Scholz is the first German chancellor to light a candle on the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah
Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed "solidarity" with Jews at the start of Hanukkah and became the first German chancellor to light a huge menorah, a nine-branched candlestick, in Berlin.
Two months after the conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out, Scholz, wearing a traditional Jewish "kippah" hat, called for the "immediate" release of all Israeli hostages kidnapped by the extreme Palestinian Islamist movement. The chancellor did this in front of a crowd gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate, in the very heart of the German capital, and marked the Jewish holiday of the victory of light over darkness. "Hamas' terrorist attack on Israel has deeply shaken all of us," Scholz said.
Then, accompanied by Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, he climbed the crane and lit the first candle with a torch. "I want this candle to shine beyond this square and much longer than just the eight days of Hanukkah," Scholz said.
Faced with a rise in anti-Jewish hate crimes in Germany since the October 7 attack by Hamas, Scholz has repeatedly stressed his country's commitment to protecting the Jewish community, eight decades after the Holocaust, the largest genocide ever.
The menorah or Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony was attended by two family members of one of the hostages held by Hamas for 60 days. It is about the German-Israeli citizen Itay Svirski.
Hanukkah is celebrated on the 25th of Kislev (mid-December), and that holiday commemorates the event of 164 BC. when, after three years of persecution and fighting, the Jerusalem temple was rededicated by the Hellenistic king Antiochus IV. Epiphanes, who banned the Jewish rites in the temple and established the worship of Zeus.
This caused a Jewish revolt led by the Maccabees, and after the death of Epiphanes, the temple was cleansed and rededicated.
The legend of the lamp is connected with this event - the only intact bottle of olive oil that bore the seal of the High Priest continued to burn in the temple for eight days, although there was only enough oil for it for one day. .
Hanukkah is an eight-day festival of lights, celebrated on the Jewish calendar from Kislev 25 to Tevet 2, and this year Hanukkah begins at sundown on Thursday, December 7 and will last until sundown on Friday, December 15.
During eight days, at dusk, believers light one candle each. The menorah is placed next to the front door or on the window.