Hanukkah menorah lighting ceremonies have been taking place at the Small Wall, or Kotel HaKatan, in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Lighting the candles earlier this week were Asheknazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and Minister of Education Gideon Saar. Saar quoted Simon son of Matityahu, the Hasmonean, stating, "We are not occupiers or conquerors... we are rightful owners of this land and we will free the land from the foreigners."
Member of Knesset Uri Ariel lit candles as well on a subsequent evening. He stated, "here at the outskirts of the Temple Mount, where the great miracle of Hanukkah took place -- with the victory over the Assyrian-Greeks and the victory of the spiritual over the material -- it is here that I am lighting the Hanukkah candles at the Kotel HaKatan." MK Ariel said he hoped more people would visit the site.
Other people to light candles at the location during Hanukkah have been Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi of the Western Wall, and students from a variety of local Jewish educational institutions including Yeshivat HaKotel, Netiv Aryeh and others.
The lighting ceremonies have been organized by the Ateret Cohanim organization. The Kotel Katan is part of the Western Wall, but located farther away from the well-known Kotel plaza. Ateret Cohanim has been raising awareness of the historic site and said they hope the event will attract even more people to the location.
Daniel Luria of the Ateret Kohanim organization stated, "Ateret Cohanim and Midreshet Kidmat Yerushalayim are at the forefront trying to restore honor to this holy site. Bar Mitzvahs and other events can be held at the Kotel HaKatan and those interested in praying or learning at the site can contact us."
The Kotel Katan is located near the Iron Gate to the Temple Mount and has been there since the time of the Second Temple. It is the continuation of the Western Wall and is just about in line with the Kadosh HaKadoshim, or Holy of Holies.
All photos: Ateret Cohanim.