On Sunday, a crowd purportedly searching for passengers on a flight from Tel Aviv attacked an airport in the Russian province of Dagestan. After online rumors spread that refugees from the Israeli city of Tel Aviv were landing at the airport, the local Muslim population allegedly set out to kill any Jews who dared enter the Russian-controlled republic. The Times of Israel reports that an Israeli airplane was forced to make an emergency landing at a different airport owing to the unrest.
Lenta, a Russian news agency, cited social media footage purporting to show the crowd storming the tarmac and individually inspecting each plane to see if its occupants were Jewish.
A group of Dagestanis encircled a young man, took his passport, and yelled, “You are a Jew!” The man, who was only a traveler from Uzbekistan, clarified that he wasn’t Jewish.
Russian riot police eventually dispersed the mob, although reports indicate that emotions remain high as of this writing. The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry issued a joint statement emphasizing the seriousness with which the State of Israel takes threats against Israeli citizens and Jews worldwide. The Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry, and the National Security Council are monitoring the situation in the Dagestan region of southern Russia.
A similar mob of hundreds of Islamic Dagestan locals stormed a hotel in the city of Khasavyurt a few days ago after rumors purportedly spread on local social media that Israelis had taken up residence there. Concern that Israelis had taken up residence in two nearby hotels, locals amassed in the area.
Moscow is coming under increasing pressure to protect the country’s Jewish community after the latest incidence of antisemitism showed growing interethnic tensions in Russia. The incident has put divisions in Russia’s ethnically and religiously varied population in the limelight, with tensions escalating between Russia’s rapidly dwindling Jewish community (both in terms of practicing and ethnically Jewish individuals) and its Muslim inhabitants.
The Russian FAA was forced to reroute planes away from a southern airport late on Sunday after an enraged mob stormed the runway in an attempt to stop an Israeli passenger airplane.