JERUSALEM (Mar. 18)
Israelis celebrated Purim today. While the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were strung with colored lights and filled with children costumed as cowboys, Indians or astronauts, it was Beersheba, capital of the Negev, that outdid its sister cities this year.
Some 6000 marchers and seven bands held the 13th annual Negev parade, joined by hundreds of motorcyclists, horseback riders and Bedouins on camels. The festivities were presided over by Ofra Mei Ami, a high school student from Moshav Mivtahim who was elected beauty queen of the Negev.
The Cabinet postponed its weekly session until Tuesday. Habad Hasidim began their annual mission this morning of delivering Purim parcels to Israeli servicemen and women all over the country and at outposts deep in the administered territories. In addition, 25,000 parcels were distributed to new immigrants and the sick in hospitals. Habad emissaries visited the homes of 800 widows and war orphans.
Although no statistics were available, the consumption of hamantaschen this year reportedly set a new record. The extra demand for the Purim delicacy was attributed to the large number of Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union celebrating their first Purim in Israel.
Israel plans to literally burn IL 600,000 between May 27-30. That sum, in the form of fireworks, will go up in smoke to celebrate the nation’s 25th anniversary. The amount is almost double the IL 320,000 spent for fireworks last Independence Day. The first major fireworks display will take place on the nights of May 27-28 on the top of Massada.