Jewish Purim celebration returns to Israel with no restrictions

Jerusalem, Mar 17 (EFE).- Israel on Thursday marked Purim, one of Judaism’s most popular holidays, without any coronavirus restrictions for the first time since 2019.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews dressed up in costumes and took to the streets of the Middle Eastern country for festive parades.

The holiday, celebrated from sundown on 16 March until sundown the next day, commemorates the rescue of the Jewish people from being killed in the Achaemenid Empire as it is written in the book of Esther dated from the 5th century BCE.

Despite it being a working day in Israel, a holiday-spirit takes over as people drink and party in the streets, especially in the more liberal city of Tel Aviv.

While last year the government imposed a night curfew in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, this year’s celebration saw bars open and no capacity restrictions.

The consumption of large amounts of alcohol has become a tradition on Purim, especially in ultra-orthodox communities, where scenes of completely drunk religious people are typical.

Unlike the past five years, Israel this year will not impose a closure of checkpoints in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, a measure that seeks to maintain the passage of Palestinians working in Israel and avoid possible tensions before the approaching start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in April. EFE


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