UK's Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, hosted the annual Hanukkah reception at No. 10 Downing Street in London, where he lit the central candle of the menorah with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and welcomed members of the Jewish community.
Sunak shared on Wednesday that "as a proud Hindu, I’ve often been struck by the similarity between Hanukkah and Diwali, though with latkes instead of laddus, dreidels instead of diva lamps."
Diwali is known as the Festival of Lights and is an important religious celebration within Hinduism. As Hanukkah, it also lasts a few days, between five to six days, depending on the region.
Sunak explained that both of these holidays "are festivals of light celebrating the triumph of good over evil."
The British Prime Minister shared that he acknowledged the fact that "recent years have been particularly challenging for the UK’s Jewish community. We’ve seen, as we’ve heard, a resurgence of antisemitism. But we will eradicate that hateful scourge, together," he said.
Sunak reassured that he "will always stand with this community, whose threads are woven deep into the fabric of our country."
He also mentioned the first Jewish prime minister in the UK.
"I may be the UK’s first Asian Prime Minister, but we had our first Jewish Prime Minister 150 years ago," he said of Benjamin Disraeli, who served as prime minister twice; in 1868 and 1897." Sunak added: "that is the Britain that I love. One which embraces all people, where you can practice your faith free from fear and where we tackle antisemitism in all its forms and where we celebrate the incredible contribution made by members of the Jewish Community to our national life."
Next year in Jerusalem
Sunak also said that he was looking forward to Israel's 75th Independence Day in just a few months. "I look forward to next year, when we will come together to mark the 75th anniversary of Israel’s independence. I can’t wait to get over to Israel myself to join the celebrations."
Sunak ended his speech with a message of hope: "So in the spirit of Hanukkah, let’s look ahead to 2023 with confidence, that light will always overcome darkness and that joy and hope will always prevail."