As Purim arrives this weekend, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin saw his house all dressed up for the Jewish Holiday.
Indeed, the entrance to the presidential compound is temporarily guarded by a mammoth orange-colored monster with enormous gold claws, inspired by the playground sculpture of a monster (mifletzet in Hebrew) which for decades has been an iconic feature of the capital’s Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood.
This Purim will be the second one that Israel is celebrating under coronavirus, and the regulations will be much stricter than they were in 2020.
“Last year, Purim caused an outbreak that forced us to close the country. This year we will do the opposite,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a press conference on Wednesday, calling on the public to respect the restrictions for the holiday.
The government voted on Tuesday night to approve a night curfew on Purim to help stop the spread of infection.
The current set of restrictions includes a night curfew between 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. from Thursday to Saturday night. The authorities are considering extending the curfew to Sunday, when Purim is celebrated in Jerusalem.
During these hours, intercity public transportation will be reduced, all nonessential businesses will need to shut down and people will not be allowed more than 1,000 meters from their homes for nonessential reasons. Dozens of roadblocks will also be implemented.
Moreover, the traditional Purim meal is to be held with nuclear family members, even though the Health Ministry has quietly acknowledged the possibility of inviting first-degree relatives who are fully vaccinated.
Regarding synagogues, they will be able to welcome worshipers who want to listen to the reading of the Scroll of Esther, either with a limit of 10 people indoors and 20 outdoors, or under a green passport program at 50% of their capacity.