Thousands of people attended the lighting of the Hanukkah candles on this, the third night of Hanukkah at the Kotel (Western Wall) Plaza. The festive event for the third night of the festival was designed to highlight unity between all Jews not only in Israel but all around the world, with a special focus on the tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors who are a living testimony to the eternal nature of the Jewish People.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke on the occasion, saying, "In this holy place, and especially in the presence of Holocaust survivors whose victory is not only one of might but also of spirit, we must remember the spiritual and moral strengths they embody in equal measure.
"If we have only a spiritual shield with no ability to defend ourselves, we have achieved nothing," Gantz continued. "And if we do have the ability to defend ourselves, but lack morality and faith, we will lose our way. That is why only a combination of might and spirit, strength on the one hand and unity on the other, will equip the Jewish People with everything we need for years to come."
As Gantz left the Plaza, a lone voice shouted after him. He was accompanied by Rabbi Yitzhak David Grossman, the rabbi of Migdal Ha'emek, who escorted him to his vehicle.
Also speaking at the event was the Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz. "From here on this third night of Hanukkah we deliver a message of unity for all the Jewish People. The Western Wall is the home of every Jew both in Israel and abroad. There's no other place that so exemplifies the great price paid for baseless hatred and civil war.
"Every single Jew has a connection to this holy place and how much more so is this true of our public servants, and I take advantage of this occasion to express my gratitude to the Defense Minister and the Culture Minister for everything they do for the country; and to the multitudes of IDF soldiers who visit the Western Wall throughout the year and who make a huge contribution to the security of the nation."
Also attending the event alongside the Ministers of Defense and Culture were the head of the Jewish Agency, Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, the chairman of the World Zionist Organization Yaakov Hagoel, the director of the Western Wall Heritage Fund Solly Eliav, and other officials. Some hundred Holocaust survivors were also present, their transportation having been arranged by the Claims Committee and other organizations. Among the thousands of others present were Jews from at least 15 diferent countries.