It is altogether fitting and proper that New York State's Governor George Pataki, New York City's Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Mayor-Elect Michael Bloomberg chose Chanuka for their solidarity visit to Israel. Chanuka symbolizes Divine deliverance and the triumph of good over evil, themes that have particular resonance now that both the United States and Israel are waging war against terrorism. Indeed, the presence of these three politicians in Israel at this time sharply underscores the parallel challenges presented by the events of September 11 and the more than year-long Intifada. Coming as well, in the context of President Bush's no-nonsense support for Israel's anti-terrorist efforts, it is an indication that American appreciation of Israel's plight is not only broad, but deep as well.
In an interview with The Jewish Press this past Monday with Governor Pataki in Jerusalem, the Governor spoke glowingly of the sense of mission and commitment he observed amongst among the people of Israel he met. He went on to say that the United States and Israel are fellow targets of terrorists who are intent on destroying our shared way of life.
He noted that he was humbled by his tour of the Kotel tunnel and the various holy sites and the thousands of years of history that literally leapt out at him. He said it reminded him that the world owes Israel a debt of gratitude for the great care it took in ensuring the rights of all religions.