Hasidim on plane to Uman arrested for unrest

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Several hasidim heading to Ukraine to spend Rosh Hashanah at the burial site of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov were arrested at Ben Gurion Airport for rioting after their flight was delayed.

The flight was on the tarmac early Tuesday morning in Israel when airport operations were suspended for about an hour after two Palestinian men in a stolen struck ran a security barrier.

The passengers caused damage to the plane, including to its emergency oxygen systems, according to reports.

Some 25,000 pilgrims, many of them from the Breslov hasidic movement, converge in Uman each year ahead of the Jewish New Year to pray near Nachman’s grave. The rabbi died in 1810.

Also Tuesday morning, some 50 people traveling to Uman were arrested. Among them were fugitives from justice, passport forgers and people wanted for questioning, according to The Times of Israel. The paper reported that it was unclear if those arrested are actually hasidim or if they were trying to capitalize on the large number of similarly attired people in order to escape the country.

Meanwhile, rabbis and organizers from the Breslov movement met Monday in Uman with top Ukrainian government officials to work on security for the pilgrimage and facilitate cooperation between the World Breslov Center and the local police, Israel National News reported.

Among the subjects discussed was the building of a statue with a Christian cross in recent weeks on the banks of a lake near the grave, which the hasidic leaders say will prevent the annual Tashlich ceremony from taking place. The hasidic leaders agreed to use a different body of water for the ceremony, in which participants cast their sins on the water.