JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel set another 70th anniversary record in August with 2.7 million arrivals and departures at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport. It's the airport's biggest month in its history and a 10 percent increase from August 2017, Globes reported.
July statistics were also up 10.6 percent from the previous year and authorities are anticipating a record-breaking September.
With the Jewish high holy days (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot) falling earlier this year on the Gregorian calendar, Israeli authorities are predicting a 17 percent increase from last September.
In addition to families coming to Israel during this season, many Israelis travel abroad for the holidays. Favorite destinations include the US, Greece, Italy and Russia.
Before Rosh Hashanah, which this year begins Sunday evening, September 9, 30,000 ultra-Orthodox Hassidic Jews will make their annual pilgrimage to Uman in Ukraine. They come to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, the 18th century founder of Hassidic Judaism.
Ultra-Orthodox Hassidim in Uman, Photo, GPO archive, Amos Ben Gershom
For the first time this year, Israel is setting up a temporary consulate in Uman to assist the travelers if necessary.
On Tuesday evening, police had to remove eight passengers from a flight to Uman who arrived intoxicated, causing a three-hour delay, YNet news reported. The annual pilgrimage poses challenges for airport staff, which according to the report includes intoxication, arriving late for the flight, and some arriving without tickets.
On erev Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, which this year begins Sunday evening, September 18, Ben Gurion closes down, with the last takeoff and landing in the afternoon, at 1:55 and 1:40 pm, respectively.
The airport reopens Wednesday evening, September 19, with the first landing at 9:30 pm and the first departure at 11:30.