Carefree Costume-Clad Celebrators Conduct Carnivals, Contravene Cautious Corona Curbs
Israel’s holiday weekend is nearly over, after thousands of party revelers and synagoguegoers celebrated the Jewish holiday of Purim, flouting government curfews and lockdowns aimed at mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. On Sunday, police all but laid siege to Jerusalem, blocking all entrances to the capital for fear of thousands of ultra-Orthodox visitors arriving for prayer and special meals on the holiday’s final day. On Saturday, merry, costume-clad, and not-so-slightly inebriated youth in Tel Aviv crammed the streets, dancing and singing and fulfilling the biblical command to “lose one’s senses” on the festive occasion. Health officials fear the weekend’s celebrations, along with the nation’s reopening last week of its schools and businesses, will soon lead to a renewed increase in cases of the coronavirus and resultant deaths. The number of patients in serious condition, as well as the test positivity rate and infection rate, were all up on Saturday for the first time in nearly two weeks, despite Israel’s continued vaccination drive which has covered nearly 40% of its population.