Mofaz decides to place full closure on West Bank during Passover
Extra security forces to be deployed as country readies for week-long festival that begins sundown Saturday.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided to place a full military closure on the Palestinian territories during the Passover holiday. The closure was imposed on Thursday night and will remain in effect until Sunday night.
Israel Police will go on high alert Friday ahead of the week-long Passover holiday, it was announced earlier Thursday.
Extra security forces will be deployed in an effort to foil any potential terror attacks.
Jews all over Israel are busy completing preparations for the Passover holiday, which begins sundown Saturday evening.
In Orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, observant Jews performed the ritual of "purifying" kitchen utensils by immersing them in boiling water to guarantee that no trace of leavened bread (hametz) remains.
At the office of the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem, religious leaders took part in the official selling of leftover leavened bread to a non-Jew, as is required by halakha. Hussein Ismail Jaber of Abu Gosh purchased the hametz from the state for the tenth consecutive year, and paid NIS 20,000.
Holocaust survivors joined Israel Air Force soldiers for a Passover seder at the Tel Aviv branch of the AMCHA foundation, which provides social and emotional support for first and second-generation Holocaust survivors. Thursday's event was the fourth consecutive year AMCHA has held the seder.
Sima Weiss, the director of the AMCHA branch in Tel Aviv, said that Holocaust survivors draw encouragement from the holiday atmosphere as well as the participation of Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the event.
The Joint Distribution Committee will contribute resources towards helping 80,000 Jews in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Argentina, and India prepare a Passover seder.
Some 40,000 Jews in the former Soviet republics will mark the holiday in their own unique way. In the Ukrainian town of Kersh, local Jews will hold an all-female seder while in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Jewish children will take part in an interactive seder.
Jews in Siberia will celebrate the holiday with a celebrational chess match.
15,000 Israelis to celebrate Egypt exodus in SinaiIrit Rosenblum adds: Approximately 15,000 Israelis will spend the Passover vacation in the Sinai, "but Sinai is not the preferred destination for Israelis this year's holiday," according to travel agents.
The figures have surprised the tourist industry given that it is just six months since 34 people, including 12 Israelis, were killed in a series of blasts on the peninsula.
Last Passover some 30,000 Israelis visited the Sinai. Most of the vacationers this year are Israeli Arabs and young people who have booked the cheap hotels.
Some Sinai deals seem to be quite inexpensive, such as $35 a night in a three star hotel and NIS 1,390-1,550 per couple for half-pension for 4 nights in hotels in the Taba area, which had the highest demand this season.