Jewish settlers celebrate Purim in West Bank city

Jewish people around the world began celebrating the holiday of Purim this week, commemorating a Jewish victory over an evil man named Haman.

Israeli soldiers guard settlers dressed in costumes during the Jewish festival Purim parade in Hebron, West Bank, on Wednesday. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo
Israeli soldiers guard settlers dressed in costumes during the Jewish festival Purim parade in Hebron, West Bank, on Wednesday. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Hundreds of revelers in the West Bank city of Hebron marched through the streets as some Palestinian residents were forced to remain indoors, WAFA reported Thursday.

The Jewish settlers walked banged drums and shouted anti-Palestinian slogans as the army blocked off the area to prevent contact with residents.

Purim commemorates a story from “The Scroll of Esther” in which a man named Mordecai and his niece Hadassah foil a plot by a Persian man named Haman to kill all Jews.

Haman asks the king of Persia to approve his attack and selects the day of the siege by drawing lots, or “Purim” in Hebrew.

The king then launches a beauty pageant to find a new queen, which Hadassah wins after changing her name to Esther to hide her Jewish heritage.

Mordecai urges Esther to convince the king to revoke Haman’s permission to carry out the attack and Esther asks all the Persian Jews to join her in three days of fasting and prayer before she requests an audience with the king.

After two banquets Esther informs the king she is Jewish and Haman is planning to kill her people and he orders Haman to be hanged.

The holiday centers around four principles including reading the Purim story, sending food gifts to friends, sending money to the poor and holding a feast.

Other customs include drinking wine or other alcohol, wearing costumes or masks and celebrating in public.

By Daniel Uria