Usually, when you ask a young jewish Israeli what this and this holiday is about they do not really bother to give you the details but sum it up as follows: “Somebody try to kill us, they did not suceed, let’s eat.” This line explains alot of festivals. But on Purim it is different, somewhat. According to the bible somebody tried to kill them (the Persians), they did not suceed (thanks to Esther)… let’s drink until we are completely drunk, that’s a talmudic ruling. The whole nation from the liberal, secular neighborhoods of Tel Aviv to the ultraorthodox Jerusalem-quarter of Mea Shearim descends into a five-day-craze that is very similar to carnival in christian countries (who copied whom is not known). People dress up und you meet drunk Santa Claus, Zombies and Bees.

Eliaz Cohen – Poet, Settler, Leftist

This is Eliaz Cohen, a remarkable man. A religious poet, a settler, a leftist. He was the reason I went to Kfar Etzion: I wrote a portrait of him for Zeit Online. My favorite poem of him:

Snow on bleeding Jerusalem
as though bandaging her wounds
all rests in tranquility now
filling the cracks of yearning in the Wall
children in your streets, Jerusalem
the sons of Isaac and Ishmael
are staging white wars
(and their blows are soft)
even the pigeons are hurrying today
cooing because they have found new footprints
on the way leading up to the Gate of Mercy