Makhachkala Airport in Dagestan, a Muslim region in southern Russia, recently became the epicenter of anti-Israel protests. Crowds of protesters, some chanting anti-Semitic slogans, stormed the airport, causing chaos and concerns about the safety of Israeli citizens and Jews.

Dagestan Airport in Search of Jews

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The incident occurred when news spread that a flight from Tel Aviv was arriving in Makhachkala. Hundreds of protesters converged on the airport, breaching security barriers, overwhelming the terminal, and even flooding the runway.

Videos shared on social media captured the protesters waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Allahu Akbar,” while others reportedly used anti-Semitic slogans.

Passengers arriving on the flight from Tel Aviv found themselves in a tense and dangerous situation. Airline employees hurriedly ushered passengers back onto planes to ensure their safety.

The situation escalated to a point where the airport had to be temporarily closed, with incoming flights diverted to other airports.

Local health authorities reported that 20 people were injured during the protests, with two individuals in critical condition. Even police officers were not spared from harm, as nine of them injured during the incident.

Russian authorities responded to the situation. The Russian interior ministry reported that 60 individuals had been detained in connection with the unrest, and more than 150 participants had been identified.

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However, there is ongoing debate about the root causes and motivations behind the protests. Some local officials attributed the riots to external factors, claiming that “fakes spread by our enemies” played a role in inciting the violence.

The events at Makhachkala Airport are not isolated incidents. They reflect a trend of rising anti-Semitic sentiment and anti-Israel protests in the North Caucasus region, which includes Dagestan.

In the city of Khasavyurt, a crowd of people surrounded a hotel, reportedly believing that Israeli refugees were staying there. They checked the passports of hotel guests, causing tension and distress.

In Nalchik, a city in the neighboring Kabardino-Balkaria region, a Jewish cultural center under construction was targeted, with tires set on fire, and the building was defaced with extremist slogans like “Death to the Jews.”

Protesters in the Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia called for the expulsion of the local Jewish population. These incidents highlight a disturbing undercurrent of hostility against Jews and Israelis in the region.

Israel’s foreign ministry promptly called on Russian authorities to protect Israelis and Jews in their jurisdiction.

The ministry urged Russian law enforcement to take robust action against the rioters and the incitement directed at Jews and Israelis.

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The United States also condemned the anti-Semitic protests in Dagestan. A US presidential spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, emphasized that the United States stands with the entire Jewish community.

The protests pose challenges for Russian President Vladimir Putin, especially as they coincide with Russia’s involvement in the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

Putin had previously condemned the Israeli bombing of Gaza, expressing concerns about the spill-over effects of the Middle East conflict.

However, Moscow’s invitation to a Hamas delegation for discussions further complicated its relations with Israel.

The protests and the overall climate of rising anti-Semitic sentiment present a complex situation for the Jewish community in Dagestan.

The representative of the local Jewish community expressed fear and uncertainty, questioning whether Russia can provide a safe haven.

The protests in Dagestan are connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conflict escalated when a Hamas raid created turmoil in southern Israel, resulting in over 1,400 casualties.

In response, Israel initiated a bombing campaign in Gaza, leading to an estimated 8,000 casualties as of the latest reports.

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