Ukraine issued a temporary ban on Wednesday against the entry of foreign nationals into the country, according to Hebrew media reports.
The announcement follows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s statement just one day earlier, on Tuesday, that he will limit the entry of Israelis ahead of Rosh Hashanah next month.
The ban is apparently meant to thwarts tens of thousands of Jews from traveling to Uman ahead of Rosh Hashanah, an issue that has been subject to much controversy both in Israel and Ukraine in recent days.
There are reportedly about 2,000 Israelis already in Uman but the Ukrainian government has stated that large gatherings inside of Uman will be strictly prohibited.
The ban will be implemented until September 28. The government also extended lockdown restrictions until the end of October to stem the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Ukrainian Rabbanim on Tuesday ahead of the Tishrei Chagim.
“Every year we receive the tens of thousands of chassidim who ascend to the tzion of Rav Nachman M’Breslov in Uman with honor and blessings, but this year, due to the infection rate, we cannot allow such a large amount of chassidim to come to Uman,” Zelensky said.
Later on Tuesday, Zelensky said he would limit the number of visitors from Israel “at Netanyahu’s request.”
Following fierce criticism of Netanyahu in Israeli media, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Officer denied that Netanyahu had made such a request: “The prime minister did not request a limit on the number of visitors to Uman. As was clarified in the joint meeting of Israel and Ukraine, which was published last week, the prime minister and the [Ukrainian] president urged [potential visitors] to refrain from traveling to Uman due to the infection rate, but noted and emphasized that whoever does decide to come to Uman must adhere to health regulations.”
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(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)