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>JN Dec. 23, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 234
20% Growth in Chanukah Candle Sales
Approximately 170 million candles made expressly for Chanukah
will be sold this year, an increase of 20% compared to the year
before, the Israel Manufacturers Association reported, with sales
between NIS 8-10 million.
World Leaders to Light Chanukah Lights
By IINS News Service
The Government Press Office has detailed plans that include leaders
of various countries, who will light the first Chanukah candle, to
open the celebrations marking the start of Israel's 50th Jubilee
celebrations. The Foreign Ministry has succeeded in getting 33
nations to participate in the lighting ceremony.
Among the leaders are President Bill Clinton, who will light a
Chanukah candle in the Oval Office, together with pupils from a
Jewish school; British Prime Minister Tony Blair; German President
Roman; French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin; Canadian Prime Minister
Jean Cretien; Australian Prime Minister John Howard; Austrian
Chancellor Wolfgang Schiessel; Thailand Prime Minister Chuan
Leekpai; Georgia President Eduard Shvardnadze; Czech Republic
President Vaclav Havel; and Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro,
who will light the Chanukah candle under the Arch of Titus.
Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism Minister Moshe Katzav will attend
the ceremony in Rome, with the Italian President and other leaders.
The ceremony will take place Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. (EST). Katzav,
Italian Prime Minister Romano Parodi, Foreign Minister Lamberto
Dini, Deputy Prime Minister and Culture Minister Walter Voltroni,
the Mayor of Rome Francesco Ratali, the Chief Rabbi of Italy Elio
Toaff and Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Milo will speak at the
An artistic program will accompany the ceremony. Katzav will also
attend at 11:30 a.m. (EST), at the Vatican Gardens, a ceremony to
light the first Chanukah candle by Cardinal Cassidy and Vatican
Secretary of State Monsignor Jean Luis Taurin.
Other leaders who will light Chanukah candles are the presidents of
Costa Rica, Slovenia, Cyprus, Ireland, Finland, Uruguay, Ecuador,
Latvia, Moldova, Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, the Dominican Republic and
Macedonia; and the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Azerbaijan,
Kazakhstan and the Netherlands. Other dignitaries will include the
Foreign Minister of Myanmar; the president of the Chamber of
Representatives of Uruguay; the foreign minister of Romania;
the deputy chancellor of Austria; the foreign minister of Bolivia;
the foreign minister of France and the mayor of Marseilles.
Five Indicted in Maccabiah Deaths
Five Israelis faced charges Monday that their negligence
building a bridge caused the deaths of four Australian athletes at
the opening ceremonies of Israel's international "Jewish Olympics"
five months ago.
An 11-page indictment charged engineer Micha Bar-Illan, metalwork
contractors Yehoshua Ben-Ezra and Baruch Caragula, production
company director Adam Meshori, and Yoram Eyal, chairman of the
Maccabiah Games organizing committee. A hearing was expected at a
later date. Two Australians were killed and about 70 injured in the
collapse of the pedestrian bridge. Two Australians died later from
infections caused by the polluted Yarkon River water into which
Bank Employee Demands Woman's Child Wait Outside
By IINS News Service
An Ethiopian woman came to a branch of Bank Tefachot in Kiryat Gat,
together with her son last week and was shocked when a bank teller
asked the woman to leave her son outside, to prevent him from
The 23-year-old woman, who was in the bank last Thursday with her
5-year-old son, refused to comply. Only after a sharp exchange of
words did bank employees agree to deal with her.
The mother, now in tears, explained her son had a skin condition
that presented with blotches but he was not contagious in any way.
The mother explained that the bank teller asked what was wrong with
her son. She responded telling of his skin condition and assured
the teller that it was not contagious.
"He is not a dog and not an animal," she shouted refusing to comply
with the teller's request.
The bank manger intervened, demanding the teller apologize. He also
apologized in the name of the bank. The woman stated she did not
want apologies but she expected the bank to take care of what needs
to be done.
IDF Issues New Sleep Orders
By IINS News Service
Following a study into accidents that took place during military
exercises and on the road, it was learned that lack of sleep played
a big factor. A new order from the General Staff is awaiting the
signature of Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shachak,
which would require all soldiers receive a minimum of 6-hours net
sleep a day.
Until now, "sleep" time also included time allotted for showering
and other duties. Now, commanders must allocate 6-hours for sleep
only. In the case of soldiers needing to report for sentry duty
during the night, a soldier must be given a minimum of three
consecutive hours sleep, before being awakened for watch duty.
If for some reason a soldier did not receive 6-hours sleep, it must
be given the following day.
Israel Government Press Office
Chanukah (which means "dedication" in Hebrew), one of Judaism's
most popular holidays, is celebrated this year between sunset
Tuesday and sunset on Wednesday, Dec. 31.
It commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by
the Jews led by Judah Maccabee in 164 BCE - after it had been
defiled by the ruling Seleucid (Syrian Greek) Kingdom under
Antiochus IV -- and the re-establishment of the Jewish people's
religious freedom after a period of harsh repression.
The success of the popular revolt led by Judah Maccabee and his
brothers has, throughout subsequent Jewish history, up to the
present day, symbolized the Jewish people's fight for, and
achievement of, its liberty and freedom as a nation against what
appeared to be overwhelming odds.
(Chanukah is not a legal holiday in Israel; offices, shops, and
public transportation will operate as usual.)
Historical background to Chanukah
In 200 BCE, the Seleucid King, Antiochus III, conquered the country
and incorporated it into his kingdom. Neither he, nor his son and
successor, Seleucus IV, forced their Hellenistic culture on the
Jews. However, his second son, Antiochus IV, who acceded to the
throne in 175 BCE, instituted -- with the active acceptance and
support of many Jews -- a policy of forced Hellenization and
enacted harsh policies against those Jews who would not adopt
Hellenistic culture. Jews were forced to eat pork; Sabbath
observance and circumcision were made punishable by death.
In 167 BCE, the Temple was desecrated and dedicated to the Greek
god Zeus, becoming the center of an idol-worshipping cult.
In 165 BCE, a popular revolt broke out against the Seleucid
Kingdom, led by Mattathias, an elderly priest from the town of
Modi'in (east of Lod), and his five sons.
Mattathias soon died, and was succeeded by his third son, Judah,
also known as Judah Maccabee. Following a brilliant guerrilla
campaign -- as well as several victories against far larger,
regular Seleucid armies -- Judah's forces succeeded in liberating
Jerusalem in the winter of 164 BCE. The Temple was cleansed and,
on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev, rededicated.
According to rabbinic tradition, during the rededication, when
Judah's men sought to relight the menorah, or candelabra, in the
Temple, sufficient pure, undefiled olive oil was found to last for
only one day. But the small quantity of oil miraculously burned
for the eight days that it took before new oil could be pressed.
The holiday of Chanukah commemorates both the liberation of
Jerusalem and rededication of the Temple, and the miracle of the
oil. In one of the blessings recited each night, the Jewish
people praise God, "who performed miracles for our ancestors in
those days at this season."
Observance of Chanukah
The main element of the observance of Chanukah is the lighting of
the eight-branched menorah (or chanukiah) in the very late
afternoon (not before the sun has begun to set) or at night. On
the first night, one candle (or oil lamp) is lit, on the second
two, on the third three, etc., until the eighth night when all
eight candles (or oil lamps) are lit.
There is always one extra light (the "shamash") which stands apart
from the others and which is used to light them. Special
blessings are said while lighting the menorah; the lit menorah is
traditionally placed in a window or doorway where it will be
visible from outside the home, in order to publicize the miracle of
It is customary to eat foods fried in oil -- typically jelly
doughnuts or potato pancakes (latkes) -- during Chanukah. Children
are also given four-sided tops to play with.
In the Diaspora the sides bear the Hebrew letters which form the
acronym: "A great miracle happened there." In Israel, the sides
bear the Hebrew letters which form the acronym: "A great miracle
In the State of Israel, Chanukah is marked by a torch relay from
Modi'in to Jerusalem; giant menorahs are also lit in public
squares. Chanukah is marked by special prayers and scriptural
readings in the synagogue, as well as by a special addition to the
regular blessing after meals.
Preview of Catholics' Bethlehem Statement
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The Roman Catholic patriarch of Jerusalem has offered a preview of
the message he will deliver when he leads Christmas Midnight Mass
in Bethlehem Wednesday night.
Patriarch Michel Sabah issued a tough political message last year,
criticizing Israel for closing the Palestinian areas, confiscating
Palestinian property, and stifling the Palestinian economy. This
year, he still refers to political issues, but puts them in a more
traditional Christmas context.
"My Christmas message is a message of hope as our general
situation, political, economical, and social is getting worse.
Hope for all those who are tired, frustrated and worried for their
future and the future of their children."
Sabah, a Palestinian, says he hopes particularly that Israeli
leaders move toward peace and justice, that extremists on all sides
of the Middle East conflict find moderation, and for better
relations between Christians and Muslims throughout the region.
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