No Israelis were injured, but about 20 people have been injured and are currently receiving medical treatment, according to local health officials, informs JPost.
60 people were detained after hundreds of anti-Israel protesters stormed an airport in Russia’s predominantly Muslim Dagestan region on Sunday, the RIA news agency reported on Monday, citing local investigators.
RIA said the identity of 150 of what it called the most active protesters had been identified. It said nine police officers had received injuries in the incident, two of whom were being treated in hospital.
A swarm of local residents in Makhachkala in the Russian Republic of Dagestan stormed an airport in the city in an attempt to attack any Jews and Israelis set to arrive on a «Red Wings» flight from Tel Aviv on Sunday, according to local media reports.
No Israeli casualties were reported from the incident according to the Israel Foreign Ministry, although about 20 people have been injured and are currently receiving medical treatment according to Dagestani health officials.
According to N12, the pilots were warned of the mob and rerouted the plane to land at a nearby airport. The rioters reached that one as well. The flight staff ordered the locking of all aircraft exits, while security forces closed the area off. Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsia said all aircraft were diverted to other airports. A security source said that a small number of Israelis and Jews were secured in the airport, and were set to be evacuated to Moscow «at the earliest convenience.»
As of 10:20pm Moscow time (19:20 GMT), Russia’s aviation authority Rosaviatsia said on Sunday that all «unauthorized citizens» had been removed from Makhachkala airport, Reuters reported.
The Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry, and the National Security Council are monitoring the situation, amd said that «Israel expects the Russian law enforcement authorities to protect the safety of all Israeli citizens and Jews wherever they may be and to act resolutely against the rioters and against the wild incitement directed against Jews and Israelis.»
Footage reportedly from the scene shared on local Telegram channels showed a hoard of people, Muslim pro-Palestinians, chanting «Allahu Akbar» and stopping cars to check the documents of passengers, ensuring they were not Israeli or Jewish, carrying Palestinian flags. In one of the videos that circulated social media, a rioter can be heard saying: «We are here for the Jews, we came to kill them with knives and shoot at them.»
The Republic of Dagestan, which sits along the coast of the Caspian Sea, is an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation. There are an estimated 400 Jewish families in the region, with a 2012 survey indicating that 83% of the population is Muslim.
Rioters search hotel for Jews
In Khasavyurt, also located in Dagestan, rioters gathered at a hotel where Israelis who had fled the fighting were reported to be staying, with some of the rioters entering the hotel and only leaving after ensuring that no Israelis were in the hotel.
The “ChP Dagestan” Telegram channel reported that the riots in Khasavyurt began after “a person resembling an Israeli citizen” was seen walking near the hotel.
The Russian Echo FM radio reported that a resident of Dagestan stated “I went into every room, I checked every person. I looked at the passport, looked at the face to see if this face corresponded to the passport. There are no [Jews] there, brothers, you are simply being provoked. We need to go home. Well done to everyone who came, you’re all caring.”
Israeli officials monitoring the situation in Dagestan
The Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry stressed on Sunday that “The State of Israel takes seriously attempts to harm Israeli citizens and Jews everywhere.”
The Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry, and the National Security Council are monitoring the situation. “Israel expects the Russian law enforcement authorities to protect the safety of all Israeli citizens and Jews wherever they may be and to act resolutely against the rioters and against the wild incitement directed against Jews and Israelis.”
Former chief rabbi of Moscow and the chairman of the Conference of European Rabbis Pinchas Goldschmidt said the CER is «concerned about the situation of the Jews in Dagestan, with the reports of calls for pogroms against the Jews in the republic’s cities. President [Vladimir] Putin is responsible for the peace of the Jews in his country and we hope that he will give an unequivocal instruction to the local government not to allow riots and pogroms against the Jews.”
Goldschmidt addressed the violence in a post on X as well, writing «Where are the Russian security forces? All in Ukraine? The definition of a pogrom is: inaction of the security forces during riots.»
Zelensky: Riot in Dagestan not an isolated incident
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the incident was not isolated but is rather «part of Russia’s widespread culture of hatred toward other nations, which is propagated by state television, pundits, and authorities.» Zelensky pointed to several antisemitic comments made by Russian officials in the past year.
Zelensky pointed to several antisemitic comments made by Russian officials in the past year, saying “for Russian propaganda talking heads on official television, hate rhetoric is routine. Even the most recent Middle East escalation prompted antisemitic statements from Russian ideologists.”
“Russian antisemitism and hatred toward other nations are systemic and deeply rooted. Hatred is what drives aggression and terror. We must all work together to oppose hatred.”
Chief rabbi warns against allowing extremism in Russia
During a recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar told Putin “we have not encountered state antisemitism for many years, and there is no antisemitism on the street either, but we have experience from the past. Therefore, our main request to the authorities, federal and local: a constant and uncompromising fight against extremism.”
After the violence reported on Saturday and Sunday, Lazar stated «We live in very difficult times, and unfortunately, in the last few weeks the difficulties have only increased. Terrorist attacks, conflicts between countries, entire regions are engulfed in violence with no end in sight. Instead of peace, mutual understanding, mutual help for common development — tension, hatred, and even atrocities are increasing. Entire cities, and in some places entire countries, fall under the rule of terrorists who commit crimes against humanity.”
Lazar noted that the relations between different communities in Russia are being “tested.”
“These events did not happen by chance, they were preceded by a passionate propaganda of extremism and terrorism on social networks. It is clear that we cannot really influence what is happening in the Gaza Strip or on the Lebanese border: we can only pray together that peace will finally come. But we can, and even must worry, that the poisonous seeds of extremism and terrorism will not affect, God forbid, from there to here.”
“I have no doubt that the aggressive actions of extremists blinded by hatred in Cherkasy and Benalchik will be severely rejected by the authorities!”
The chief rabbi called on all residents of Russia to work together to “preserve the unique atmosphere of mutual respect and support that makes Russia a good place to live in.”
Local Muslim leaders condemn violence
The Coordination Center for Muslims of the North Caucasus condemned the riots, stating on Saturday “In recent days, we have been faced with provocations of destructive forces who, purely for personal selfish interests, in order to incite interfaith hatred in the North Caucasus, are trying to call on Muslims to take to the streets against all Jews, including Jewish citizens of the Russian Federation who have been living peacefully on our territory for centuries, who have nothing to do with the genocide of Palestinians by Israel, the United States, and their minions.”
The center stressed that the violence “is contrary to the spirit of the Islamic religion and the traditions of the peoples of the North Caucasus. Antisemitism has no place in the multinational North Caucasus.”