Morocco’s Ambassador to the UN, Omar Hilale, pledged to build a bridge of peace with Israel as he lit the eighth candle of Hanukkah with his Israeli counterpart, Gilad Erdan, at a special ceremony in New York on Thursday.“There is no alternative to peace. We are all the sons of Abraham – and the sons of Abraham, they always, at the end of the day, will sit together to make peace together and to build a future together for the next generation,” Hilale said at the ceremony.A deep belief in peace, he said, is the reason he stood “today to light Hanukkah candles,” which are symbols of hope.
Morocco is proud that there is such a large community of almost a million Jews of Moroccan descent in Israel, he said.Erdan said that the story of Hanukkah is one of religious freedom, where the ancient Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated when a single pot of oil miraculously lasted for eight days.“The deep connection between Morocco and the Jewish people dates back thousands of years. Renewing this relationship fulfills the dream of many Israelis of Moroccan heritage, who remain proud of their roots and have a great love for the country,” he said. “For many years, these Jews have served as a bridge between us. That bridge is now reinforced by the normalization of relations, which, I am sure, will lead to a warm and prosperous friendship: a friendship that will benefit not only Israel and Morocco but the entire region,” Erdan said.“This year, religious tolerance has brought new light into the Middle East and beyond. The new relations between Israel and four countries are based on the value of coexistence and mutual respect,” he explained.“By embracing our differences rather than viewing them as a threat, we have created new, incredible opportunities for the future,” Erdan continued.“There has been a shift in the way we see each other. The descendants of Abraham have rekindled our connection, and we are spreading hope and promise throughout the entire world,” the ambassador said.“As we light the last candle of Hanukkah, let us pray that the bright flames dispel the darkness that has crept into the world,” Erdan said.UAE Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh said, “the peace accords between the UAE and Israel was a highlight in an otherwise difficult year. We’ve seen other countries following suit, and we can only hope these agreements usher in a new era of shared vision for peace and prosperity for our region. Hanukkah is a reminder that miracles do happen.”Bahraini Ambassador Jamal al Rowaiei observed that “tonight’s event comes at a very special time. This peace accord between our nations gives us an opportunity to enhance stability, prosperity and peace in our region. As we enter this season of celebration, I would like to wish all the Jewish people in Bahrain, Israel and around the world a very happy and safe Hanukkah.”Bhutan Ambassador Doma Tshering spoke of the shared values between the two countries that can bridge any divide between them. “The royal government looks forward to strengthening the bonds of friendship between Bhutan and Israel,” she added.
1/1 לכבוד הנר האחרון אירחתי את שגריר מרוקו באו״ם, עומאר הילאל, לטקס שהיה האירוע הרשמי המשותף הראשון באו״ם עם מרוקו! הדלקנו יחד חנוכיה, ושגרירים מכל העולם, כולל מהאמירויות ובחריין, בירכו והדליקו נרות. והשיא-למדתי לברך במרוקאית שבת שלום! pic.twitter.com/hZWCslbshl
— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) December 18, 2020
US Ambassador Kelly Craft said, “Today, though we are not witnessing the miracle of one day’s lamp of oil lasting eight days, we are witnessing a transformation in lands of Abrahamic faith from the Holy Land in the Levant to the Arabian Peninsula and to Africa. The Abraham Accords have transformed 2020 into a year of peace.”