Netanyahu lights first Chanukah candle at Western Wall
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on Thursday evening lit the first Chanukah candle at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Below is the text of his address:
“We are here by the remnant of our Temple from 2,000 years ago. The Maccabees of that time liberated the Temple, purified it, re-established Jewish sovereignty and independence, and saved the heritage, religion and people of Israel. Without them the thread of our lives would been torn and we would not be standing here today.
The battle then was against the forces of evil who came to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the Earth. Today we—the Maccabees of our times—are fighting the forces of evil that have come to wipe the Jewish people and its state off the face of the Earth. We are showing the same determination, heroism and sacrifice.
This evening we embrace with a grieving heart our friend Gadi Eisenkot and his wife Hannah, who lost their young son Gal whom I saw and spoke with some years ago. These are the sons of all of us, as it is with the other fallen—the sons and daughters of all of us. I have heard the stories of the heroism of our soldiers, of our men and women police officers whom I have met and sometimes fought with, the accounts of utmost heroism, who repelled the enemy.
We are currently deep inside the Gaza Strip. This enemy will not break us up—we will break it up. This enemy will not wipe us out, we will wipe it out. This enemy will not overcome us, we will overcome it. This is being carried out day by day and night by night, and we will do it until the end. I believe with complete faith in the inherent power of this people, the power of life. But this power of life requires us, sometimes, to endure the tribulations of bereavement. Apparently, this is the price of our existence in our land, but we can bear it.
I would like to thank you, men and women of the Israel Police, for what you are doing day and night for the security of our country, and for the future of our people. I offer you heartfelt thanks. I think that the entire nation has learned to recognize your unique contribution. I believe that the joined forces of all parts of our people and all of our citizens, we will quickly bring the absolute victory over the forces of evil and restore security not only to the south but to the north as well, from where I have just returned.
I spoke with [U.S.] President [Joe] Biden this evening and I told him: ‘We are on the eve of Chanukah.’ He told me that he had a menorah in his office. I told him: ‘We have a menorah in our heart, for our country and our future.’
This year we are lighting the first Chanukah candle in the knowledge that this light will never be extinguished. Even if this holiday is diluted with sorrow, may we—knowing this—have a happy holiday. A happy holiday to you.”
Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lights the first Chanukah candle at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Dec. 7, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.