Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin took part on Wednesday in a Chanukah candle lighting ceremony in Hevron. The ceremony was attended by the commander of the Judea Brigade, soldiers, community leaders, and students of the yeshivot in the city.
During his speech, Rivlin said that Hevron is the place from which the right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel began, a right which he said is the challenge of the Jewish people even today.
“The kingdom of Israel began in Hevron and on Chanukah the kingdom returned to Israel,” said Rivlin. “Our right to the land was established in Hevron and it is a moral right over which there is no question. It was our right in those days, and it is our right during this time.”
Rivlin added that “Today it is clearer than ever that if we ignore our 3,800-year-old right, it will be difficult for us to protect our 62-year-old independence. If, G-d forbid, we stop believing that we are sitting in our own land based on a moral and just right; if, G-d forbid, we think we are here only because of force or because of favors by world countries – it is doubtful that we will be able to continue to hold our land. If, G-d forbid, we are tempted to think that we overtook a foreign land and that we own foreign property – in Hevron, Ariel, Maale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Jerusalem our capital – it is doubtful that we will be able to continue maintaining our country.”
He said that “Today we are celebrating the victory of faith over doubt. We are not trespassers, we are not robbers, and Hevron is not a currency. Our enemies cannot beat us. On Chanukah we raise the banner of Jewish independence. Hevron was, and remains, an unparalleled symbol of the Jewish foothold and independence in our country. By building Hevron - Jerusalem will also be built.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Rivlin lit the first Chanukah candle in the village of Elazar in Gush Etzion in the presence of the heads of the Yesha Council. Also participating in the ceremony were the chairs of the Knesset’s Land of Israel, MKs Aryeh Eldad and Zeev Elkin. The event was held as part of a Chanukah Candle Lighting Festival, sponsored by the Yesha Council, at sites throughout the Judea and Samaria area where important events in the history of Chanukah occurred.
MK Elkin said: “The best men in the country are today living in sites and places where the Maccabees fought thousands of years ago. The Judea and Samaria region has an ancient heritage, thanks to which the people of Israel returned to their land and built the country after thousands of years of exile.”
MK Eldad called on Israel’s government to continue construction in Judea and Samaria: “The people of Israel have the right to build and develop anywhere in the land of Israel and especially in places where our ancestors lived. We call on the Prime Minister to exercise this right of building and development in Judea and Samaria and resume construction in full swing.”