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Moroccan Post-pesach Festival Turns into Pitch for Elections

The Feast of Mimouna, a tradition of the Moroccan Jewish community at the conclusion of Passover, became the target of electioneering politicians this week, despite objections from the festival’s organizers.

“I am not responsible for this match of Mimouna and the elections,” said Sam Shitreet, one of the community leaders.

Moroccan families who gathered in parks and public gardens to celebrate became fair game as campaigning for the June 23 elections heated up.

Ironically, the Mimouna festivities are supposed to celebrate the unity of the people. But that was disturbed by party functionaries handing out rival election flyers and stickers.

Likud partisans waved huge posters of the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Shulamit Aloni and Ran Cohen of the leftwing Meretz bloc were among the first to show up at Sacher Park in the center of Jerusalem, handing out flowers to Moroccan families.

Both Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and his rival, Labor Party leader Yitzhak Rabin, made bids for the Sephardic vote.

Labor partisans were on hand to welcome their leader with chants of “Israel waits for Rabin.” But Likud hecklers jeered him when he tried to speak. A few minutes later, Laborite hecklers interrupted Shamir.

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