Blacklisted: Hilltop Youth targeted by Ukrainian police in Uman

Who provided Ukrainian police with names & photos of Hilltop Youth? Could it have been... the dreaded Jewish Department of the Shabak?

Yehonatan Gottlieb ,

Blacklisted: Names & photos of Hilltop Youth on Ukrainian police officer's phone
Blacklisted: Names & photos of Hilltop Youth on Ukrainian police officer's phone
Courtesy of the photographer

Everyone’s going to Uman this year, it seems – the government’s COVID Czar, tens of thousands of Breslovers, and now the Shabak too.

Why the Shabak? “In order to continue their policy of harassing Hilltop Youth, wherever they may be,” one mother told Arutz Sheva.

“A group of boys traveled out to Uman for Rosh Hashanah, to pray there, hoping to have a little peace of mind while they were there,” she related. “Here in Israel they are pursued constantly, harassed, monitored – there, at least, they thought they would be free of all that for a short while.”

They were disappointed. It has emerged that Ukrainian police in Uman have been given lists of names and photographs of Hilltop Youth, presumably with suitable warnings that they could be dealing with extremely dangerous people. And the Ukrainian police haven’t simply been monitoring them. They have been making arrests, spot-checks of pockets and luggage, and taking fingerprints. They have even searched the apartments where the youths are staying, rummaging through possessions and making threats.

“It’s obvious that the Jewish Department of the Shabak is behind all of this,” the mother explained. “The boys arrived in Kiev on Friday, nine days ago, and stayed in a Chabad House there over Shabbat. While they were there, an Israeli approached them and said, ‘I know who you are, and we know where you’re going.’ Supposedly it was a chance meeting but of course it wasn’t. It was someone from the Shabak.”

The group traveled to Uman, and there the local police took over the harassment, with constant arrests, involving being taken to the local police station, searched, and questioned – in Ukrainian or broken English, which none of the boys understood.

“The only words they can figure out are ‘Israel,’ ‘terrorist,’ and ‘police,’” the mother related. “The police don’t know what to do with them, so after hours wasted, they fingerprint them and let them go – until the next time. They stop them anywhere on the street, on their way to Rebbe Nachman’s gravesite to pray, on their way back. They even entered the apartments where they’re staying. My son has already been arrested three times,” she added.

“What are the Shabak so afraid of – that they’ll stay in Uman?” she said. “Why can’t they just leave them alone – all they did was travel to Uman to pray.”