The Mimouna celebrations, a traditional North African Jewish holiday held a day after Passover has long become a chance for politicians to promote themselves amidst traditional cakes and sweets.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who took part in the celebrations at the Fahima Family in Or Akiva, said, "We'll continue to build in the north, south and Jerusalem."
President Shimon Peres was the guest of honor at the city of Jerusalem's main Mimouna celebration. "I believe that Passover this year was the best the people have known in recent times. Never has there been such a flourishing concentration of Jews, close to 7 million, as there is today. Never have we had such security capacity with the IDF at the center as we do today," Peres said.
The Mimouna celebrated in Ma'aleh Adumim this year had a particularly political tone, with many right-wing ministers and Knesset members arriving Monday to join in the city's festivities.
Among the hundreds of guests were Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, ministers Yossi Peled and Yuli Edelstein and deputy minister Ayoob Kara. They were joined by MKs Majalli Whbee, Miri Regev, Arieh Eldad, Otniel Schneller and Tzipi Hotovely.
Ben-Eliezer and MK Orit Noked in Beit Shemesh
"The decision to hold the main event in Ma'aleh Adumim was made at a time when the American administration and Palestinian elements are questioning the legitimacy of Ma'aleh Adumim in Israel," Chairman of the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry, Sam Ben-Sheetrit told Ynet.
He further added, "We hope that upon the end of the freeze construction in the city will resume in full force."
Mayor Benny Kashriel added that in the current climate it was particularly important to say that the city will continue developing and growing. "We are holding the main Mimouna ceremony in the city and saying to the world – We are here to stay."
Ingathering of the exiles
Another Mimouna celebration was held not far from the city - in Beit Shemesh, where Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer opened festivities in the home of city councilman and Labor official Richard Peres.
In the backdrop of mounting tensions between the haredi and secular communities in the city, the minister said, "The Mimouna holiday symbolizes, most of all, the ingathering of the exiles in the State of Israel and the multi-cultural nature of our country.
"Today, more than ever, I wish for our people's unity, which bears such great importance in light of the difficult challenges we face as a nation," he said.
Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni celebrated the holiday in Sderot as a guest in Mayor David Bouskila's home. Wearing a traditional Moroccan headband, Livni said, "I feel I'm here among friends, with you – people of Sderot.
"I was here as a government minister and as opposition chairwoman in the city's rough patch when Qassams were falling, and also in the days when the government of Israel decided to do what needed to be done in Gaza. Since then you've had better days and I hope that this will be the way in the future."
Shmulik Grossman contributed to this report