Curfew Cancelled but Hanukkah Continues

Israel has passed what it sees as an unwelcome milestone of 3,000 coronavirus deaths since the start of pandemic. But it is worth noting that their death rate is far lower than that in many other countries.

Perhaps more troubling is the fact that the number of quarantined medical workers has doubled over seven days, reaching its highest level for two months

1,710 new cases were confirmed on Sunday, representing a positive test rate of 3.4 percent, up from recent rates of between 2.4 and 2.9 percent.

Netanyahu and Friedman light a HanukkiahLighting the Hanukkiah (photo: David Azagury/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem)

Israelis are now in the middle of the eight-day Hanukkah holiday, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu started last Thursday by lighting a Hanukkiah at the Western Wall with the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

The government wanted to impose a 5:30 pm curfew during Hanukkah and forbid Israelis from visiting each other’s homes. But a public outcry forced them to abandon that plan.

Instead, the government has now warned that if daily infections rise to 2,500 or more, it will impose a full closure on shopping centres and local businesses.

And in a prominent sign of the new relationship between the two countries, a giant Hanukkiah was lit up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Singer Yishai Lapidot performed for the audience during the candle lighting and said:

“You are witnessing Jewish history.”

Behind him, the tallest skyscraper in the world put on a dazzling light show.

The local Rabbi said that the Jewish community will celebrate with Hanukkah events all over Dubai and Abu Dhabi, to involve the wider community in the UAE.

However, the story was not so happy everywhere. In the Ukraine a local man toppled a huge Hanukkiah in the capital city of Kiev last week.

Andrey Rachkov filmed himself toppling it on the first day of the festival, apparently motivated by anti-Semitism and anti-Israel ideology.

In a video posted on social media, Rachkov claimed that was,

“how you need to handle strangers engaged in the usurpation of power, occupation of territories, genocide.”

He has been charged with hooliganism and could face a prison sentence of up to five years.

But on a lighter note, CFI UK are making a contribution to the celebreations with a series of short messages on our YouTube channel. Here is the message for today, the fourth day of the holiday.