Israelis Celebrate Purim Despite their Enemies

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SDEROT, Israel -- Jewish people around the world are celebrating the holiday of Purim this week -- a victory over a wicked government minister who wanted to destroy them thousands of years ago as recorded in the Bible.

Some say the story of Purim is the same today.

Children in the southern Israeli city of Sderot are out on the streets celebrating Purim.

All over Israel, children young and old dress in costumes for the holiday. They're celebrating the Jewish people's victory over their enemies and just being happy.

"They stopped Haman from killing the Jews," said one little boy dressed as a gladiator.

"It's about fun. It's about smiling all day long. It's about being something you're not," one resident wearing sunglasses shaped like guitars told CBN News.

At the Western Wall and in synagogues, the biblical Book of Esther is read from a scroll.

The Bible says Haman, a wicked adviser to King Ahasuerus, conspired to kill all the Jews throughout the ancient kingdom of Persia on one day in 357 B.C.

But Queen Esther, who unknown to the king was Jewish, and her cousin, Mordechai, exposed the plot and turned the tables. So the Jews were victorious over their enemies and that's what they celebrate at Purim.

In that spirit, Sderot residents took to the streets.

"We're very happy that's it's quiet right now. We can go out and see all the costume[s] and we love Sderot and we live in Sderot. We're very happy," one mother dressed like a lady bug and holding her daughter dressed as Minnie Mouse told CBN News.

"The purpose of the rockets is to scare us, and everything is not to let them scare us," said the girl with the guitar sunglasses, who said she was a princess.

Just a few days earlier, Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad launched dozens of rockets at Sderot and communities nearby. Earlier in the week, Israel showcased a huge shipment of weapons it captured that Iran was sending to Gaza.

"I am making events here 12 years in the city, never did we cancel one event in the city, not because of a Kassam," Shimon Cohen, manager of the Youth Department in Sderot, told CBN News.

"We celebrate it. If we have rockets, if we don't have rockets -- it's our holiday," another young woman said.

CBN News asked Sderot residents if they see a connection between the story of Purim and today.

"Yea, the president of Iran, and Purim is happening in Persia, so maybe there's some connection," one man standing next to person in a cow suit said. "But still here, just like in Purim we're here and we're fine. It's a reason to celebrate."

"I think the connection is to try to forget our daily routine here and the rockets that were here two days ago and still have this nice celebration," another man said.

"Purim is a holiday that they wanted to kill all the Jews in one day, but everything was overturned and the situation changed and everyone remained alive," one man said in Hebrew.

"Always in every generation, there arises one who wants to kill the Jews and then the Creator of the world overturns it all," he added.

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CBN News
Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Middle East Correspondent

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