Photo Credit: Koby Gideon, GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Palmahim Air Force Base with IDF special forces, December 12, 2023.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday visited the IDF Shaldag and 669 units at the Palmahim Air Force Base north of the Gaza Strip and took the opportunity to comment on the rapid rise in IDF casualties, which currently stand at 442 dead, including the soldiers who were killed in the October 7 massacre.

The PM reminded the elite fighters that “four of the five Hasmoneans fell at the hands of the enemy,” adding, “And you have lost good friends. We have lost soldiers here. We have lost police officers. We have lost Shin Bet personnel. They blocked the invasion with their bodies.”


The Hasmonean Revolt against the rule of the Seleucid Kingdom in the Land of Israel, and even more so against its Hellenized Jewish supporters, took place between 167 and 160 BCE. Alongside a struggle against the occupation and the decrees of King Antiochus IV, and for religious and political independence, the rebellion was a struggle for the identity of Jewish society in the Hellenistic period in Israel.

Of the five sons of Mattathias ben Johanan, the Kohen who helped spark the Maccabean Revolt, four died in battle: Elazar, Yehuda, Yonatan, and Yohanan. Only Shimon remained alive and went on to establish the Hasmonean State which lasted almost 100 years.

“We must understand the fight that we are in: we are celebrating Hanukkah; let us note that the Maccabim fought against a force that, in effect, decided to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth, and to cut our thread of life. They did not succeed. What we are marking today is the holiday that stopped the cutting of the thread of life for the Jewish people,” PM Netanyahu, who served in the special force Sayeret Matkal, told the elite soldiers.

“We are in the same war today,” he continued. “There is a force here that wants to wipe the Jews and their state off the face of the earth, and we are fighting the same war with the same heroism. This is not an exaggeration or mere words; you know that this is not exaggerated. There is a very painful price, but it is necessary if we want to live here. We decided to live here, in our homeland, in our state, and this requires a continuing battle. I would like to tell you that this battle will continue until victory. It is not going to end; these are not vain words – ‘let’s eliminate Hamas.’ There is no alternative.

“I want to tell you that the entire world is now sitting in the bleachers, watching, wanting to know who is going to win – us or them. Us or Iran’s axis of evil. By the way, they want this as a war of the axis. Rightly so. We must win and that entails additional effort and sacrifice, and we are all prepared for this. This has united the nation. We will remain united and we will win.

“I want to simply salute all of you and really express deep appreciation for what you are doing. Some of this was unfamiliar to me. It has reminded me of very creative and impressive things, and I want to go back and take a deeper look at some of the things I heard here. Continue until, and after, victory. Thank you very much.”


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