Every Time You Wish Someone ‘Happy Hanukkah’ You Acknowledge The Historic Jewish Claim On Jerusalem
On Hanukkah eve, I tweeted out a somewhat reductionist thought commemorating the bloody Maccabean rebellion against the Seleucid Empire and their traitorous Hellenized Jewish accomplices. It seemed to upset some of my followers.
Why are you politicizing such a pleasant holiday? Does wishing someone a “Merry Christmas” now mean that you accept Jesus as your lord and savior?
Well, first of all, the story of Hanukkah isn’t pleasant. Violent, brutal, and passionate, maybe. But not pleasant. And of course wishing someone a “Happy Hanukkah” isn’t an endorsement of any theological position, any more than wishing someone Merry Christmas is (although we appreciate the recognition of the Jewish presence in ancient Bethlehem). Mostly it’s convention and good manners. Thank you.
Fact is, there isn’t a ton of theology to worry about. Hanukkah is not a Jewish “yom tov,” which in the literal translation means “good day” but in religious terms means the holiday was not handed to the Jewish people through the Torah. Unlike Passover or Yom Kippur, there are no restrictions on work. The two books that deal with the Maccabees aren’t Jewish canon. The “miracle of the lights” — which you might be led to believe is the entire story of the holiday — is apocryphal and was added hundreds of years later in the Talmud.
But whatever reasons you have for offering good wishes, Hanukkah itself is a reminder that Jews have a singular, millennia-long historic relationship with Jerusalem. By the time Mattathias rebelled against Hellenistic Syrian king Antiochus, who had not only ordered a statue of Zeus to be erected in the Holy Temple but that swine be sacrificed to him, Jerusalem had likely been a Jewish city for more than 1,000 years. As some readers have suggested, Hanukkah might be the only Jewish holiday that celebrates events confirmed by the historical record. The Hasmonean dynasty, founded by Mattathias’ son Simon, is a fact.
.@jeremycorbyn hasn’t found the time to deal with the antisemitism in his party.
But he found the time to send the Jewish community the WEIRDEST Hanukkah message ever.
We made a response video. pic.twitter.com/80bYYSsjBl
— Israel Advocacy Movement (@israel_advocacy) December 3, 2018
Yisrael Medad: The Arabs Started Shooting on November 30, 1947
The newspapers in Mandate Palestine reported in the editions of December 1, 1947 that the previous evening Arabs had attacked Jews, shooting and killing and injuring them.
In Jerusalem, as Davar reported, at 8:45 PM, nurses being transported to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus were shot at while driving through the Nashashibi neighborhood:
The bus was riddled with eight bullets. The Nashashibi neighborhood is today’s Sheikh Jarrah. The first Nashashibi clan house was built where now the Ambassador Hotel stands. They were driving along the road that later would be the site of the Hadassah Convoy Massacre, now called Derech Har HaZeitim*.
The Palestine Post reports, it would seem, an additional incident in Jerusalem as well as the major terror attack on Tel Aviv’s border with Jaffa:
The governing body for international chess confirmed Monday that an upcoming tournament that was to be held for the second year in Saudi Arabia has been relocated to Russia because of the kingdom’s policies, which exclude some eligible players.
Two Israeli chess players had appealed to the FIDE chess federation over concerns they would be prevented from playing at the World Rapid and Blitz tournament, as they were last year when Saudi authorities refused to grant them visas to enter the kingdom.
“The Championships were moved from Saudi Arabia to Russia due to the policy adopted by Saudi organizers,” FIDE director general Emil Sutovsky told The Times of Israel in an email.
Although Sutovsky did not specify the block against Israeli players in particular, the decision to move the event came after Israeli chess grandmaster Ilya Smirin and chess organizer Lior Aizenberg sent a letter to FIDE in November demanding that it take action to preserve their right to participate in the federation contest.
The letter was sent with the assistance of the Lawfare Project, a nonprofit organization that says it seeks to protect the civil and human rights of Jewish people around the world.
Marc Lamont Hill, a political commentator and professor at Temple University, has apologized for his use of a phrase associated with Palestinian extremists in discussing the current plight of the Palestinians at the United Nations.
Hill, a professor of media studies and urban education at Temple who also hosts the syndicated television show “Our World with Black Enterprise,” called for “a free Palestine from the river to the sea” on Wednesday during an event held at the United Nations for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
“We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grassroots action, local action and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea,” Hill said.
He was fired the next day by CNN.
In an op-ed published on Saturday in Hill’s hometown newspaper, the Philadephia Inquirer, he wrote: “Critics of this phrase have suggested that I was calling for violence against Jewish people. In all honesty, I was stunned, and saddened, that this was the response.”
“Palestine from the river to the sea” was a slogan of the Palestine Liberation Organization beginning with its founding in 1964, claiming a Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and rejecting control by Israel of any land in the region, including areas controlled by Israel prior to 1967. It later became a popular political slogan used by Palestinians who reject compromise with Israel, including the terror group Hamas, which calls for the destruction of Israel.
Note the casual dishonesty of @ggreenwald, whose followers don’t know that Gideon Levy thinks his own country shouldn’t exist & has devoted his career to promoting terrorists and delegitimizing Israel. Greenwald knows this, but refers to him merely as “Israeli” to mislead readers https://t.co/1sZhSsoSWr
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) December 3, 2018
Defending himself against accusations of anti-Semitism after calling for a Palestine “from the river to the sea,” former CNN analyst Marc Lamont Hill now says he welcomes a Jewish homeland at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.
“In calling for the elimination of all Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, I am endorsing a Jewish presence in the sea, in the river, or anyplace else where they won’t bother any Palestinians,” Hill said in an op-ed. “It deeply hurts to be accused of anti-Semitism when all I want is a peaceful home for the Jewish people, and one far enough away from Palestine that those hook-nosed kikes won’t bother anyone.”
Hill, who previously praised anti-Semitic preacher Louis Farrakhan, noted that the Mediterranean Sea is nearly 100 times the size of Israel and Palestine, making it more than suitable for a Jewish nation-state. And he dismissed concerns that the plan was not realistic, adding “Jews have horns, so who’s to say they don’t have gills?”
While most Israelis brushed off Hill’s comments, Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy published an article thanking Hill for his proposal and accepting on behalf of the Jewish people.
— Andrew Klavan (@andrewklavan) December 2, 2018
The case was potentially bigger than the one against the Holy Land Foundation, the largest terrorism-financing case in American history. And, if prosecutions occurred, there would likely be a domino effect impacting many other Islamist organizations in America and around the world.
Then, near the end of Obama Administration in 2016, the Justice Department declined to prosecute. Federal agents were stunned. No clear reason was given. The investigation into Islamic Relief continued, but the criminal case presented by the three government agencies would not move forward.
The only reasonable speculation: The administration lacked the political will to take on the case.
Indeed, the blowback might have been massive at home and abroad. Islamic Relief Worldwide, headquartered in the U.K., has 16 branches including Islamic Relief USA and 26 field offices. It boasted a $156 million budget in 2016 and its U.S. arm listed $115 million in total revenue. It has the resources to fight back in the press, in the courts, and, to influence voters. Federal investigators would likely have been tarred as anti-Muslim bigots.
Yet, the evidence implicating the charity has only gotten stronger over time. One of Islamic Relief’s senior officials admitted that his organization was founded by Muslim Brotherhood ideologues. Extensive ties to Islamist extremists remain, including ones linked to terrorism. The U.S. wing of Islamic Relief overlaps with organizations that the Justice Department has identified as affiliated not only with the Muslim Brotherhood but also Hamas, which is listed by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Islamic Relief has received tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from the West, including more than $700,000 from the U.S. government. The State Department even hailed Islamic Relief as a partner in a July 2017 announcement. The charity was advising the U.S. Agency for International Development and State Department at the very same time that Israel banned the group for funding Hamas.
The Israeli government said Islamic Relief “funnels millions of dollars a year to Hamas institutions.” The United Arab Emirates has also banned the charity as a terrorist entity.
A major road in Johannesburg, South Africa has been renamed Leila Khaled Drive, after the notorious Palestinian who was one of the hijackers of a TWA flight from Rome to Tel Aviv in 1969.
The Johannesburg City Council last week adopted the motion presented by the ruling ANC and its far-left ally, the Economic Freedom Fighters, to rename Sandton Drive after the 74-year-old Khaled, who now lives in Jordan and was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The motion argued that the city, which is home to most of South Africa’s 70,000-strong Jewish community, had “a responsibility to stand with the people of Palestine.”
Economic Freedom Fighters chairperson Musa Novela said, “It is our duty to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine against the oppressive state of Israel.” The initial motion was to rename the road “City of Ramallah,” but following an amendment, it called for the road to be named after Khaled.
To readers of this blog, and more generally, Sandra Watfa is probably the best-known public face of the anti-Israel Inminds group.
Her uncompromising sentiments are encapsulated, inter alia, in this recent post:
On 30 November Inminds projected a slide show onto the walls of the BBC’s Broadcasting House in London, protesting the holding of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.
Yes. Arch-BDSer Alex Seymour (aka Seymour Alexander) was, as usual, on hand to record the event ‘Nearly 150 Artists, including Eurovision winners, judges and broadcasters have all supported the Palestinian call to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 if held in Israel’ Inminds itself reports, and goes on to quote its chairman, Abbas Ali, as saying ‘It’s unacceptable that something as culturally prestigious as the iconic Eurovision Song Contest, which is meant to bring people together through music, is handed over to an apartheid regime … We are here to ask the BBC to serve its licence payers by taking a moral stand against racism, and pull out of next years Eurovision if its held in Israel.’ It reports, too, that:
‘The projection lasted over an hour during which time many passers by and BBC employees came to congratulate us for voicing their own concerns of how inappropriate it would be for the Eurovision to be hosted by Israel, and shameful for the BBC to support it.’
A devastating new report summarising Swiss investigations into Tariq Ramadan sets out a series of alleged sexual assaults and contacts with underage girls.
The Oxford professor was arrested in France in February on charges of sexual assault, and has since faced allegations in Switzerland of a similar nature.
A Swiss radio report has revealed authorities in Geneva interrogated around 50 people including former students of the academic at the college des Coudriers and the college of Saussure, where he taught French between 1984 and 2004.
The final report disclosed by the French-speaking Radio Lac found that Mr Ramadan “tried to seduce a 14-year-old student with no success, and he managed to have sexual relationships with the other three students aged between 15 and 18.”
It also revealed that Mr Ramadan had sought contact with students outside the premises of the school and that he regularly invited his pupils – both boys and girls – for individual restaurant lunches. One student confessed to having been sexually molested by the scholar in his car.
Elder of Ziyon recently posted about a “journalism” conference in Istanbul, Turkey – one of the most hostile countries for journalists in the world – last month designed to help participants develop skills to more effectively promote the Palestinian narrative in the international media. That’s right, these “journalists” weren’t there to learn how to report more accurately on the region, but to be more effective advocates for Palestine.
The conference was sponsored by the Palestine International Forum for Media and Communication.
Anti-Israel propagandists-cum-journalists from around the world attended, including Ben White, but also Guardian contributor Antony Lowenstein, and veteran reporter Jonathan Steele , who led a panel addressing the “obstacles to objective coverage of Palestine in the media”.
Steel is currently a Guardian contributor, but once served as the paper’s chief foreign correspondent, which included a stint in Beirut where he covered the 2nd Lebanon War in 2006, in which his pro-Hezbollah bias was hard to miss.
Unsurprisingly, the Israeli police recommendation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted for taking bribes in the Bezeq-Walla corruption probe, known as Case 4000, has made international headlines.
The Independent, however, got its headline wrong:
Except Netanyahu is not “set to be charged” as the headline states. The police recommendation is just that – a recommendation.
Antisemitism is on the rise in NYC, the @ADL_National says that Anti-Semitic incidents in NY are up by 96 percent! But the national media is largely ignoring these shocking numbers.
Jews being attacked on the streets of NYC is now a weekly occurrence.
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) December 2, 2018
A Chabad Lubavitch synagogue in Basel, Switzerland has been vandalized.
A window of the synagogue was smashed in with a hammer, the BZ Basel news website reported.
The damage was discovered on Saturday morning as worshipers gathered for the Shabbat morning service.
“I’ve been living in Basel for 16 years. It’s the first time that I have been worried about myself and my family,” Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski of Chabad Lubavitch told BZ Basel.
There currently are no suspects in the incident, the Basel public prosecutor’s office told the news website.
The incident came after a kosher butcher shop in Basel was vandalized four times in one month in what local Jews have condemned as an anti-Semitic campaign of intimidation.
The rabbi said that Chabad would not cancel its public Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony scheduled for Tuesday.
A leader of the extremist Jobbik Party in Hungary resigned his leadership positions following the release of a recording of an admission of an anti-Semitic act.
Jobbik deputy group leader and parliamentary notary Istvan Szavay resigned his positions on Thursday, Hungary Today reported, though he will remain a member of Parliament.
Szavay is heard on the recording admitting to verbally and physically assaulting a Jewish woman, though he claims she started it.
“She was yelling, ‘Nazis are stinking here,’ and I just knocked her out, dirty Jew, pakk, just like this,” he said on the recording.
He said he did not actually physically harm the woman.
Jobbik is a xenophobic movement that the World Jewish Congress has termed “an extremist party promoting hate.” It is Hungary’s second-largest party with 26 out of 199 seats in parliament.
A Jewish student at Carnegie Mellon University discovered swastikas and anti-Semitic comments written inside a campus library book.
The vandalism was discovered last week, though it is not known when it was written in the book. Carnegie Mellon is located in Pittsburgh.
Graduate student Adira Rosen, who discovered the vandalism while researching a paper on a Yiddish play, wrote about her discovery on Facebook.
In addition to swastikas on two pages, one page had the words “Jews have no business at CMU!” Just below it, someone wrote, in different handwriting, “you are right :)”
“This is a hate crime that happened here at Carnegie Mellon University, not in another country, or another state, or even in an adjacent neighborhood. It happened here,” Rosen wrote.
Recap video of recent assaults on Jews in NY. What is going wrong with NY that innocents R attacked in the streets? We need 2 talk prevention not after the fact press conferences. (Note: Incident of perp with branch was found not to be a hate crime. Video from @ReaganBattalion) pic.twitter.com/eYwt8dSsNy
— Yaacov Behrman (@ChabadLubavitch) December 3, 2018
A group of white supremacist YouTubers are using a new app to pay celebrities to create videos where they make coded anti-Semitic statements — and then the YouTubers use those recordings to promote hatred on the internet.
The videos were made using Cameo, where users can pay to have celebrities record a personalized message for them. Cameo launched in April 2018, and has become another platform that the far-right has seized upon in an attempt to legitimize racist messages — this time with seeming celebrity endorsements.
Cameo and representatives for the celebrities told BuzzFeed News they were unaware the messages supported anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The two alt-right leaders behind the campaign bragged about duping the celebrities in a livestream on Wednesday.
The group behind the videos refers to itself as the GDL, or Goyim Defense League, using the Hebrew word for a non-Jew. The group is apparently run by two YouTubers who go by “Handsome Truth” and “Sway Guevara.”
Brett Favre says he was duped into recording an anti-Semitic video by a group posing as a veterans organization.
The Hall of Fame hurler was paid $500 to make the recording riddled with coded hate speech and conspiracy theories for the Cameo service, which pays celebrities to record short, personalized video messages.
Posing as a veterans organization, hate groups the Handsome Truth and the Goyim Defense League paid Favre $500 to read a statement that included several veiled anti-Semitic remarks.
“Brett Favre here with a shout-out to the Handsome Truth and the GDL boys,” Favre says in the video, according to BuzzFeed News.
“You guys are patriots in my eyes. So keep waking them up and don’t let the small get you down. Keep fighting too and don’t ever forget the USS Liberty and the men and women who died on that day. God bless and take care.”
“Waking them up” is a reference to anti-Semitic indoctrination, while “the small” is an epithet referring to yarmulkes, BuzzFeed reported. Israeli fighter jets accidentally fired on the USS Liberty in 1967, believing it was an Egyptian craft, and “Remember the USS Liberty” has become a rallying cry for conspiratorial bigots who believe the attack was intentional despite statements from both the U.S. and Israeli governments otherwise, according to BuzzFeed.
The anti-Semitic groups wrote the script and submitted it to Favre via Cameo — carefully crafting the message so it wouldn’t raise any red flags with Favre, the outlet reported.
President @GeorgeHWBush denouncing @DrDavidDuke in 1991 over David Duke’s Holocaust denial, Nazi sympathizing, racism, & bigotry — and calling him out as a shameless charlatan.pic.twitter.com/uPi7hxGIvq
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) December 2, 2018
A Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony to strengthen and heal the Pittsburgh Jewish community was held outside of the Tree of Life synagogue building.
Hundreds gathered Sunday evening around a towering electric menorah in front of the building where 11 worshipers were killed by a gunman during Shabbat morning services. The eight-branched menorah stood in the spot where a temporary memorial had been erected for the victims of the shooting attack, which had been visited by thousands, including President Donald Trump, in the days following the Oct. 27 attack.
The candle for the first night of Hanukkah was lit by a group including police officers, paramedics, the head of the local FBI office and survivors of the massacre, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
“As in ancient times, [when] Jewish people strove for independence, strove for religious freedom, so, too, today we strive to be able to freely worship in our sacred places,” Rabbi Jonathan Perlman of the New Light congregation, that met in the building and lost congregants, told the crowd on Sunday night.
He said that Hanukkah will never be the same for him. “I never made the connection before between hope and Hanukkah. But from now on, I will always celebrate this holiday with the idea that hope is always a possibility,” he said, according to the newspaper.
Perlman and Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha led the crowd in singing Hanukkah songs.
Eighty years after Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” in which Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was lifted in a cherry picker crane alongside Berlin community Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal to kindle what is billed as the Europe’s largest Hanukkah menorah, located at the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
Thanks to a misty rain, the first night of Hanukkah was especially sparkly in Berlin this year. Raindrops settled upon several hundred onlookers gathered for the 15th annual candle-lighting ceremony, refracting the lights of Berlin’s giant Christmas tree and the illuminated 18th-century monument, just east of where the Berlin wall once loomed.
As Steinmeier and Teichtal lit the menorah, watching below from the cobblestoned plaza were Berlin Mayor Michael Müller; Bundestag member and vice president Petra Pau; Israel’s ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff; US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grennel; Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany; Gideon Joffe, the head of Berlin’s Jewish community; and numerous children and their parents, noshing on jelly donuts under umbrellas.
The very public display of support for the Jewish community occurred this year against the backdrop of rising concerns about anti-Semitism here in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
A recent CNN poll sampling 7,000 Europeans in seven countries found that 28 percent of those surveyed said they believed Jews have “too much influence” in business and finance, while 20% felt Jews had excessive influence in media and politics.
The Jewish community of Kazakhstan was allowed to light a Menorah in the capital city of Astana, for the first time in years.
The menorah was put on display outside the Pyramid of Peace and Reconciliation, one of the country’s top tourist attractions with the approval of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the Mayor of Astana Bakhyt Sultanov.
The lighting of the menorah in Astana was the result of a memorandum of understanding signed in October between Paul Packer, Chairman of the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, and Arystanbek Muhamediuly, Minister of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Signed at the 6th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, held in the capital city of Astana, the agreement initiates cooperation between the United States and Kazakhstan to preserve the cultural heritage of national, ethnic, and religious groups that live or once lived in the territory of Kazakhstan, with a focus on Jewish heritage.
US President Donald Trump released a statement wishing Jews a “blessed and happy Hanukkah” in honor of the first of eight lights lit on Sunday night.
“Melania and I send our warmest greetings to our Jewish brothers and sisters in the United States, in Israel and around the world celebrating Hanukkah,” he said.
“For eight nights, Jewish families and friends will come together to engage in the lighting of the menorah. This special tradition started more than 2,000 years ago during the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which followed a trying period when Jews were persecuted for practicing their faith,” he continued.
“Unfortunately, Jews today continue to face many different forms of violence, hatred and bigotry around the globe,” said the president. “We remember all those from the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation, whose lives were tragically taken in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this past October. As one nation, we pledge our continued love and support for the victims, their families and the community, and we pray that the victims’ families find some measure of peace and comfort during this holiday season.”
Trump added that “over the coming days, may the warming glow of each candle on the menorah help fill homes and hearts with love and happiness. Together, we reaffirm the truth that light will always break through the darkness. We send our very best wishes for a blessed and happy Hanukkah.”
This week, Jews around the world will celebrate the miracles of Hanukkah. @FLOTUS Melania and I send our very best wishes for a blessed and Happy Hanukkah! https://t.co/LrnGcc86w4 pic.twitter.com/Kdjeyvkzmb
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2018
Bible scholars believe the legendary Ark of the Covenant may have landed in Africa after it was taken out of Israel.
The Ark is said to be a gold-covered wooden chest containing two stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments – which Moses brought down from Mount Sinai – are written.
It is also said to contain other biblical items such as Aaron’s rod, which is thought to have magical powers.
Since it vanished there have been several theories as to where the Ark is now, including Mount Nebo in Israel, southern Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt and even several locations in Europe.
While the idea that the Ark was taken to Ethiopia is not new, there has been renewed interest after evidence was unearthed by the Bible Archaeology, Search & Exploration Institute (BASE).
Christian monks in the African country have long claimed the Ark is being kept under guard at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum.
A treasure trove of 24 gold coins and a gold earring was recently discovered in a well-hidden bronze pot during ongoing excavation and conservation work in the ancient harbor of Caesarea. Found among the hoard of Fatimid dinars are six extremely rare 11th century Byzantine coins, of which less than a handful have been discovered in Israel.
“On the whole they are very, very rare,” said Israel Antiquity Authority coin expert Dr. Robert Kool in conversation with The Times of Israel from the windy coastal city of Caesarea. “These coins usually did not travel beyond the political borders of the Byzantine Empire.”
According to IAA archaeologists, all indications point to a treasure that was hidden during flight from the bloody Crusader battle of 1101 at the seaside stronghold, in which the ruling Fatimid empire was routed and its people massacred or taken as slaves.
“There is a feeling is that the hoard was put away in quite a quick way,” said Kool.
The bronze pot in which the trove was held for the past millennium — itself a valuable item — was secreted between stones in a 1.5 meter-deep subterranean watering hole. Usually, said Kool, a hidden coin hoard is placed in a ceramic vessel. This bronze pot, which shows indications of once having an original metal lid, was given a makeshift ceramic stopper before being placed into the watering hole.
The Israel Defense Forces have reopened the archaeological site of the ancient palaces of the Maccabees to tourists in honor of Hanukkah.
According to the Hebrew daily Makor Rishon, the palaces, located near Jericho in Area C of the West Bank, over which Israel exercises full security control, have been closed due to security considerations for months. The site has been open to tourists for only two days a year until now, once on Passover and once on Sukkot.
Also known as the Hasmonean royal winter palaces, the site contains extensive ruins that once served as the residences of the Maccabean kings. They were employed by the rulers of ancient Judea until the era of King Herod in the first century BCE.
Israel has invested millions of shekels in excavating the site and building infrastructure for tourists, but has thus far all but completely forbidden entrance to visitors.
Yaron Rosenthal, an activist who has been involved in the campaign to open the site, told Makor Rishon that similar security considerations in sites like Mount Hermon have not resulted in closures.
“Security danger was never a criteria for where you can travel and where you can’t. It’s a misunderstanding of the role of the army in Judea and Samaria,” he said.
Rosenthal noted that Palestinians from Jericho often vandalize the site in an attempt to destroy proof of the historic Jewish connection to the land.
Israelis are raised on the stories of the Maccabees, the exploits of underground resistance groups such as the Stern Group, Irgun and the Haganah and the daring of the young soldiers who fought in the War of Independence, but they know very little about the heroism of the Jews who fought in the ghettos, rebelled in the concentration camps, or battled shoulder-to-shoulder with the partisans in the forests, according to Colette Avital, who chairs the umbrella organization of 57 Holocaust survivor associations in Israel.
A former diplomat and member of Knesset who was active in ensuring the restoration of funds and property to Holocaust survivors and a child Holocaust survivor herself, Avital spoke at a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony that took place at the President’s Residence on Monday morning.
There were several such heroes in the hall, she said, but she categorized all of the survivors present as heroes who had the courage to start life anew, to volunteer in the War of Independence, to get married and to create families in place of those who perished in a bid to guarantee Jewish continuity. They also integrated fully into academia, religious institutions, the legal system, and more, proving the ability of human beings to survive and overcome the most devastating chapters in their lives.
The Jewish people had succeeded in surviving their enemies, she said, but the challenge today, is to survive from themselves.
President Reuven Rivlin told of an incident that had taken place in Bergen-Belsen on the second night of Hanukkah in 1943. The rabbi had used part of his shoe laces for wicks and had created something like candle wax from the soles of his shoes. He had debated with himself whether or not to recite the sheheheyanu blessing, which gives thanks to God for having granted us life and sustained us so that we could reach this time.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.