Purim goes political in election season

New Hope women to take part in Esther reading; Yesh Atid MKs help elderly pack mishloach manot.

New Hope candidates at the party's megillah reading for women in Herzliya. (photo credit: YOAV DAVIDKOVITZ)
New Hope candidates at the party's megillah reading for women in Herzliya.
(photo credit: YOAV DAVIDKOVITZ)
The Purim story deals with a prickly political situation for the Jews of Persia in the fifth century BCE, but parties are marking the holiday in Israel nowadays, as in the days of old.
The parties running in the March 23 election are marking the holiday in different ways over the weekend.
Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope Party will be hosting a reading of the Book of Esther in Herzliya for women with the party’s female candidates, MK Yifat Shasha-Biton and former MKs Sharren Haskel, Michal Shir and Hila Vazan. The event will be broadcasted on Zoom and Facebook.
“The event is a symbolic act that is making a statement in favor of feminism in religion,” a New Hope spokeswoman said. “We are telling liberal religious voters that we are the party for them.”
The event was advertised in religious Zionist magazines distributed at synagogues last Shabbat. Sa’ar will continue the Purim theme this coming Shabbat with an ad featuring him upside down and calling for a Purim-style upheaval.
Asked if New Hope was trying to make a statement about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being Haman, the spokeswoman said: “No one is Haman, God forbid, but the women of our party are all Esther.”
Labor leader Merav Michaeli compared herself to Esther in a speech to the Knesset.
“We stood before a Persian enemy before,” she said. “It was a woman who saved us.
Yesh Atid released a video showing its MKs volunteering at a charity called Click that helps the elderly, helping them pack mishloah manot (traditional Purim gifts) packages for Purim.
Meretz released a new campaign ad accusing other parties of dressing up for Purim.
“Lapid is Gantz, Gantz is Labor, Sa’ar is Bibi, who is Bennett, who is Smotrich, who is Ben-Gvir,” the ad states. “We are not in that game. No matter how much you take off our masks, we are still Meretz.”