Tonight is the first night of Chanukah.
To all of you who celebrate the holiday, have a wonderful holiday!
90 Days Until The Election
UPDATES 7:00 pm Israel time, Tuesday, December 16 2014
*The latest test of the Arrow missile system has failed, despite claims of the IDF that it was “neither a success nor a failure”.
*IDF soldiers who came under attack in Qalandiya this morning fired back against those firing at them and throwing Molotov cocktails and “rocks.” One Palestinian terrorist was killed. Riots have continued in Qalandiya througout the day.
*Remember the Israeli man who was found in the road several weeks ago–whose death the Police refused to label “terrorism”? Three Palestinians were arrested this morning and charged with his murder.
The irony could not be more dramatic.
Tonight we light the first candle of Chanukah. In doing so, we joyously celebrate the Maccabees who waged a war against the attempt to Hellenize Jews and thereby bring about Jewish assimilation.
Today, Israeli police raided the offices and homes of LAHAVA, the Jewish organization in Israel that wages a war against Jewish assimilation. LAHAVA is a an acronym in Hebrew that stands for the Organization for the Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land.
Tonight we thankfully remember how Mattityahu and his sons revolted against the Seleucids in the reign of King Antiochus in 176 BCE– a king who had outlawed Judaism by eliminating Shabbat, prohibiting circumcision, and defiling our holy Temple by erecting within it an altar to Zeus to which pigs were sacrificed.
Today, we found out that 10 members of LAHAVA including its chairman, Bentzi Gopstein, were arrested in raids carried out last night in Jerusalem, Netivot, Petah Tikva, and Kiryat Arba–50 km from the Maccabees’ home in Modi’in. The LAHAVA 10 were arrested on charges of “suspicion of incitement”, “calls to commit racist violence”, and “terrorism”.
Tonight, we remember that the Maccabees zealously defended their Jewish faith. They were merciless with our enemies. The Chanukah story recalls how the old priest Mattityahu began the revolution: an officer of the Seleucid army built an altar in the Modi’in marketplace and ordered Mattityahu and his sons to make sacrifices at the altar. Mattityahu replied: “I, my sons, and my brothers are determined to remain loyal to the covenant which our G-d made with our ancestors.” When a Hellenized Jew attempted to make such an offering, Mattityahu took a sword and killed him. Then his sons killed the soldiers and destroyed the altar. They called on all who believed as they did to follow them into the hills.
Today, we see how LAHAVA is villified for calling on Jewish women to stop dating Arabs, Jewish employers to stop hiring Arabs, and fighting against all forms of assimilation. Because they seek to maintain Jewish identity, LAHAVA is endlessly accused of racism by the Israeli “left”.
Tonight, we remember the miracle of how when the war was won, the Maccabees cleansed the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem finding only enough oil to light one candle–but that the candle miraculously burned for eight days.
Today, we remember that in the place of Antiochus on the Temple Mount, we have the Muslim preacher Omar Abu Sarah of the Islamic Wakf, who in one of his recent sermons on the Mount declared: “The Jews are the most evil creatures of God. They are the most evil creatures ever had on the planet … We live in days when the war with the Jews is near … I say to the Jews clearly: It’s time to slaughter you. It’s time to fight you. It’s time to kill you. God willing, we are ready.”
The first candle has just been lit. The fight of the Maccabees continues.