JERUSALEM, Israel — Amichai Chikli, Israel’s Minister for Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism, told Breitbart News on Sunday that Jews around the world should place their menorah lamps proudly outside their homes this Hanukkah holiday.
“On this Chanukah, particularly, put your chanukiyah (menorah) outside. Let the world see your chanukiyah. Spread the light.”
Hanukkah (alternatively, Chanukah) celebrates the victory of Jewish rebels against the ruling Syrian Greeks, who had tried to stamp out the practice of Judaism in the second century B.C. Tradition holds that when the Jewish fighters, the Maccabees, re-entered the Holy Temple, they discovered only enough pure oil to light the menorah or candelabra for one night, but it lasted for eight nights. In commemoration of that miracle, Jews light candles on a menorah for eight nights and place it in a window.
This year, the festival begins on the evening of December 7, with the lighting of the first candle, and lasts through December 15.
In periods of persecution, it is permissible to place the menorah in the interior of the house. But Chikli said that the best reaction to the worldwide wave of antisemitism was to show pride in being Jewish, and in supporting the state of Israel, despite the hate.
“The core of Judeo-Christian values as a whole, and Judaism specifically, is the idea … [that] truth is one. We may not posses it, but truth is one. And because truth is one, there is light and there is darkness. There is good and bad.” That, he said, was at stake in the war with Hamas, which “touches the magma” of the religious conflict between the “green and red alliance” of radical Islam and Marxism on the one hand, and the free world and Judeo-Christian world, on the other.
The former was “godless,” he said, despite the pretensions of Hamas, ISIS, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Chikli pointed out that Arab countries like the United Arab Emirates had not followed that path, and that Hamas had failed to radicalize Arabs within Israel, who were actually among the victims of the October 7 attack.
But the danger was that the West — and especially the elite academic institutions that were supposed to transmit its values — had forgotten the core values of truth and enlightenment. He noted the many Ivy League institutions — Harvard, Yale, and Columbia, to name a few — that had once cited Biblical notions of light and truth in their mottos, but which had abandoned those values.
“Critical Theory, intersectionality, relative truth … brought the world to [the] collapse of moral compass of western civilization.”
Chikli, 42, is the son of a French immigrant to Israel, whose own family had fled persecution in Tunisia. He reflected on the October 7 terror attack, and told Breitbart News that he still felt safer in Israel, despite the ongoing danger of the war, and the possibility that it could expand beyond Gaza in the south to Lebanon in the north.
“I am ok with being unsafe, as long as I can hold a weapon and fight,” he said.
Around the world, he said, it was safer for Jews to join the fight against antisemitism rather than trying to hide from it.
He added: “To win, the most crucial element is to make sure we train the young generation to become proud Jews, to become proud Zionists — to believe in the core idea of Judaism, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ … And we can start in Chanukah, learning about the Maccabees, and their battles against the godless philosophy of their time.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.