Candle lighting at Joshua's tomb
Candle lighting at Joshua's tombRoi Hadi

A special candle-lighting ceremony for the Hanukkah festival was held in the Arab village of Kifl Hares (Hareth) in Samaria Sunday night, at the tomb of Joshua Bin Nun.

Kifl Hares, which has been identified as the site of the Biblical town of Timnath Hares, is near the Israeli city of Ariel in central Samaria, and is located in part in Area B, under Palestinian Authority civil administration. The remainder of the village is in Area C, under full Israeli control.

Local community leaders and IDF officers visited the tomb Sunday evening and lit Hanukkah candles, in what has become an annual tradition on the sixth night of Hanukkah.

Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan took part in the candle lighting ceremony, alongside Judea and Samaria Division Commander Eran Niv, Efraim region commander Idan Katz, Rabbi Aharon Cohen, and Elkana mayor Assaf Mintzer, and Major Dadu Hacohen, among others.

“We are blessed to have commanders like you,” said Dagan at Sunday night’s ceremony. “Officers who are an example to the entire Jewish people. We civilians are proud to stand next to giants like you, who make sacrifices for the security of the State of Israel.”

Speaking with Arutz Sheva, Major Hacohen said that local army officials and community leaders had made the candle lighting ceremony on the sixth night of Hanukkah a tradition at Joshua’s tomb.

“This is a tradition we’ve been keeping for years. Every Hanukkah, we have the privilege of bringing together the army and the settlement [enterprise], and it takes place during a holiday which has clear military [overtones].”

Last month, hundreds of civilians visited Joshua’s tomb, entering Kifl Hares with an army escort. The operation was secured by combat units from the Duchifat Battalion of the Kfir Brigade.

The regional defense officer of the Efraim Brigade, Maj. Ilan Mandrich, noted, "Several times a year, the brigade enables entry to the tomb in order to allow prayers to take place there."

According to him, "Visits to the village are organized to allow orderly coordination with the brigade, for maintaining order in the area and to ensure safety of the worshipers.

[Hebrew video of the event]

נר שישי של חנוכה בקבר יהושע בן נון