Hundreds Converge on Russian Airport in Antisemitic Protest Following Arrival of Israeli Plane

Hundreds Converge on Russian Airport in Antisemitic Protest Following Arrival of Israeli Plane

In a shocking display of antisemitism, the scene unfolded at Makhachkala’s main airport in Russia’s Dagestan region on Sunday when hundreds of protestors stormed the landing field as a plane from Tel Aviv, Israel, touched down.

Witnesses and Russian news agencies reported that the crowd, many of them chanting antisemitic slogans, surrounded the airliner, operated by Russian carrier Red Wings, apparently seeking out passengers arriving from Israel. Disturbing video footage circulating on social media depicted a frenzied mob, some waving Palestinian flags and others attempting to overturn police vehicles.

At the airport’s main terminal, chants and shouts could be heard as some from the mob inspected arriving passengers’ passports, presumably to identify Israeli nationals. While the passengers were eventually safeguarded, reports confirmed they were momentarily returned to the plane amidst the unrest.

The regional Ministry of Health revealed that the altercation led to more than 20 people sustaining injuries. Among them, two are reported to be in critical condition. The injured list includes both civilians and police officers.

Authorities promptly closed the airport, and a significant police force converged on the facility. The Ministry of Internal Affairs for Russia’s North Caucasian Federal District, where Dagestan is situated, has assured that those responsible will be identified using CCTV footage and brought to justice.

Dagestan’s Governor, Sergei Melikov, responded firmly on Telegram: “The actions of those who gathered at the Makhachkala airport today are a gross violation of the law!… what happened at our airport is outrageous and should receive an appropriate assessment from law enforcement agencies! And this will definitely be done!” Melikov further equated the protests to a “knife in the backs of those who gave their lives for the security of the Motherland,” alluding to the 1999 war in Dagestan and ongoing conflicts in Ukraine.

In the wake of the incident, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying, “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.” The statement further noted that the Israeli ambassador in Moscow is collaborating with Russian authorities to ensure the safety of Israelis and Jews in the region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky weighed in on the incident, expressing concerns about what he views as systemic antisemitism in Russia: “This is not an isolated incident in Makhachkala, but rather a part of Russia’s broader culture of hostility toward other countries… Russian antisemitism and hostility toward other countries are systemic and deeply rooted.”

Despite the tensions, key figures in Dagestan, including the Supreme Mufti Sheikh Akhmad Afandi, appealed for calm. “You are mistaken. This issue cannot be resolved in this way… Maximum patience and calm for you,” he advised in a Telegram video.

Following the incident, Russia’s civilian aviation agency, Rosaviatsia, declared the airfield clear but announced the airport’s closure to incoming aircraft until Nov. 6.

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