(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.
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.
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
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
“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?”