About 300 Breslover chassidim who were detained at Ukrainian airports on Friday due to the country’s ban on foreign nationals were released shortly before the onset of Shabbos following extensive efforts by Israeli politicians, B’Chadrei Chareidim reported.
In light of the fact that the Ukrainian authorities were insisting on sending the Jews back on return flights on Shabbos, frantic diplomatic efforts were initially made on Friday to at least convince the authorities to delay their return until Motzei Shabbos. Among those attempting to solve the issue were Higher Education Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud), Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine and others.
Businessman Louie Shiner had already organized and began sending kosher food to the airport, with the understanding that the Jews would remain at the airport for Shabbos and will fly back to Israel on Motzei Shabbos.
התמונות של חסידי ברסלב תקועים בשדות תעופה באירופה יושבות על נרטיב ברסלבי עתיק של מסירות נפש בדרך לראש השנה באומן. רבי שמואל שפירא שהבריח את הגבול לפולין בתרפ"ט ונידון למוות. קבוצות שהסתננו בשנות הקומוניזם. זו אמונה (שאני לא חלק ממנה), והדרך להתמודד היא במציאת פתרון הולם וביטחותי. pic.twitter.com/m8poJxQLNU
— אריה ארליך A. Erlich (@AryeErlich) August 28, 2020
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) August 28, 2020
חסידי ברסלב תקועים בשדה התעופה בלבוב בלי מים רוצים להחזיר אותם לארץ בשבת pic.twitter.com/97cIo2pLFQ
— משה ויסברג (@moshe_nayes) August 28, 2020
However, about an hour before Shabbos, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri joined the efforts and bypassed the diplomatic channels, turning directly to Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov through Rav Yonatan Markovitz, asking him as a personal favor to secure the Israelis’ release.
Avakov responded to Deri’s request immediately and the chassidim were released about an hour before Shabbos and made their way to the Podol shul for Shabbos. At the time of the report, it was unclear if the chassidim will be allowed to continue to Uman on Motzei Shabbos or if they will be required to return to their countries of origin. The chassidim were mostly from Israel but there were also chassidim who have arrived from Europe and the United States.
Deputy Minister Meir Porush (UTJ) also carried out efforts on Friday, speaking with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi who was in Germany and asking him to work toward releasing the chassidim. Ashkenazi contacted Ukrainian authorities and urged them to release the chassidim before Shabbos.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)