Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participated in the ceremony to sell the State of Israel’s hametz, or leavened bread and other products, to Abu Ghosh resident Hussein Jabar on Thursday afternoon.
Jabar, an Arab Muslim, has been symbolically purchasing the leavened food of the Jewish state for the past 15 years. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef were present to oversee the ceremony.
“I am always moved by this ceremony that symbolizes the continuity of our people and the revival of our state, and our aspiration for peace, security and prosperity for all Israelis and the Jewish People,” commented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Tomorrow in every Jewish home we will sit down for the Seder and we will tell our sons and daughters as we have been commanded to do for thousands of years and we will remember that in every generation there arise those who would destroy us,” said the Israeli prime minister.
Responding to the prime minister, Rabbi David Lau reminded him to remember the continuation of that passage. “But we also certainly remember the second half of that line – ‘And the Holy One, Blessed be He, saves us from their hand.”
“I am certain that you will succeed in steering the ship of state in the right and proper direction and will bring us all together as one people in continuity of our tradition. We all pray that God assists you, that he assists our efforts, that we all enjoy health and joy, amen,” added the chief rabbi.
The mayor of Abu Ghosh, an Arab town in Israel near Jerusalem, Jabr Issa also said at the ceremony that he would like to extend good wishes to the Jewish people on the Passover holiday.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish our cousins, the Jewish residents and citizens of the State of Israel, and Jews all over the world, a happy Passover. We rely on the Prime Minister and wish him success both in forming the next government and in leading the State of Israel and the people of Israel toward prosperity and success in all fields,” said Issa.
Meanwhile, President Reuven Rivlin and First Lady Nechama Rivlin completed their preparations for their first Passover in the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Thursday evening, February 4. The President, together with his grandson Shai, 6, carried out the traditional search for hametz, which is done by candlelight.
On Friday night, Passover eve, the president and his wife will have their children and grandchildren, along with three lone soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and Border Police, who are far from their families on the festival at their Seder table.
Hodaya Levi, Shai Daniel Shalom, and Noah Schwarz who immigrated to Israel from the USA in order to serve in the IDF, will the join the Israeli president’s Seder table.
Rivlin will lead the Seder, and the participants will join in reading the Hagadah, which recounts the story of the Jewish People’s slavery in Egypt and their redemption through the miraculous ten plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea. The honor of asking the ‘Four Questions’ will be left to Maya, 5, and Shai, 6, two of the President and First Lady’s younger grandchildren.