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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hanukkah 2012 ~ Jaded Exonar Reporting From Israel ....

Hanukkah falls from the 8th of December until the 16th this year – It celebrates what the Jewish traditions tell was a miracle, but is this all we have to remember this year?

In days of old, this was the triumph of the Jewish group known as the Maccabees against the Syrian-Greek King Antiochus.  Their Temple had been destroyed, and their religion outlawed.  Upon fighting back, they regained their religious freedom, but the light that was always to stay lit in their temple had, of course, been extinguished during the conflict.  There was said to be only enough oil to fuel the flame for just one day, and would take another 8 days to obtain more.  The traditional miracle of Hanukkah?  That tiny amount of oil fed the flame in their temple for the whole 8 days, allowing the flame to burn brightly and continuously until more oil arrived.  This is why many worldwide light a candle on the menorah, for each of the eight days of Hanukkah –  In remembrance of this ancient religious event.

But as an ex-pat living in Israel, I can’t help feeling this year will be a little different.  I have felt the explosions, heard the rockets, huddled in bomb shelters, and seen the daily torment of citizens throughout the region.  With the apparent end to recent conflict in the Middle East, it is surely at the forefront of many thoughts this Hanukkah.......

November 14th 2012 – Ahmed al-Ja’abari, the head of Hamas’ military operations, was killed in one of Israel’s airstrikes against terrorists in Gaza.  Israel stated that the strikes, code named ‘Operation Pillar Of Defense’, were in retaliation for increased rocket attacks from Gaza (Most prevented from causing injury due to Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ defense system).  Egypt recalled it’s ambassador from Israel in protest.

November 15th 2012 – Netanyahu accused Hamas of ‘Committing a double war crime – They fire at Israeli civilians, and they hide behind Palestinian civilians’, adding that, ‘The group’s actions make normal life impossible for over one million Israelis’.

November 16th 2012 – Israel approved the call-up of up to 75,000 reservists in preparation for a possible ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.  Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil visited Gaza with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

November 18th 2012 – Hamas called for an end to Israel’s long blockade of Gaza and it’s raids on the territory as part of the conditions for any ceasefire.

November 19th 2012 – Diplomatic efforts were stepped up to resolve the crisis.  Ban visited Egypt for talks and plan meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, after urging both sides that, ‘this must stop’.

November 20th 2012 – U.S Secretary Of State Hilary Clinton headed to Israel, the West Bank, and Egypt, in an effort to help bring an end to the violence.

Novmber 21st 2012 – A bomb exploded on a local bus running through Tel Aviv, with at least 28 wounded.  A ceasefire was later announced in a joint news conference in Cairo, with Clinton and Egypt’s foreign minister ‘Mohamed Kamel Amr’.  The agreement took effect at 9pm local time, calling for ‘complete and total cessation of all hostile activity’ initiated in Gaza, according to an Israeli government spokesperson.

65 Palestinians and 3 Israelis have been confirmed dead during this most recent period of conflict.

I, and many others, will remember them as each flame is lit this year.    Perhaps the true miracle of Hanukkah lies in the undeniable fact that, despite the constant unrelenting unrest in the Middle East, efforts for peace still refuse to be extinguished....


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