JERUSALEM (Reuters) – COVID-19 curbs have curtailed celebrations for the Purim Jewish costume pageant, with Israeli police blocking events and a few rabbis urging individuals to not drink an excessive amount of in order that social distancing is maintained.
Taken from Esther’s biblical account of how the Jews had been spared from genocide in historic Persia, Purim is commemorated by sporting all method of disguises, donating meals for the vacations – and consuming excessively ‘alcohol.
However this yr Israel, which started to emerge from its third nationwide lockdown on February 21, reimposed nighttime curfews for the Purim lengthy weekend and restricted entry to Jerusalem.
Purim celebrations had been banned, with fines for whoever hosted them. This led to spontaneous road events in Tel Aviv. Police commander Ziv Saguy mentioned they had been handing out 200 fines per hour.
Lengthy visitors jams shaped on the highway to Jerusalem as police tried to forestall massive teams from reaching the holy metropolis for the pageant. Some individuals deserted their automobiles and climbed the freeway as a substitute.
Heavy ingesting is a key a part of the pageant, however a number of ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders ran a front-page advert in a group newspaper calling for a extra sober Purim this yr.
“Anybody who will get drunk loses his readability of thoughts and dangers not behaving with the warning essential to protect his well being,” the advert learn, in response to the Arutz 7 information web site.
Israel’s tight-knit ultra-Orthodox group has been hit significantly exhausting by COVID-19. In response to an official from the Ministry of Well being, they characterize round 15% of the inhabitants however have typically accounted for as much as 35% of coronavirus circumstances.
Some ultra-Orthodox have additionally defied state-ordered faculty and synagogue closures, sparking clashes with police.
Because the Purim festivities wrapped up on Sunday, such a confrontation erupted in Mea Shearim, an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem, when costumed celebrants erected an effigy of the nationwide police chief, a Reuters photographer mentioned.
Riot police sporting surgical masks moved nearer, eradicating the effigy and dispersing the celebrants, a few of whom shouted insults on the police whereas others danced. Saguy mentioned two males had been arrested.
Written by Dan Williams; edited by Philippa Fletcher