Israelis traveling to the Dagestan region in Russia were met with Muslim protesters at the airport.
Videos online capture hundreds of protesters crowding the Makhachkala airport, which is the region’s capital. Some were heard chanting “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase used by Muslims to praise God. Others shouted antisemitic phrases. Makhachkala has a predominantly Muslim population.
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Other protesters took to the tarmac in an attempt to confront the Red Wings Airlines plane that brought travelers from Tel Aviv. Further videos recorded some travelers having their passports checked by locals.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his optimism in the Russian government intervening, as his office issued a statement Sunday saying it “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.”
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The Dagestani government has supported Gaza citizens previously but also issued a statement to discourage the protests against these Israelis.
“We urge residents of the republic to treat the current situation in the world with understanding. Federal authorities and international organizations are making every effort to bring about a ceasefire against Gaza civilians,” the government wrote on the social media platform Telegram. “We urge residents of the republic not to succumb to the provocations of destructive groups and not to create panic in society.”
Even the supreme mufti of Dagestan, Sheikh Akhmad Afandi, released a video statement telling the protesters they were “mistaken” and that the problem could not “be resolved in this way.” Afandi also said in the Telegram video that he understood the protesters’ frustrations.
Many Israelis have been evacuating their country since Hamas launched thousands of rockets there over three weeks ago. As a result of the subsequent war between Israel and Hamas, the death toll among Palestinians in Gaza reportedly reached more than 8,000, while over 1,400 people have died on the Israeli side, per the Associated Press. The Israel Defense Forces has issued a directive for citizens to evacuate Northern Gaza and Gaza City.