Miki Zohar
Miki Zoharצילום: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Coalition chairman MK Miki Zohar (Likud) responded Thursday to his critics who have decried his protest against a blanket ban on Breslov chassidim traveling to Uman for Rosh Hashanah.

"After swallowing all this criticism over the issue of Uman, I have been proven right by the facts on the ground," he wrote on Twitter. "Instead of organizing closely supervised trips for around 6,000 chassidim instead of the usual 25,000, with careful adherence to guidelines and so forth, what we have happening now is thousands of people traveling out there already without any supervision whatsoever.

"We should now admit the truth," he added. "The hatred people feel for the haredim simply blinded them."

It should be noted that senior Breslov rabbis had already granted their approval to a plan to limit the number of those traveling to around 6,000, with coronavirus testing being administered both before leaving Israel and upon arrival in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government had already drawn up a comprehensive program for tracing every single arrival from abroad, requiring them to install a special app on their phones to enable them to be immediately traced in the event of a coronavirus diagnosis - and the rabbis had agreed to this too.

All these plans fell apart yesterday when, due to Israeli pressure on the Ukrainian government, the latter abruptly decided to close the country's borders from this Saturday night, until after Yom Kippur. Hundreds of chassidim rushed to buy the last remaining plane tickets at hugely inflated prices; what will happen to all those thousands who have already purchased tickets for the coming weeks up until Rosh Hashanah remains to be seen.