of the Ukrainian government stated that Israeli Jews will not be allowed to enter Ukraine to spend Rosh Hashanah at Uman due to the coronavirus situation.
However, on August 1, the Ukrainian Chief Rabbi Rav Yaakov Dov Bleich announced that the Ukrainian government has agreed to allow at least 5,000 people to visit Uman for Rosh Hashanah and may increase the number to as high as 8,000.
Israel’s Health Ministry was not pleased by Ukraine’s decision to allow Israelis to visit for Rosh Hashanah. “Our professional position is that it’s out of the question to allow this event to take place due to the gathering of 30,000 people on a street and a half,” Dr. Asher Salmon, the director of the Health Ministry’s International Relations Department, said at the time regarding Ukraine’s decision.
“The only way to stop this is for the Ukrainian authorities to take the appropriate action,” Salmon asserted.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)