Hanukka goes political with lighting in Hebron

MKs sent anti-Abbas themed gift for the holiday; Rivlin, members of Knesset’s Land of Israel Lobby will start off festivities in Elazar, Gush Etzion.

December 1, 2010 01:43
2 minute read.
‘THE US does not feel any moral responsibility for

Rivlin 311. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Maccabees and the Hellenist Jews are long gone, but politics in the Land of Israel continues to thrive this Hanukka, as lawmakers use the holiday to make political statements.

The Right will light its hannukiot in Judea and Samaria, to send a message to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama about the sanctity of the Land of Israel.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and members of the Knesset’s Land of Israel Lobby will start off the festivities on Wednesday night in Elazar in Gush Etzion, which is named after one of the Maccabee brothers who was killed not far from the site. The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip’s head Dani Dayan and director-general Naftali Bennett will join the MKs.

Rivlin will then go to Hebron, where he will light candles at the Cave of the Patriarchs, which in addition to Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, is said to be the burial place of Adam, who the Talmud says celebrated an eight-day festival to honor God when he saw that days began getting longer after the winter solstice.

The Land of Israel Caucus will light candles on Thursday night in Beit El, where the Maccabees had their command post. On Sunday, they plan to light candles at a Hasmonean palace in Jericho.

On Monday and Tuesday they will be in Ateret and Beit Horon, the sites of Yehuda the Maccabee’s battles.

They will celebrate the final night of the holiday near the Temple Mount.

Likud MK Miri Regev intends to honor a modern-day Jewish warrior when she and other legislators light candles on Wednesday night at the tent of Gilad Schalit’s family outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence.

Several lawmakers will hold political rallies for their loyalists to dine on jelly doughnuts, including Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Likud MK Moshe Kahlon on Sunday in Or Yehuda, Likud MK Carmel Shama on Thursday night in Ramat Gan and would-be Likud MK Uzi Dayan on Thursday night in Kfar Saba.

Kadima will hold its council meeting on Thursday night at the party’s Petah Tikva headquarters and MK Yoel Hasson will host his loyalists there on Sunday night.

Dozens of MKs received a Hanukka gift from the pro-settlement grassroots group Mattot Arim, which gave them a Hanukka folder containing the words of the song “Maoz Tzur,” the candle blessings, and a message in silver letters: “Long Live Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel.”

An accompanying letter explained that just as Olmert’s term is over, so is that of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was supposed to leave office in January 2009.

“Why negotiate with a leader whose term has expired?” the message says. “Why make painful, difficult gestures to a leader whose expiry date has lapsed?”

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