Israel’s Foreign Ministry this week announced that it will operate a consulate in Uman, Ukraine, on the days before and after Rosh Hashanah, JTA reported. The consulate will handle urgent cases, especially those that have diplomatic scandal written all over them. This should make life a little easier for the pilgrims who arrive at the gravesite of Reb Nachman of Breslov and get into trouble with local police, anti-Semitic gangs, local businessmen and all of the above.
The temporary consulate will operate in a building adjacent to the gravesite, where at least Chasidim congregate every Rosh Hashanah. Last year, a record 40,000 worshipers arrived.
Israel Police will also send over a special force—as it has done every year—to help the Ukrainian police establish order in Uman during the holiday.
Speaking of establishing order, the winds of Uman have already begin to blow at Ben Gurion International, where on Tuesday afternoon Ukrainian Airlines was scheduled to depart for Kiev with a large contingency of Chasidim, two of whom were drunk as a skunk, according to a Ynet report. One of them became ill and his friend started cursing out the flight crew. Police were called, and the same pilgrim clashed with the officers as well. The erring passengers were removed from the plane – which meant that, in keeping with security protocol, their luggage had to be located and removed as well.
The flight took off more than three hours later.
Incidentally, if you, like so many others on the Interweb, are wondering about the origin of the phrase “drunk as a skunk,” we have enclosed a video showing a pair of drunk skunks: