In keeping with Moroccan tradition, Arabs will be the guests of honour at this year's Mimouna festivities in Ashdod, where special pancakes - moufletas - are eaten to celebrate the conclusion of Passover. Greer Faye Cashman of The Jerusalem Post reports:
"The central Mimouna festivities this year will be held in Ashdod, which is celebrating its jubilee year and which is one of 111 initially rural areas (including moshavim) that were settled by immigrants from North Africa. There has always been a high ratio of Moroccans in the Ashdod community, though the demography changed percentage-wise with the influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
"Nonetheless the Moroccan influence is still evident. Sam Ben Chetrit, the chairman of the World Federation of Moroccan Jews which is one of the major sponsors - together with Beyahad, which Ben Chetrit founded in Jerusalem in 1978 - of Mimouna activities throughout the country, this year intends to revive the true spirit of Mimouna as it existed in the Morocco of his youth. The first visitors in Jewish homes immediately after the Pessah holiday were Arab neighbors, who brought in leavened food, plus all the ingredients required for the moufletas."