Rightwing Svoboda Party begins campaign against Hassidic Pilgrims
The rightwing Svoboda Party is not known for its tolerance and commitment to multiculturalism, so the present “campaign” by the Cherkasy branch is not especially surprising. The reports about the reasons for their actions in the media do not, however, foster understanding themselves.
Ukrainsky Tyzhden cites the Svoboda Party’s Cherkasy Branch Press Service as expressing anger over the purported failure by the police “to stop and avert aggression by Hassidic Jews to Ukrainians; who don’t try to prevent or stop mass disorder which the Hassidic Jews bring each year to their religious festival”.
Hassidic pilgrims come from all over the world each year to Uman where Reb Nachman Breslover (4 April 1772 – 16 October 1810) , the founder of the Breslov Hassidic movement is buried. The pilgrimage coincides with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year at the end of September.
There were a number of serious scandals last year and 10 Hassidic pilgrims were deported back to Israel and banned entry to Ukraine for 5 years.
They had disturbed the peace during the detention of people suspected of assaulting two Uman residents. A conflict had arisen between a local resident letting her flat to pilgrims, and as a result of the incident two local residents were injured, one receiving light knife wounds.
The Cherkasy Regional Administration expect around 30 thousand pilgrims this year around Rosh Hashanah. The Head of the Administration, Serhiy Tulub believes that a law needs to be passed clearly defining the status of pilgrims in Ukraine.
From a report at Ukrainsky Tyzhden