Heads of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria together with IDF representatives lit the eighth and final candle of Hanukkah Tuesday night at the grave of Yehoshua Ben Nun (Joshua) - the disciple of Moshe (Moses) from the Torah - located in the village Kifl Hares just north of Ariel in Samaria.
Efraim Brigade Commander Col. Guy Berger and other senior captains from the region took part in the ceremony, together with the rabbi of the community Yakir Rabbi Aharon Kohen, Deputy Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, along with Ariel Mayor Eli Shaviro and heads of several local regional councils.
"There are soldiers here doing their mandatory duty, reserve soldiers, male and female combat soldiers," said Berger. "There is a reserve brigade here of people who left their homes, work and family in order to be here. There are representatives of the settlements, and therefore I think that the important message that comes from here this evening is our unity."
Berger added "if we all will be unified together and work shoulder to shoulder, even the largest and cruelest enemy can't defeat us. Nothing symbolizes that more than the lighting of the candles this evening in this place."
Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the vastly outnumbered Maccabees in defeating the Syrian-Greek occupiers and their Hellenistic supporters over 2,000 years ago, thereby saving Judaism from oblivion.
Commenting on the location of the lighting, Dagan said "we are in a very special place together with...soldiers who we meet during the day and sense their activities at night" by enjoying security.
"We heads of the regional councils honor and thank you," he said, addressing the soldiers. "It's very symbolic to light the eighth Hanukkah candle specifically here, at the grave of the first Hebrew Chief of Staff, Yehoshua Ben Nun. We thank you for guarding us and the entire state of Israel from here."
Ariel Mayor Shaviro said "no one can take our identity. The Greeks didn't try to destroy us, but rather to destroy our spirit. And the location this evening honors the event. These are our territories, our state, and our country."
"When we look at our struggles today, our path to deal with things is that the people of Israel knows its identity, its path," said Rabbi Kohen of Yakir. "We are in the grave of Yehoshua Ben Nun, the one who took the first step in the land of Israel. And to be here together with the brigade commander, captains and community heads is a very strong statement of the people of Israel that is returning to its internal truth."