TEL AVIV – In what could have been a massive diplomatic gaffe, 15,000 Israeli army costumes were nearly sent to Tehran instead of Tel Aviv.
The shipment of costumes, sent from China ahead of the Jewish festival of Purim, was comprised of soldier and pilot uniforms all bearing the Israeli flag and an IDF patch, Ynet news reported.
The error began when an Iranian fancy dress store owner made an order for thousands of costumes for the Persian holiday of Nowruz, which falls a week after Purim on March 21.
The store owner ordered the outfits through Lola Costumes, a factory in China that is partly owned by Israeli Estee Lazar. The company uses the shipping code IRN for shipments to Iran.
At the same time, 15,000 IDF costumes were ordered by an Israeli business in preparation for Purim. The company’s shipping code for Israel is IRS.
According to Lazar, she noticed the error when both containers were loaded onto the same truck, bound for the same destination.
“Someone in China thought there was no difference between IRS and IRN and decided to send both containers to Iran,” Lazar said.
“The mistake was found at the last moment and we managed to fix it. I can’t even image what would have happened if IDF costumes had been sent to Iran.”
The irony is compounded by the fact that the story of Purim celebrates the Jewish people’s triumph over a Persian decree to wipe them out. The Jews fought back and defeated the Persian forces in a single day.
Last Purim, two Jewish teenagers in Tehran were arrested after they were caught spray-painting the words “Death to Haman” on a building. Haman is the villain in the Purim story responsible for the decree calling for the extermination of the Jewish nation.
In 2015, American supermarket giant Walmart was embroiled in controversy when it sold an IDF soldier costume for Halloween. Naysayers slammed Walmart for selling the costume, saying that in doing so the store was promoting “killing and occupation.”