By Ezra HaLevi,

The Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi lit the third candle of Hanukkah with soldiers and officers who recently came on Aliyah (literally, ascent – used to describe Jewish immigration to Israel) from various countries across the globe.


Most of the soldiers came to Israel by themselves, without their families.

The Chief of Staff related his memories as a young officer taking part in secret operations assisting the Aliyah of the Jews of Ethiopia and told them how he felt then as a Jewish and Israeli officer. He also told them that the heroism of today’s IDF fighters is no less than that of the Macabbees.

The Maccabees, the heroes of the Hanukkah festival, stood up to Hellenist cultural pressures and to Jewish assimilationists allied with the Greeks, fomenting and winning a civil war. They returned and rededicated the desecrated Holy Temple, and the small amount of spiritually-untainted oil for the menora (candelabrum) lasted eight days – a sign of Divine approval and the return of miracles to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Pictured on the left in a red beret is IDF Chief Rabbi Avi Ronsky, a resident of the Shomron town of Itamar. Right of him is Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

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