Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife participated in video conference at the Foreign Ministry Tuesday evening and lit the first Hanukkah candle with representatives of the Foreign Ministry around the world.

Israeli delegations from the cities of Miami, Brazil, Stockholm, Ankara, Mumbai, Pretoria, Tbilisi and Kiev participated in the ceremony, which commemorated the first night of Hanukkah, Festival of Lights.

The Prime Minister said at the event; "First of all, I would like to wish a happy holiday to all of you, first and foremost to the children and of course to our dedicated emissaries around the world. Today we light the first candle of Hanukkah and remember the heroism of the Maccabees, and we also remember and cannot forget the modern Maccabees, the IDF soldiers who stand on guard for us.

"Unfortunately, sometimes they sacrifice their lives for us. [We must remember] the most recent [soldier who fell] was Ron Kokia, who was killed a few days ago, and the heroism of the security guard, Asher Elmaliach, whom we all pray has a speedy recovery. [And we cannot forget] our missing soldiers, whom we are obligated to bring back to Israel, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, I met with the family of Avraham Mengitsu, and assured them that we will bring their son back home."

"A great light emanates from the State of Israel. It is different ... It is different from our cruel enemies. It spreads a light of progress and humanity, innovation and hope. I trust you, our Foreign Ministry employees, ambassadors, representatives and employees throughout the world to spread this great light."

The Prime Minister said that this Hanukkah was especially joyous because of US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last week.

"This year we are lighting a Hanukkah candle in the midst of a very joyous occasion, because a few days ago US President Donald Trump made a historic statement that could be put in sequence with the line leading from the Balfour Declaration to the Truman Declaration and of course, now to the Trump Declaration. These are words that will be etched in history. They emphasize our connection to our land and our city.

"We look forward to the visit of Vice President Mike Pence next week and we understand that, as I said in Europe, there is no substitute for US leadership in the world and in the region, and there is no substitute for the vital role that the US plays in leading the peace process. But above all there is no substitute for the vitality of Israel, the spirit that beats within us, the spirit of the Maccabees. I want to bless you all in this spirit and wish you a happy Hanukkah! Happy holiday!"

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