Yesterday, apparently, the brave police of Israel took on and defeated what they considered a threat… It was, or would have been, this year’s giant menorah lit on a hill about 3 kilometers outside of Jerusalem. It was made of small candles, 450, I remember reading… It was to send a message of brightness to the people who live across the highway, to send a reminder that we are here again, in our land, to those who pass on the road below. Palestinian squatters could remain on E1 for days a few months ago; but a few hundred candles couldn’t be allowed even for a few hours… How ironic, how sad.
Chanukah is the festival of lights, a message of triumph that shouts out that we defeated our enemies enabling the light of our tradition to beat back the darkness. We share this light by placing the menorah in our windows and lighting it night after night. See the miracle? Remember what we did? What God did for us? Remember we are here again in our land…
In my neighborhood, and throughout this land, you can count dozens of menorahs burning in the early evening hours. We counted 70 a few nights ago in a one block area! And thanks to the wonderful emissaries of Chabad, many of the entrances to cities and large intersections feature huge menorahs as well. From north to south, east to west – the country is alive and spreading light.
A few months ago, Palestinians decided to try to occupy E1, a small hill that connects Maale Adumim and Jerusalem, home to a huge police station and not much else…yet. The Palestinian protesters were there for days until the police/government decided the threat to Maale Adumim was enough to have them removed and the courts agreed. Days they were there…while hundreds of Israeli border guards, police, whatever, patrolled, watched, waited.
Despite repeated promises by virtually every Israeli government in the last decade or two, E1 remains largely vacant as Bibi Netanyahu plays his game of cat and mouse with the US, first saying he will build, then canceling.
He needs our votes and it becomes “Me, Bibi. I build.”
The US puts pressure and suddenly it’s “Me, Bibi. Say what? Where? E1? Huh? Let me look at the map and I’ll get back to you on that.”
Several years ago, an artist decided to build a menorah using hundreds of candles on the slopes of E1 for all of Maale Adumim residents to see and enjoy. It was lovely…and though that artist recently returned to live in the States, the tradition goes on…
Only, last night, the darkness struck back and defeated the light. At least a bit. Yesterday, Arabs threw stones at a bus; a few days ago, a two year old Jewish child was severely injured when the car in which she was riding was pelted with stones and one struck her in the head. Usually, Israeli police are busy trying to protect us from so much…they patrol the streets, they investigate, they…well, whatever police do…
Israel is a relatively low-crime country but there is still plenty calling for their attention. My husband volunteers for the local police and we were surprised to find out that a large percentage of the Israeli police force is comprised of volunteers who give of their time to patrol, to watch, and often to catch those who would violate the law and endanger Israelis. I’m so proud of him and of the police in general…well, usually.