Hezbollah rockets force kids celebrating Purim to run for cover

On Sunday, following the typical wait period, the sirens stopped and Purim activities resumed.

By Troy O. Fritzhand, The Algemeiner

Purim, an especially joyous Jewish holiday enjoyed by parents and children alike, was marred in Israel by rocket alarms on Sunday.

Around noon local time, rocket sirens in the Golan Heights, a strategic region on Israel’s northern border previously controlled by Syria, sent families running for shelters or ducking for cover outside. Photos of the scene showed children, dressed in costumes as is the custom on Purim, laying on the ground, covering their ears to block out the loud sirens.

The alerts turned out to be for a drone from Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terrorist group based in Lebanon, that was quickly identified and taken down.

The sirens came hours after Hezbollah fired more than 60 rockets into northern Israel. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded with attacks deep into Lebanon and neighboring Syria, where local reports said the Israeli jets blew up an arms shipment to terrorist groups there.

The strike came amid escalating tensions between Israel and Hezbollah. The IDF said earlier this month that it had targeted more than 4,500 Hezbollah targets since the outbreak of the war against Hamas in Gaza on Oct. 7, including weapons shipments and production facilities used to manufacture rockets and other munitions.

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Hezbollah has identified more than 240 of its members killed by Israel since Oct. 8, but the IDF puts that number at over 300, including senior operatives.

Israeli strikes have also targeted Hezbollah operatives in Syria as well as members of other terror groups, including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

On Sunday, following the typical wait period, the sirens stopped and Purim activities resumed.

Even before the holiday, which began over the weekend, the IDF called on limited celebrations during the war. On Friday, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari released a video, calling on children to avoid toy explosives so as not to startle soldiers who returned from service.

“Don’t throw explosives on the holiday. We in the IDF will continue to do everything to embrace the soldiers wounded in body and soul and their families. You have fulfilled your duty; now we will fulfill our duty,” Hagari said in the video.”

Officials also called on children to avoid dressing as soldiers and brandishing fake weapons out of respect.

The story of Purim — which commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from annihilation at the hands of Haman, an official of the Achaemenid Empire — is told in the Book of Esther.

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It has taken on significant meaning in the public sphere this year, as commentators have compared Haman’s plans to kill all the Jews with the attempts of Hamas and Hezbollah, both terrorist groups backed by Iran, to destroy Israel and the Jewish people in the current war.

The holiday began Saturday night in Jewish communities around the world — with the exception of Jerusalem, where as prescribed in the Book of Esther the holiday starts a day later.

Even with the war, parties and parades have been occurring throughout Israel.

However, many Israelis will be celebrating Purim this year away from home. More than 60,000 Israelis from Israel’s northern region near the Lebanon border have been evacuated from their homes amid daily anti-tank, missile, and mortar fire and are living in hotels and other forms of temporary housing.

A further 70,000 are still evacuated from Israel’s southern region near the Gaza border, where Hamas carried out its massacre of 1,200 people on Oct. 7.