Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Tuesday, 12 December 2017), at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, participated in a video conference in which they lit the first Chanukah candle together with Foreign Ministry personnel at the legations in the US (Miami), Brazil, Sweden (Stockholm),Turkey (Ankara), India (Mumbai), South Africa (Pretoria), Georgia (Tbilisi) and Ukraine (Kiev).
Prime Minister Netanyahu (translated from the Hebrew):
"First of all, a happy holiday to everyone, especially the children and – of course – the parents, our dedicated envoys around the world. Today we light the first Chanukah candle and recall the heroism of the Maccabees. We also remember, and do not forget for a moment the heroism of the modern Maccabees, the soldiers of the IDF who stand guard. Unfortunately, from time to time, some fall in the line of duty. This includes the latest casualty, Sgt. Ron Kokia, who fell just a few days ago. We also recall the heroism of security guard Asher Almaliakh for whom we are all praying and the missing soldiers that are obligated bring home, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, and also our civilians. I met with the family of Avra Mengistu and promised them that we would bring him and our boys home.
A great light emanates from the State of Israel. It is different, different from the region. It is different from very cruel enemies. It spreads the light of progress, humanity, innovation and hope. I rely on you, Foreign Ministry personnel, our ambassadors, representatives and employees around the world who spread this great light. I very much appreciate your work. Last year, I have not been in every country yet, I was in Tbilisi once but we have not gone there the second time around. We were on every continent and I appreciate and esteem the important work that you are doing. There is a very great change in the international standing of the State of Israel. Many countries understand that we are spreading light unto the nations – in our search and rescue missions and in health, agriculture, water and all the important fields, to ensure a good and safe life to millions of people around the world. Therefore, I would like to thank you for your continuing activity and I also look forward to seeing all of you if not in Israel then in your countries, even though our true country is Israel. It is the true country for all of us.
This year we are lighting Chanukah candles at a very happy event because a few days ago US President Donald Trump made an historic statement that may be put on par with the Balfour Declaration and President Truman's statement. These are etched in history; they emphasize our ties to our land and our city.
We are certainly looking forward to US Vice President Michael Pence's visit next week and we understand that, as I said in Europe, there is no substitute to US leadership in the world and the region and there is no substitute to the positive role that the US plays in leading the peace process. But above all there is no substitute to the vitality of Israel and the spirit that beats within it, the spirit of the Maccabees. I would like to bless you all in this spirit and wish you a happy Chanukah! Happy Chanukah!
There is one thing that Israeli innovation has not yet achieved and this is a national goal. I see this as a strategic goal, to make a good and tasty jelly donut that is light in calories! [English:] Haven't the Jewish people suffered enough?"
Prime Minister Netanyahu added in English:
"This is a special Chanukah celebration. It comes a few days after President Trump’s historic declaration and his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. We look forward to receiving Vice President Mike Pence here, and we also call on all other nations to recognize this historic fact of Jerusalem’s place in Jewish history and in Israel’s history and to move their embassies here. It will cut driving time from Tel Aviv too.
I would say that there is no substitute for American leadership worldwide, in the Middle East, and there is no substitute for America’s leadership in leading the peace process. That’s something that I say here and I just said in Brussels in front of over twenty foreign ministers. It is true. Chag Sameach."
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili attended the candle lighting ceremony at the embassy in Tbilisi and wished Israel a happy holiday.
The ambassadors wished everyone a happy holiday and lit the first Chanukah candle.
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