Joshua's Tomb
Joshua's TombSamaria Regional Council

Regional council heads, military representatives, and dozens of residents arrived Thursday morning to the Tomb of Joshua in the Kifl Hares village of Samaria to continue the eight-year tradition of reading the Book of Esther at the holy site. 

Attending the event were Ephraim Brigade Commander, Col. Guy Berger; Judea and Samaria Division Commander, Liet. Col. Maki Siboni; Karni Shomron Council Head, Yigal Lahav; Elkana Council Head, Asaf Mintzer; and Samaria Council Head, Gershon Mesika. 

The congregation began reading the Book of Esther after finishing morning prayers. 

After the reading, Mesika addressed the crowd. "We continue the eight-year tradition of reading the Book of Esther here. There is no better place to read the Book of Esther than at the grave of the first Jewish leader who fought against Amalek."

According to biblical tradition, the villain of the Purim story, Haman, is the descendant of the Amalekite people who attacked the Israelites in the desert after they had left Egypt. 

Mesika then noted an important lesson that can be learned from the book: while Haman was the one who led the plan for the extermination of the Jews, King Ahasuerus was willing to help him and invest in the plan. 

"Through all of history, there were two kinds of hatred of the nation of Israel. The first type is a bitter enemy who says openly that his aim is to destroy the people of Israel - like Haman, Hitler or Ahmadinejad." 

"The second type is more subtle: he shows the face of a friend but actually wants to harm us - for example, Europe or the United States.

"When 200 people are killed in Syria, no one cares, but if we move half a caravan, we wake Obama up at night. They're doing everything so that we can't return here," Mesika argued.