Israeli Jews have been celebrating the boisterous festival of Purim, including the tightly-knit ultra-Orthodox communities.
The festival - which includes reading from the scripture, feasting, gift-giving and dressing-up - celebrates events recorded in the Book of Esther when the Jews escaped annihilation in ancient Mesopotamia.
Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited children at Hadassah hospital in West Jerusalem where a fancy-dress party was being held.
Funny behaviour during religious ceremonies is not just permitted during Purim, it is positively encouraged.
The festival is taken seriously in ultra-Orthodox communities like those in the neighbourhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem.
It is also an occasion for fun and high spirits among Israel's secular communities.
Being Israel, politics is never very far away - a parade in the town of Holon displays caricatures of political leaders currently engaged in coalition talks.
An important aspect of Purim festivities involves becoming inebriated, to commemorate the important role that wine plays in the Purim story.
In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jewish settlers in the flashpoint town of Hebron mark Purim with a fancy-dress parade. A travel ban is being imposed on Palestinians until midnight on Wednesday.