Members of the Garin Torani - the Religious Zionist yeshiva community - in Lod have begun spreading “Hanukkah joy” among members of the beleaguered Jewish community.
Many Jewish residents have complained of harassment, vandalism, and worse at the hands of the local Arab residents, and in order to provide encouragement to local Jews, Garin Torani community members are holding numerous public events and celebrations.
This week, they have been lighting Hanukkah menorahs in public, hosting a public celebration with music and dancing, and distributing Hanukkah donuts (sufganiyot), candles, dreidels (Hanukkah toys), and other treats.
According to MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home), the Garin Torani's mission is “very Zionistic and very complicated.”
Yogev, who joined with members of the community Tuesday night to celebrate he first night of Hanukkah with Lod residents, praised the group for its efforts on behalf of residents, on Hanukkah and year-round.
In a recent incident, at least 10 cars were vandalized in the Ramat Elyashiv neighborhood, home to several Orthodox Jewish families, who have been part of an ongoing effort to turn the struggling city into a success. The neighborhood is located next to an Arab section.
"We see that these incidents are getting worse, and hope the police will do everything to catch the rioters and bring them to justice," a representative from the community told Arutz Sheva. "We call on the police and the municipality to continue to work for the personal safety of all residents of the city."
Noam Dreyfus, who manages several of the community's schools, said that it was “amazing to see how a little light can chase away a great deal of darkness. Thank God more and more families are gradually joining us, together with the natural growth of families, and the large number of religious students from outside the city who come to study in Lod's pre-military academy and other educational institutions.”