Breslover Chassidim Detained At Ukraine Airports Released Shortly Before Shabbos


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.

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.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri with Ukrainian counterpart Arsen Avakov (Israeli Embassy in Ukraine)

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)


  1. Is that called mesirus nefesh taking young children and helpless teenagers to a country that had already declared in advance that they would not let them in? Sounds more like a total lack of responsibility of whoever sent them.

  2. @motchah11 they are pariahs. They each bring the possibility of bringing covid with them. A ban is a ban. Follow the rules or you’re on your own. Lucky that anyone came to their “aid”. Considering there are poor people and charities that really could use the money but people had spend money to bail these people out for being selfish just makes the world a worse place…

  3. Ukraine, like the rest of the world, is in the midst of a dangerous pandemic. The Ukrainian Government, like the Israeli Government has for many months past, has now closed its borders to non-Ukrainian citizens. What is wrong with that? What is this nonsense of the Breslovers thinking they have an absolute right to go to Uman? If they are so adamant to visit Rabbi Nachman, let them transport his remains to Israel, then they can tell the Israeli government what to do. If 300 Ukrainian citizens arrived in Israel today, when because COVID-19 Israel’s borders are closed to non-Israeli citizens, do you think the Israeli Government would bow to pressure from some Ukrainian Minister?