03/22 Links Pt2: Italian politician: “If the West abandons Israel, it will be abandoning itself”; Shabbat recipe causes a stew on Facebook
“Mara Carfagna: ‘If the West abandons Israel, it will be abandoning itself,’” a translation of “Mara Carfagna: ‘Se l’occidente abbandona Israele, abbandona se stesso,’” L’Informale, February 11, 2016:
Mara Carfagna, the Minister for Equal Opportunity from May 2008 to November 2011, among Italian politicians has been one of the stoutest defenders of Israel. Mindful of ethical issues and civil rights, she was chosen by Berlusconi to be in charge of the civil and human rights section of his party, Forza Italia.
We wanted to speak with her not only about Iran, but about the growing antisemitism in Europe, and the boycott of Israeli goods from the territories.
We thank Mara Carfagna for agreeing to grant this exclusive interview to L’Informale, and for having restated her strong support for Israel and for the Jewish people.
Mara Carfagna, you have on many occasions spoken out openly in favor of Israel, as few other politicians have done. Do you really think Israel’s case is so hard to understand?
In case you missed it, Sunday was International Happiness Day.
As usual, it was accompanied by a U.N. study of the state of international happiness, including the ranking of countries from most to least.
This year’s top ten are pretty much the ones you would expect: Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Holland, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. All are peaceful, long established, prosperous democracies with homogenous populations, located in the calmest regions of the First World.
And then, at number 11, comes Israel.
Israel? A hated democracy in the world’s most violent neighborhood? A society where boys and girls are drafted into the army at eighteen and men do military reserve duty well into their forties? Where taxes are higher and salaries far lower than in dozen countries that rank lower on the happiness scale? A nation with a history so somber that it three separate national days of mourning?
Yep, that’s the one.
Richard Landes: My review of Edward Alexander’s Jews against themselves
Every Anglophone reader, Jew and non-Jew, owes it to him or herself to read Jews against Themselves. And every non-Anglophone country that aspires either to establish or maintain democracy owes itself a good translation. Rarely has a book so thoroughly and eloquently identified, analyzed, and rebuked a form of thinking that endangers the very democracy from which that thinking arose. In this case, one might call the problem “the tyranny of penitence” or “masochistic omnipotence syndrome”—the tendency to blame oneself for everything in the vain hope that in fixing oneself, one can fix everything. Since, in the current world crisis of the early twenty-first century, this problem has struck the (post-) modern West with unusual force, and since the particular variant upon which Edward Alexander, professor of English at the University of Washington, focuses in this book is an especially powerful contributor to the phenomenon, his work deserves close attention. Alexander’s book is a collection of articles and op-eds written over the course of some three decades, from the mid-1980s to the present.
I have read many texts that try to explain why some Jews turn on their own people, from Sander Gillman’s Jewish Self-Hatred to the endless current Jeremiads by assertive Jews about how self-accusing Jews are a bane, not only on their own people, but on those who trust their pseudo-prophetic utterances. Never have I read one with such moral clarity, subtlety of thought, and, above all, such calm but righteous anger. The enormity of the deeds Alexander chronicles does not make him shrill in his indignation, but rather drives him to repeatedly point out, with a certain black humor and as little ad hominem as one could expect any human to muster, the exquisite and corrosive ironies that riddle the world of Jews who publicly attack their own people.
Shmuley Boteach: No Holds Barred: What motivates Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson?
Sheldon told us about his father’s life in Lithuania as a Jew. His father experienced terrible anti-Semitism at the hands of the Cossacks who would ride into town beating and whipping the Jews who lived there. Sheldon said that his father cried when he watched Fiddler on the Roof because he experienced the very violence and anti-Semitism that was portrayed in the production. Sheldon’s father always believed that the Jewish people needed a state for themselves where they could live free. His father’s experiences in Europe had a deep impact on Sheldon’s own personal views. In fact, his father was never able to afford a visit to the holy land, so years later Sheldon brought his father’s shoes to Israel and wore them on his visit. It was a symbolic way of fulfilling the wish that his father had dreamed of his entire life.
It also inspired, he said, his deep commitment to Birthright, to which he and Miri are now the single biggest donors.
He did not want Jews to have to wait until they were old and infirm to visit Israel.
They should do so as young men and women.
Sheldon also discussed the extreme poverty his family faced as he grew up. He once told me that his commitment to philanthropy stems in part from watching his father always put coins in the JNF tzedaka box. “Why are you giving money away, Dad,” he asked his father, “when we ourselves are so poor?” “Because there are always people poorer than you,” his father said, “and you always have to give.”
Edgar Davidson: New Phone App makes life easy for anti-Zionists* (satire)
The Palestine Solidarity Committee has today issued the following important press release:
“We are delighted to announce the launch of a free app – ZIO-ATTACK – for all pro-Palestinian activists, that will ensure anybody can now maintain a very active social media presence with no effort at all. The app gives users the following options so they can do what all anti-Zionist activists currently have to do manually,
Heroic anti-Zionist blogger Richard Silverstein: “This app is remarkable in the way it simulates precisely my online behaviour.”
Baroness Warsi: “This app is a life-saver for me personally, although I am not sure now how I will now spend all my time.”
Yasmin Alibi Brown: “Wonderful app. It will now enable me to spend even more time writing feature articles where I can equate Zionism with Nazism.”
Jeremy Corbyn: “I am mandating this app for every member of the Labour party, as it will enable them to spend more of their time physically attacking Zionists”.
Yachad: “Many of our members have already been using the app and are delighted with the results”.
Board of Deputies: “While we do not endorse this app, we believe it may well help to achieve the two-state solution that we are all dedicated to”
The Palestine Solidarity Committee gratefully acknowledges grants to the value of $382 million that were used to develop this important app in the fight against Zionist tyranny (from the UK Overseas Aid Budget, the United Nations, the EU Special Fund for Israel Demonization, and the Islamic republic of Iran.).
The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Arabic language Facebook page has become the scene of a heated debate over the recipe for a Shabbat stew.
Over the weekend, the ministry’s “Israel speaks Arabic” page posted a recipe for tibit, the traditional Iraqi Jewish chicken and rice dish slow-cooked and eaten on the Sabbath. The post said tibit is part of the heritage Iraqi Jews brought with them to Israel, and that many families still cook it according to recipes passed down from generation to generation.
The post has gained thousands of likes and shares and been viewed more than 200,000 times. Some commenters called on the Foreign Ministry to open a separate page for posts about Jewish and Israeli foods to help bring the peoples of the region together. A number of Iraqi commenters praised their former fellow countrymen and their rich culinary heritage. Some said they missed the Jews who were uprooted from Iraq and expressed hope they would return someday.
But Palestinian commenters took a more negative approach. They criticized Iraqis who expressed support for Israel, and some even claimed Israelis used the blood of Palestinian children as an ingredient.
But while the UN is still largely beholden to an “obsession against Israel,” Danon said he sees a gradual change occurring, with many other countries’ envoys voicing support for the State of Israel in private. “We need to take that private support and make (it) public.”
Many leaders now “understand that the Palestinians don’t care about negotiation – they care about embarrassing Israel at the UN.”
That change is most notable among African nations – with whom Israel has recently made concerted efforts to build closer relations – and even among some Sunni Arab states, who fear an encroaching Iran at least as much as Israel does.
However, he cautioned, the fruits of Israel’s engagement with those budding allies would not be immediate. “It is a process. It won’t happen in one day.”
Danon took aim in particular at a proposal within the US by anti-Israel actors “to label products from Judea and Samaria and to actually create a database of all Judea and Samaria produce.”
“This is unacceptable,” he continued. “It reminds me of times in Europe way back when people and products were labeled. We will not allow it, and I hope that the European and other countries will stand with us.”
Imagine: You’re on trial and you discover the judge appointed to hear the case has already decided you are guilty and has a long history of publicly saying so. That appears to be the UN Human Rights Council approach to justice when it comes to one particularly country.
The council’s first choice to become the new Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories is criminologist Penny Green. She is a professor of law and globalisation at Queen Mary University of London.
Professor Green’s views on Israel are not unique. She is on record as saying that Israel has a “criminal government”, and she believes it is “time to stand up against Israeli state violence”. She supports the total boycott of Israel, wants Hamas de-listed as a terrorist organisation, and has wondered why the British and Americans have not begun “bombing Israel for its massacres”.
So far, so routine in the extremist-mainstream. To her credit, Ms Green, unlike so many “human rights activists”, stands up against abuses around the world and not just in one small part of it. She does, however, display an unhealthy obsession with the same place that others obsess over – Israel.
She is entitled to her opinion. However, surely anyone, even if they supported these views, might understand that holding them disqualifies you from impartially judging the behaviour of one of many parties involved in the situation.
Palestinians Attack UN Watch for Delaying Appointment of Palestine Investigator
The double standards employed by the BBC in its reporting on disputed territories have been noted here before in relation to Cyprus and Western Sahara. The latter region was recently in the news again and on March 17th the BBC News website produced an article titled “Western Sahara: Morocco threat over UN peacekeepers” which displays an interesting choice of language.W Sahara art
“Morocco has threatened to pull its soldiers out of UN global peacekeeping missions in a row over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
It is furious with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after he used the term “occupation” about the territory, which was annexed by Morocco in 1975.”
Later on in the article readers were told that:
“Morocco annexed most of the disputed former Spanish colony in 1976.”
Those who purchase settlement products are accomplices to an act of war, PLO Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday as it met in Geneva toward the end of its 31st session.
For most of the day, UN member states including Iran and Syria accused Israel of human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. They did so in advance of a vote later this week on five resolutions against Israel, including one that calls on it to return the Golan Heights to Syria.
Very few speeches mentioned the Palestinian attacks that have claimed 34 lives, including 30 Israelis and two visiting US citizens; many focused on West Bank settlement activity.
“Settlements only prolong the occupation and undermine the future of the Palestinians,” Khraishi said. “Anyone who buys products of the settlements are accomplices to the Israeli authority and to acts which constitute acts of war.”
On March 21, the UN-accredited NGO “The Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torutre” held one of these “informal” meetings entitled “Children and Women in Israel Jails” and showed a movie accusing Israel of torturing and sexually abusing children and of attempting to exterminate Palestinians. Here are some of the allegations from the movie:
“Among those methods is torture by electricity and obliging them to take of [sic] their clothes… they provoke you trying to make certain movements which signifies sexual assaults… This is considered sexual violence against the child… The occupation authorities try to break their thorn. They cause them psychological diseases and don’t try to handle them… trying to exterminate and [sic] entire Palestinian generation psychologically, healthy, educationally and culturally.”
A featured panelist, Mr. Ziyaad Ibrahim Patel, described on the program as an “international human rights lawyer of South Africa,” also alleged the following:
“Palestinian children, who suffer and endure tremendous types of torture committed by one of the worst occupying forces in the world that mankind has ever known.”
On March 21, the UN-accredited NGO “The Palestinian Return Centre” held one of these “informal” meetings entitled “Israel’s Policy of House Demolitions: A Systematic Mechanism of Displacement,” in which featured panelists accused Israel of “apartheid,” “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and “ethnic cleansing.” The Palestinian Return Centre was given UN-accreditation in July 2015, despite having known ties to Hamas. The Palestinian Return Centre distributed at the meeting material containing the following: “That is the product of Israel’s foundation as settler-colonial state that saw ethnic cleansing as a necessary precondition for its existence.”
At the same meeting, featured panelists accused Israel of “apartheid,” “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and “ethnic cleansing.” Here is just some of what was alleged at the informal meeting:
Zakaria Odeh, “Civic Coalition for Palestinians, Jerusalem”: “So what we are facing really in occupied East Jerusalem in particular and the rest of the combined territories, is a deliberate ethnic cleansing policy.”
Munir Nuseibah, Director of “Al-Quds Human Rights Clinic and Community Action Center” [in response to statement from an attendee at the panel that “I would like to make again the analogy of apartheid Israel to apartheid South Africa.”]: “First, your comment also on the comparison between the apartheid of Africa and Israel, I agree with you, there is a lot to compare. It seems that there is some colonial mentality that exists in both cases… It is an ethnic cleansing in the way that Israel is actually moving Palestinians out… I would actually say very confidently is that forced displacement … that Israel is using … falls under war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Indian-Palestinian BDS Activist Nasser Barakat: The Creation of Israel Was a Conspiracy, Like 9/11
Indian People in Solidarity with Palestine, an Indian BDS forum, held a two-day convention in New Delhi on August 22-23, 2015. Among the speakers at the convention was Nasser Barakat, a Palestinian-Indian activist and former spokesmen of the General Union of Palestinian Students in India. He said that Israel was created as a pretext, just like the “fabricated” 9/11 attacks. Barakat added that he was not fooled by the Iranian nuclear project, because he knows that Iran is Israel’s biggest ally, and that the Jews are not enemies because they are the Muslims’ “key to Heaven.” The video was posted on the YouTube account of the Indian People in Solidarity with Palestine.
The Head of General Security for the Dubai Emirate, Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, has stated that Palestinians should abandon their aspiration for an independent state and merge with Israeli Jews in a united, bi-national state instead.
In a series of remarks published on his Twitter account Monday afternoon, Tamim attempted to garner support for his idea, claiming that a Palestinian state led by Arabs would join the list of failed states in the Arab world.
According to Tamim, the dream of such a state will never come true, since “Israel will only recognize Palestine if Palestinians become part of it.”
Tamim controversially stated: “I suggest relinquishing the idea of a Palestinian state and being satisfied with an Israeli state that would include both Israelis and Palestinians and join the Arab League.”
“Today, the Jews are heading the world’s economy, without the Jews you Arabs would not have known how to deposit your money in the bank,” Tamim continued.
In light of what he described as Arab incompetence in running a state and the distinguished economic talents of Jews, Tamim claimed that a joint Jewish-Palestinian state will only prosper under Israeli leadership.
Matisyahu has launched a US college tour co-sponsored by Hillel chapters with a musician born to an Egyptian-Palestinian father and American-Jewish mother.
The formerly Hasidic reggae artist, who kicked off the tour with special guest Nadim Azzam on Sunday at Boston University’s Metcalf Ballroom, has said the decision to play with an Arabic musician is a response to being disinvited from a festival in Spain last summer.
“The purpose is to replace boycott and finger-pointing with music as a reminder to find the compassion and humanity we share,” Matisyahu wrote on his website last week.
Last August, activists from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement pushed the organizers of the Rototom Sunsplash Festival to bar Matisyahu from performing. He was eventually reinvited after an apology from the event’s organizers.
Virginia became the seventh American state to come out against the BDS movement this past week. The two houses of its state legislature separately passed identical anti-BDS resolutions, officially condemning and outlawed the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The resolution states that it “condemn[s] the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and its activities in Virginia, as its agenda is inherently antithetical and deeply damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.”
The first state to pass such a resolution was Tennessee, in April 2015, and it was followed by Alabama, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida.
The Virginian resolution says that the BDS movement is “one of the main vehicles advocating for policies leading to the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and has sought to hijack social, political, religious, academic, cultural, and economic platforms to discriminatorily isolate Israel within the international community.”
The lower house vote was 86-5 in favor, with 9 abstentions, while it passed in the Senate by voice vote.
The Niqab, a full face veil covering, has long been a point of contention due to its perceived oppressive nature and suspicion the wearer may actually be a skilled ninja. Muslim scholars have debated whether Islamic text deems it to be obligatory, while various non-Muslim countries have worked towards making it outright illegal with some even succeeding. Attempts to ban the niqab in public are often met with accusations of racism, that is until Egyptian parliamentarian, Amna Nosseir, recently claimed Jewish ties to the Niqab to justify its ban. Since this statement, sightings of the veil have reduced globally to nearly zero.
“You know how much heat I took for the ban?!” exclaimed Nicolas Sarkozy, former president of France. “Who knew that a bit of xenophobia against one group would have made it so much easier to implement a xenophobic law against a second group.”
Leaders across the world have taken notice of this trend. Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi released a statement saying the Muslim Brotherhood is really a Jewish organization, leading to thousands of Egyptian protesters demanding for the imprisonment of more brotherhood members.
However the true victims of this statement are the Niqab salespeople. “I have to rely on profits from counterfeit ‘American Pie’ DVD’s to make up for the lack of Niqab sales,” explained store owner Saad Abdel-Rahman. “I would have been much less impacted if Amna Nossier said that Justin Bieber finds the Niqab sexy.”
In their article today in The New York Times, “Clinton and Trump, in Speeches, Vow to Protect Israel but Differ on the Means,” Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman err:
In March 2010, while serving as secretary of state, [Hillary Clinton] sharply criticized the Israeli authorities for approving new Jewish housing in an Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem when the United States was trying to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.
In that speech, which was less warmly received than Monday’s, Mrs. Clinton described the American role in the peace process as, if not neutral, then as an honest broker between the two sides. “Our credibility in this process,” she said, “depends in part on our willingness to praise both sides when they are courageous, and when we don’t agree, to say so, and say so unequivocally.
In fact, the housing in question was not in “an Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem,” but in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighborhood in northern Jerusalem located over the 1967 armistice line.
In other words, listeners to BBC Radio 4 were told that “defenders of Israel” deliberately employ false claims of antisemitism in order to shut down debate.
Known as the Livingstone Formulation, the purpose of that claim was described by the person who named it, David Hirsch, as follows:
“the use of the Livingstone Formulation is intended to make sure that the raising of the issue of anti-Semitism, when related to ‘criticism of Israel,’ remains or becomes a commonsense indicator of ‘Zionist’ bad faith and a faux pas in polite antiracist company.”
Lesley Klaff describes it as:
“…the practice of responding to claims of contemporary antisemitism by alleging that those making the claim are only doing so to prevent Israel from being criticised; in other words, they are ‘playing the antisemitism card.’”
So who is the person selected by the BBC to inform its audiences that what they hear about antisemitism on UK campuses might actually be a “mechanism” to shut down “criticism of Israel”?
Of course, the original Israeli airlifts in 1949 and 1950 were orchestrated in response to the increasingly perilous situation for Yemen’s Jews following antisemitic violence by Muslims. These include riots following the UN Partition Vote in 1947 in which 82 Jews were killed (and hundreds of Jewish homes destroyed) in Aden, and additional deadly attacks on Jewish communities following Israel’s creation in 1948. This omission mirrors the Guardian’s broader pattern of failing to report the state-sanctioned antisemitic attacks and discrimination in Arab countries which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of roughly 850,000 Jews in the region between 1947 and the early 70s.
Additionally, Sherwood (now the Guardian’s religion correspondent) provides little context to readers about attacks on Yemen’s remaining Jews by Islamic extremists in the 2000’s which would allow them to fully understand Israel’s airlift. In addition to several high profile antisemitic attacks and murders, “jihadist gangs” have been harassing Yemen’s Jews, Jewish girls have been abducted and forced to marry Muslims, and all Jews have suffered various systemic social and economic handicaps under sharia law. (Also ignored by Sherwood: one family that arrived in Israel from Sanaa is related to Aharon Zindani, who was killed in an antisemitic attack in 2012.)
Sherwood also fails to clearly convey that Iranian-backed Islamist (Houthi) rebels, in 2007, forced Jews in Saada to relocate to a secure government compound in Sana’a after threats of violence, including a letter sent to the community which reportedly read: “You should leave the area, or we will kidnap you and slaughter you.”
In short, the Guardian failed to inform readers that the Jewish community in Yemen has almost entirely “relocated” to Israel because endemic antisemitism and Islamic radicalism in the country made continued Jewish life untenable.
On April Fool’s Day 2013, the Guardian ran a spoof ad exhorting readers to buy its “Guardian Goggles”, which ended with the punchline “because life’s too short to think for yourself” (close to the Guardianista bone, there).
Well the joke turned out to be on the Guardian itself. Prolonged use of Guardian goggles causes chronic selective blindness. And one can only marvel at the number of issues that the Guardian, and its broadcasting wing, the BBC, two self-labelling “liberal” media organizations, have turned a blind eye to in recent years.
Most blatant of all is the blindness to any Palestinian culpability. Blind to the infighting, the torture and summary executions of fellow Palestinians in Gaza, and torture by the PA in the West Bank. Blind to Palestinian corruption, how the Palestinian Authority and Hamas both steal development aid from their own people, in one case to ‘develop’ Swiss bank accounts in the other to wage war on Jews. Blind, above all, to the genocidal intent of Hamas, even refusing to show the thousands of rockets fired at Israel before and during the 2014 conflict. Guardian and BBC reporters truly were Eyeless in Gaza. In this case the blindness is permanent, caused by the glaring light of their hostility to Israel.
With Purim just around the corner – the Jewish festival which celebrates the deliverance of the Jews of Persia from the wicked Haman –The independent’s feature on the Jews of Iran by Kim Sengupta, the paper’s defence and diplomatic correspondent, could not be more timely. But how accurate is it?
Regrettably, not very.
The article (Iran’s Jews on life inside Israel’s ‘enemy state’: We feel secure and happy, March 16th) opens with a propaganda lie : Iran has ‘the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel.’ Turkey has a larger community; and the competition in the neighbourhood is not very fierce, all communities from Arab countries having been virtually driven to extinction. Sengupta fails to inform us that four-fifths of the Jewish community has fled since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979.
“Israel has portrayed Iran as an implacable enemy,” Sengupta writes.
Surely it is the reverse.
To make the chips that power modern devices, manufacturers go through a lot of silicon – and to make sure that their silicon is in the right place on their chips, companies from Intel to Samsung to Apple rely on technology developed in the Galilee town of Migdal Haemek.
Not quite the place you would expect to be the hub of a small but extremely important industry without which the modern tech age would be impossible – but with some 500 employees, mostly at its Israel facility, KLA-Tencor is one of the biggest Israeli tech success stories, if one of the least known, according to Dr. Ami Applebaum, its president.
“We are the biggest metrology firm in the world. We’ve been in business for 30 years, and have seen technologies and companies come and go, from the PCs manufactured by various companies 20 years ago to the smartphones and tablets that are all the rage today.”
The common denominator between all the companies and products? The overlay metrology technology developed by KLA-Tencor to ensure the validity of each chip that comes off the assembly line, said Applebaum.
Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), affects up to one in four Americans. For most, acid-neutralizing medication can control the chronic heartburn and regurgitation of acid. Some need surgical repair of the esophageal valve that normally keeps reflux from occurring.
But what if medication isn’t helping and you don’t want surgery?
“We target that space in the middle. About 13 million to 15 million patients in the US fall into that category,” says Chris Rowland, CEO of Medigus, a medical-device company based in the Beersheva suburb of Omer.
Medigus pioneered an incision-free outpatient procedure that solves the reflux problem in about an hour. The MUSE (Medigus Ultrasonic Surgical Endostapler) System enables physicians to reconstruct the esophageal valve through the mouth, eliminating the need for surgery in eligible patients.
Israeli universities ranked seven times in the top 100 of the 2016 QS World University Rankings by Subject. The ranking was a decrease from 11 in 2015.
The rankings compared the world’s top universities in 42 areas of study, making it the largest-ever ranking of its kind.
This year’s QS ranking included six of Israel’s leading universities – the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and Bar-Ilan University.
According to the report, HU was the country’s most featured top-100 university, ranking three times in the 51-100 category – for agriculture and forestry, and history, and in QS’s inaugural anthropology rankings.
HU was also featured in 24 of the 42 subject tables, including ranking 20 times in the top 200 category of those subjects.
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology ranked twice in the top 100, once for computer science and information systems, and once for mathematics.
The holiday of Purim is traditionally a one-day affair. But as it’s always a good time to party and with spring in the air, it has become customary to celebrate all week long.
Purim celebrates the events described in the biblical book of Esther, in which Mordechai the Jew helps the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire triumph over the evil court official Haman and his plot to kill them.
The festival is one of the most fun ones on the Jewish calendar thanks to a Talmudic passage that declares, “A person is obligated to drink on Purim until he does not know the difference between ‘cursed be Haman’ and ‘blessed be Mordechai.’”
As such, a festive buzz reigns over Israel for nearly a week with school events, alcohol-infused parties for adults, outdoor happenings, charity events, food drives and traditional Purim parades.
IsraelDailyPicture: Purim Celebrated this Week
This week Jews around the world celebrate the joyous holiday of Purim. The Purim holiday commemorates the victory of Queen Esther and Mordechai over the evil Haman of Persia, saving the lives of the Jewish people.
Below are several Purim-related pictures we discovered in the archives of the Library of Congress.
This picture appeared in an American newspaper on April 1, 1865. The wood engraving is captioned, “The Hebrew Purim Ball at the Academy of Music, March 14.” The picture contains a large sign, “Merry Purim,” another sign listing the “Order of Dancing,” and merrymakers wearing costumes and masks.