The Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu lit the first Hanukkah candle yesterday with Border Police personnel and made the following remarks:
“2,200 years ago, a handful of Jewish fighters arose and defeated what was then a global empire. This was before the rise of Rome. The Seleucid Greek empire was then very strong and – during the reign of Antiochus IV – very cruel. Indeed, the threat was to our unity and our greatness. The Maccabees fought, first of all to restore this [spiritual] independence but they were not satisfied with only that. Part of the people wanted them to suffice with that. But they were not so inclined; they fought to restore their political independence. They understood that without political independence there was no chance of ensuring spiritual independence.
This effort, which undoubtedly ensured the future of our people, also serves as a symbol and an example to peoples in general and to the strength of a people – to strength of spirit. They dispelled the darkness – and we are fighting a great darkness today. The struggle of Israel today, as it was then, in those days at this season, is – first of all – a struggle for our existence, independence and culture but also for all humanity.”