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Purim in Hebron 2017

The annual Purim parade was enjoyed by young and old.

14.3.17, 09:50
The annual Purim parade wound down King David Street led by the familiar tractor decorated in festive colors. The holiday that celebrates a minority's triumph over prejudice was enjoyed by young and old in the city of the founding fathers and mothers. People dressed up in costumes as holiday music waft through the brisk March air. Neighbors distributed home-made baked goods and treats to each other and collected charity for the poor.
 
In the Book of Esther, the heroine risked her life to save her people and this message is internalized by the small but dedicated community living in the first capital of the Jewish nation. 
 
 
Once again, a terrorist tried to infiltrate into the Jewish neighborhood but was stopped by quick thinking Israel Defense Force soldiers. 
 
A man carrying a knife was arrested in a Jewish neighborhood of Hebron, the Times of Israel reported. He was detained at a checkpoint in the city after raising suspicions of soldiers stationed in the area.
 
The Jerusalem Post added, the suspect was taken to a nearby facility for further questioning, where a preliminary investigation revealed that he intended to carry out a terror attack.
 
Last year Purim celebrations continued in Hebron despite a stabbing incident in a Jewish Hebron neighborhood in which a soldier was stabbed by two jihadists. That incident morphed into the Elor Azaria case in which the IDF soldier was arrested and convicted of shooting one of the terrorists after he has already been incapacitated. Azaria maintained that he feared the terrorist was still alive and could have detonated a bomb. The stabbing occurred during rash of similar attacks that killed many civilians throughout the country, referred to in the media as the "knife intifada."
 
The Azaria incident followed a previous stabbing days before near the Tomb of Machpela and two terrorist ramming incident at the entrance to Kiryat Arba, adjacent to Hebron.
 
 
Azaria was sentenced a month ago for shooting without explicit orders. The incident was filmed by a PA resident of Hebron belonging to the B'Tselem organization, a central witness for the prosecution in the Elor Azaria trial. In the middle of Sunday's Purim parade, this same cameraman unfurled PLO flags on the adjacent building overlooking the parade. 
 
Also on Sunday locals celebrated the birth of a baby boy at the Tomb of Machpela complex. The grandfather of the baby was one of the witnesses at the Azaria incident, a security officer who rushed to the scene to treat the stabbed soldier, exactly one year ago. The baby was named after Jordan Ben Simon, a 22-year-old lone soldier from France who was killed in Operation Protective Edge.
 
In the modern tradition wearing outlandish Purim costumes, two participants of the parade ironically dressed up as Azaria. Their costumes were prominently featured in various foreign news outlets who arrived in force to catch "settlers behaving badly." However the majority of parade goers were families enjoying the festive atmosphere in the city rich with history.
 
During the Ottoman period, the Jewish community celebrated two communal Purims marking dates on which they were miraculously saved from an external enemy. One is called Window Purim, or Purim Taka, in which the community was saved when a bag of money mysteriously appeared in a window, enabling them to pay off an extortion fee to the Ottoman Pasha. Many record the date being the 14th of the month, which corresponds to Purim's date of the 14th of Adar. The other was called The Purim of Ibrahim Pasha, in which the community was saved during a battle between the invading Egyptian leader, itererate Arab villagers and fedual Arab land owners.
 
The Jewish community had many unique celebrations for Purim. As the month of Adar began, various special foods were prepared, such as the traditional hamentashen, but also torts, honey cakes, a food called rikikim, a kind of latke and homemade liqueurs.
 
Purim was considered the most joyous of Jewish festivals and children felt free. One interesting children's activity, in addition to the familiar groggers, were a kind of piñata shaped like Haman. Another unique tradition was a rather quick recitation of the reading of the megillah which was done because people were partaking of the fast of Esther. Consideration for families was taken so that people could begin their holiday meal in a timely fashion. 
One colorful verse in Sefer Hebron reads:
 
"To life to life," called out the townspeople, who greeted the guests. The beadle led them to the synagogue of the Chief Rabbi, assigned rooms, distributed food and gift packages for Purim. The next morning they spread out through the city, drank with the residents, received "charity for the poor" and as the sun turned towards the west, headed back in the direction of Jerusalem, to continue the holiday with their families."
 
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