Netanyahu compared the Chanukah story’s villains to the International Criminal Court, a modern day foe of the Jewish people that has accused the most moral army in the world of committing “war crimes.”
By Arye Green, TPS
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night drew an analogy between the ancient Greeks’ decrees against Israel and the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) announcement that it was launching a probe into alleged war crimes committed by Israel.
Netanyahu spoke together with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at a special candle-lighting ceremony marking the beginning of the festival of Hanukkah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu said that despite defeating its enemies throughout the ages, Israel must once again face anti-Semitism similar to that of the ancient Greeks who sought to harm the Jewish nation and drive Jews out of their land.
“2,200 years ago, the Maccabees fought the war of liberation for the Jewish people and the Jewish faith against the antisemitic Greeks. They wanted to extinguish our faith, to stamp on our freedom, to drive us out of this land, to say that we have no right to exist. We have fought against immeasurable odds as no people has fought in history. We crossed the abyss from extinction to survival, independence and now a thriving democracy,” Netanyahu said.
“And yet, we find ourselves now in the beginning of the 21st century, in the year 2019, where the International Criminal Court, that should know otherwise, has set forth decrees that are just as antisemitic as the decrees of the Greeks,” he charged.
“They say the Jews do not have a right to settle in the Jewish homeland. They say the Jews do not have a right to live in the land of the Jews, in the Land of Israel. Well, we say, shame on you. The light of truth lights here and we will overcome you, just as we overcame other anti-Semites in history. Pure anti-Semitism, that’s what the ICC has done, and we will not bow our heads,” concluded the Israeli premier.
Netanyahu referred to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s statement from Friday that after the conclusion of a preliminary examination she has decided to launch an investigation against Israel for alleged war crimes.
Friedman spoke after Netanyahu, sharing his understanding of Hanukkah as a festival that illuminates the world with Judeo-Christian values shared by Israel and the US.
“Hanukkah is called the festival of light. Each day we increase with an additional candle the amount of light that comes from the Hanukkiyah. It is not just symbolic, it is also the sense of really illuminating the world. We illuminate the world with the values that we have in the Jewish nation, that we have in the United States with the Judeo-Christian values that are the foundation of both our two great countries,” he said.
“Twenty-two-hundred-years-ago, just behind me, the festival of Hanukkah began when the Maccabees purified the Temple and restored those great Judeo-Christian values from those who sought to destroy the Jewish people,” he added.