News Analysis: Menorah of Mortars Marks First Night of Hanukkah

Tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah, the festival of lights commemorating the liberation of the land of Israel from the yoke of Hellenistic domination.

Scott Shiloh , | updated: 18:10

Gush Katif refugees, many of whom are still dwelling in hotels awaiting permanent housing, lit a unique menorah tonight, one made of mortar shells fired by Arab terrorists into the heart of N’vei Dekalim, the largest community of Gush Katif.

That special menorah commemorates the miracle of Jewish survival throughout the ages, and reminds us of the symbolic role Gush Katif has played in the saga of Jewish history: a community standing victorious despite constant attempts by Arab terrorists to wipe it out.

5000 mortars rained down on Gush Katif, from the onset of the Oslo War in September 2000, to August 2005. Miraculously, they succeeded in causing only minor damage and minimal casualties. Not only did they fail to harm the community physically, they failed to impact the Jewish spirit burning in the hearts of its residents. They call the menorah of mortars the “al hanissim,” menorah of miracles.

While those communities have since been uprooted, not by Arab terrorists, but by the policies of the Israeli government, the menorah of mortars testifies to a spirit that eternally renews itself, and one that becomes stronger in the face adversity.

Last year at this time, Hanukkah menorahs were lit in the homes of Jews living in the towns of Dugit and Elei Sinai, located in the northern parts of the Gaza district.

Now Arab terrorists are firing Kassam rockets from those places onto Israeli cities, towns, and IDF bases from Ashkelon to Sderot.

The light and spirit of Gush Katif may look a bit dim from today’s vantage point. But if Jewish history is a guide, it is only a matter of time before all of Israel looks toward that light in much in the same way as Jews around the world tonight light the menorah and participate in the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks.

Both represent victories of spirit over those who wished to extinguish the light of Israel.