Chancellor Scholz expresses support for Jewish people as he lights the first candle of Hanukkah

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz demonstrated his steadfast support for Jewish people as he illuminated the first Hanukkah candle in front of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate. 

The gesture was particularly poignant as relatives of a Jewish man, abducted by Hamas during their 7 October attack on Israel, passed the light to the Chancellor for the ceremonial lighting.

Wearing a black velvet skullcap, Scholz addressed the gathering in the heart of Berlin, expressing his desire for the Hanukkah candle to radiate its significance beyond the square and endure “well beyond the eight days” of the festival.

This year’s holiday comes as many Jews feel traumatised by Hamas’ attack in which 1,200 people were murdered and more than 200 were taken hostage.

“Hanukkah stands for hope and confidence. Both are especially needed these days,” the German chancellor said. “The Hamas terror attack on Israel has shaken us all deeply.”

He emphasised that Hanukkah symbolises hope and confidence, qualities crucial in the face of recent events.

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, over 130 candles were lit at the Western Wall on Thursday to commemorate Israelis held hostage by Hamas. The ceremony included the lighting of the first Hanukkah candle.

In Tel Aviv, supporters and relatives of the Gaza hostages held a vigil on the eve of Hanukkah, walking with candles in solidarity. Earlier in the day, students in Tel Aviv gathered to mark the first day of the Festival of Lights, celebrating the triumph of light over darkness.

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