After a year contending with COVID-19 and regulations preventing the gathering of friends and extended families, for Passover this year, with coronavirus infections plummeting, the country has eased restrictions and families are celebrating together once again. As many as 20 people may gather in homes—50 outdoors.
Having come through a modern plague that took the lives of more than 6,000 in Israel over the past year, for many, Passover, which commemorates the exodus of the Jews from slavery after God’s visitation of 10 plagues on Egypt, has taken on new meaning.
“For the first time in a year and a half, thousands of people were able to attend the traditional priestly blessing event at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on Monday, made possible by the rolling back of coronavirus restrictions ahead of the Passover festival,” reports the Times of Israel.
“It’s a stark turnaround from last year, when Israel was in the first of three nationwide lockdowns, with businesses shuttered, checkpoints set up on empty roads and people confined to their homes. Many could only see their elderly relatives on video calls.”
Another cause for celebration was marked by the message of the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Israel, who tweeted a Passover greeting in Hebrew and English Sunday night: “On this Passover week, let us all celebrate the universal ideals of freedom and hopeful new beginnings. We have much to rejoice and look forward to.”
This past year saw the normalization of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel with the 15 September signing of the Abraham Accords, a pact brokered by the United States. Since then, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have also normalized relations.
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