MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home) attended the traditional Mimouna celebration in the southern Israeli city of Sderot Monday night. Residents of Sderot, like in many other communities in southern Israel, were on alert throughout the day Monday, as rocket attacks by Gaza Arab terrorists rocked the region.
Many residents of the city spent much of the day in bomb shelters, as terrorists fired rockets at Sderot and other locations in t southern Israel. One of the rockets narrowly missed a synagogue packed with worshippers in the city, which borders the Gaza Strip.
Speaking at the event, Chetboun said that the celebration was “our answer to terror. They fire rockets and we show our belief. Our ability to function as a society is measured by our ability to continue with a normal life despite the threats we face. Mimouna is the holiday of belief, and Sderot residents did not fear to come out and celebrate it.”
Mimouna is an informal, yet widely celebrated holiday which originated among the Jews of North Africa, particularly those from Morocco, elebrated immediately after Passover. According to custom, families prepare elaborate tables with various sweets and baked goods, and host friends and family members. Whole neighborhoods often close as celebrations spill out into the streets and parks.
“As far as I am concerned, the faith, confidence, and conviviality of North African Jewry is their special gift to Israeli society,” said Chetboun, himself of Moroccan desecent. “Even as a child I recall that our doors were open to all who are in need, welcoming all those who enter. We must remember that beyond all the differences and debates between groups and cultures, we are all part of the same nation – now more than ever.”