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  • It is everybody’s duty to spread the light - Large menorah Sderot
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Large Menorah Unveiled in Sderot

18 December 2019

At least 500 people gathered in the late afternoon of Tuesday December 17, 2019 on a roundabout in a new housing estate in Sderot. A twelve-meter-high menorah was unveiled that immediately became the largest menorah in the Middle East.

Although the menorah was inaugurated on Israeli soil, the impressive construction was not entirely new to many visitors. At least 150 people came along with a journey of Christians for Israel Netherlands and many of them had seen the menorah before in the Netherlands. There it had been on display successively in Nijkerk, Urk, Maastricht, The Hague, Lelystad and Leeuwarden during public Hanukkah celebrations that Christians for Israel was allowed to organize together with the Jewish community. After having wandered around in the Netherlands for six years, the menorah now came ‘home’ in Israel.

“It is everybody’s duty to spread the light. That is why we are here.”

Sderot was chosen deliberately, a city only a few kilometres from the Gaza strip. The inhabitants suffered severely under the missile terror of Hamas. The menorah is meant as a visible sign of friendship between Dutch Christians and Israel.

Danielle Mor of the Jewish Agency started the meeting: “It is everybody’s duty to spread the light. That is why we are here.”

Mayor Alon Davidi addressing the participants | Photo credit: Christians for Israel

 

Mayor Alon Davidi from Sderot was happy to see so many friends of Israel in his city. “It is important that we are here and that we stay here, even if Hamas wants us out of the way. They try to destroy our city, but we are rebuilding it.”

Chairman Pim van der Hoff from Christians for Israel Netherlands referred to Israel as a light for the nations. “The prophet Isaiah already wrote this and the menorah is a tangible example of that.” Van der Hoff also thanked the Frisian entrepreneurs Arjen Lont and Klaas Zijlstra who assumed responsibility for the construction of the menorah six years ago. “Today, after six years of having spread the light in the Netherlands, we want to bring the light where it belongs. That is in Israel.”

Chief Rabbi Jacobs took up that remark: “Some six years ago I joked to a number of people from Christians for Israel Netherlands that if they wanted to do something really special, they ought to build the biggest menorah in the world. Apparently, they didn’t know that rabbis make jokes every now and then, because have a look behind me”, he said pointing at the menorah. It was Jacob’s seventh time he was present at the lighting of the menorah. The six previous times he had to be lifted up with a hydraulic arm, but now a touch of a button was enough to switch on the lights.

“We oust the darkness by spreading the light.”

Isaac Herzog (director of the Jewish Agency) wondered how you can lead a normal life in Sderot, when you are surrounded by so much darkness. He answered the question himself: “We oust the darkness by spreading the light.”

The menorah’s plaque

The menorah is now permanently located on a prominent place in Sderot. The unveiling took place one week before the Jewish people celebrates Hanukkah, the Feast of Lights in which a candlestand with nine branches is used.