Netanyahu lights Hanukkah candles with elite IDF troops
Netanyahu lights Hanukkah candles with elite IDF troops Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took part in a ceremony marking the first night of Hanukkah together with two elite army units Tuesday night - the Oketz canine unit and the IDF's Counter-Terrorism Unit - and took the opportunity to warn soldiers that they face an array of forces sworn to destroy the State of Israel.

"We are here at the graves of the Maccabees who (re)established the Nation of Israel," Netanyahu said at the ceremony, which was also attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.

"(But) this does not mean that there isn't darkness around us," he warned. "There is much darkness around us; extreme Islam is striking the entire world - in Canada, Australia, Pakistan and also here - or at least they try."

Referring to the major suicide bombing plot recently foiled, which would have seen a female suicide bomber disguised as a pregnant woman target Tel Aviv, the PM continued: "These events happen every day and the thwarting of them is done thanks to the men and women of the security forces. In your merit, the brave soldiers of the IDF."

Netanyahu lashed out at the Palestinian Authority, pointing to an unremitting wave of incitement by its official organs as proof of its role in the latest round of violence.

"You protect us and we protect you. For as we talk the Palestinian Authority intend to go to the international court and to accuse us of war crimes - what chutzpah!" he fired, referring to a recent statement by the PA's UN envoy in which he said the Palestinians planned to charge Israel in the ICC.

"The Palestinian Authority which praises murderous, lowlife terrorists, is coming to accuse the Israel Defense Forces - the most moral army in the world - of war crimes!" the prime minister retorted.

"You have nothing to worry about - we won't allow them, and they won't succeed in this. You will continue to protect us and we will continue to protect you," Netanyahi pledged, wishing the troops a "happy Hanukkah."

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