General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Thursday took part in a candle lighting ceremony led by IDF Chief of Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi, to mark the eighth and final candle of Hanukkah.
The ceremony was led by Capt. Rabbi Joshua Gerstein, whose family has a long history of service in the United States Army, where his father and grandfather served. The rabbi's grandfather took part in World War II. Rabbi Gerstein was born in one of the bases of the US Army, made Aliyah from North Carolina in 2007, and as of July 2020 serves as Rabbi of the haredi Netzah Yehuda Battalion.
A special guest at the ceremony was a member of the multinational observer forces who survived the helicopter accident in Egypt last month. Also taking part were fighters from Unit 669, the Tactical Unit for Special Rescue of the Israel Air Force, who took part the IDF efforts to assist in evacuating the American soldier for medical treatment in a hospital in Israel.
During the candle lighting ceremony, the Chief of Staff expressed his appreciation and gratitude to General Milley and the cooperation of the US Army with the IDF.
"I am happy for the opportunity to host General Milley for the third time in the IDF and thank him for a significant visit to Israel and a courageous relationship that lasts all year long," said Kochavi. "The close connection between the IDF and the US Army is of paramount importance at the strategic level and is reflected in operational and technological cooperation that strengthens the IDF's power in the Middle East every day.”
"The period of Hanukkah is an opportunity for us to honor the operational activities of IDF soldiers with an emphasis on the value of heroism. I send great appreciation and wish Chag Sameach to the IDF soldiers and the security forces who are carrying out their duties also at this hour throughout the State of Israel," added Chief of Staff Kochavi.
General Milley said, "I am proud to be here with our great friend and ally - and with the modern Maccabees of the State of Israel. I am especially proud of the opportunity to be here on the final night of Hanukkah, when the candles of the menorah are lit at full strength, as befits a people and a country that has spread so much light around the world. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Festival of Lights."