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Israelis celebrate Passover Seder free from pandemic’s bondage

Seder tables able to return to full capacity for first time since 2019; many thousands head abroad; President Herzog hosts lone soldiers, Ukrainian refugees

Israelis attend a Passover seder in Mishmar David, April 15, 2022. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Israelis attend a Passover seder in Mishmar David, April 15, 2022. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Passover seders were able to return to full-capacity on Friday evening for the first time since 2019, after a holiday under lockdown in 2020, and a restricted one during the Delta wave in 2021.

In Kibbutz Hulda in central Israel, the dining room filled with 300 people, and residents enjoyed a concert after their dinner.

“This Pesach especially there’s some sort of special feeling, perhaps because of everything that happened over the past two years or maybe because of the recent security situation, that it really is a special night tonight,” Netanya resident Elad Lozon told Channel 12.

The pandemic may still be present, but it is far less felt this year. Taking advantage of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, huge numbers of Israelis have traveled abroad for the holiday.

“It’s a trip that we had to push off for the past two years, and now we can finally go,” one woman told Channel 12 as she stood in line to check in at a packed Ben Gurion Airport, four hours before her family’s flight was scheduled to take off. “They told us to come early, so we did!”

At the President’s Residence, Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal hosted at their seder several lone soldiers — those serving in the IDF without family in Israel — along with a group of Ukrainian refugees.

At Tel Hashomer’s Sheba Medical Center, a police officer who was critically wounded in last month’s terror attack in Hadera held the Passover meal with his wife.

The officer, who was only identified as T. told the Ynet news site that despite his serious injuries, he was happy to be alive and thanks the doctors for saving him.

T. was struck by several bullets in the stomach when Islamic State-tied terrorists opened fire at Border Police officers as they were getting off a bus in the central town. Two were killed and two more were seriously injured.

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