The children of southern Israel are not letting rocket fire from Gaza rain on their Purim, and showed up en masse for school Friday all dressed up for the festive holiday.
Communities and towns in the south decided to continue with plans to hold Purim parties in schools and pre-schools despite the recent escalation in the security situation along the Gaza border.
Only Thursday Israel Air Force attacked seven Gaza terror targets overnight – three targets in the north of the Strip and four in its south – after a massive barrage of 17 rockets were fired by Gaza terror groups at southern Israel.
The current round of escalation began Wednesday after the Islamic Jihad
and other Gaza based terror groups launched an onslaught of roughly 60 rockets onto Israel, prompting Israel to respond with air and artillery fire.
Often referred to as the 'Jewish Halloween', Purim is the Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jews of Persia from a massacre planned against them and it is custom for children of all ages to dress up in celebration of the holiday.
'I have never let rockets ruin my life'
Scores of children arrived for the school parties Friday, with schools reporting almost full turnout for the purim events. In wake of the relatively quiet night, which saw the IDF retaliate, but no new rocket fire from Gaza, residents and school officials decided to attempt to return to their scheduled routine. Nonetheless, both parents and children expressed their concerns.
The Madaim Alon (Science) School in Sderot – a town infamous for being targeted by Gaza rocket launchers – launched the Purim festival almost as if the town had not been scene to ongoing rocket attacks over the last two days.
Zahavit Dahan, whose daughter came dressed as a police officer, told Ynet "My girl woke up this morning, jumped out of bed straight into her costume and ran to school as if everything that happened is already forgotten."
According to her the festive atmosphere has alleviated the stress of recent days: "Purim has helped us forget the sirens we have been hearing in recent days, and I can only hope it stays that way."
She described the harsh atmosphere and the toll it exacts on residents. "It hasn't been easy and we have suffered, but now it seems that is behind us, so everything seems to be much better now."
Nurit Ohanyon, whose 8-year-old son wore a Scream mask, explained that as residents of the rocket-struck town, they have grown accustomed to the unquiet.
"Unfortunately, we are used to this situation. However, we are currently focusing on the holiday and do not want to dwell on the rockets and what happened. Even if rocket fire began again, I will continue to celebrate as I have done for the last 14-years. I have never let rockets ruin my life."
Omri Nagar, 11, was dressed as a punk, added that a desire to participate in purim celebrations trumps being scared of the rockets.
"I was scared in the last couple of days and a lot of my friends did not want to come to school, but because of the Purim party I really wanted to come and celebrate with my friends. I'm still a little scared, but I'm sure it will pass."
Ilana Curiel contributed to this report