Police protect Israelis from Chanukah threat on E1

Chanukah is the festival of lights. Each night we light a candle, and another and another. It is the holiday of joy in so many ways. It’s fun and easy and slips into our lives and enriches it. It also offers us a message of triumph – we defeated our enemies and the light of our tradition beat back the darkness. And so, we share this light by placing the menorah in our windows and lighting it night after night. See the miracle? Remember what we did? What God did for us? Remember we are here again in our land…

In my neighborhood, and throughout this land, you can count dozens of menorahs burning in the early evening hours. We counted 70 a few nights ago in a one block area! And thanks to the wonderful emissaries of Chabad, many of the entrances to cities and large intersections feature huge menorahs as well. From north to south, east to west – the country is alive and spreading light.

Juxtaposed with this, I’ll insert a little fact here. A few months ago, Palestinians decided to try to occupy E1, a small hill that connects Maale Adumim and Jerusalem, home to a huge police station and not much else…yet. They were there for days until the police/government decided the threat to Maale Adumim was enough to have them removed and the courts agreed. Days they were there…

Despite repeated promises by virtually every Israeli government in the last decade or two, E1 remains largely vacant as Bibi Netanyahu plays his game of cat and mouse with the US, first saying he will build, then canceling.

He needs our votes and it becomes “Me, Bibi. I build.”

The US puts pressure and suddenly it’s “Me, Bibi. Say what? Where? E1? Huh? Let me look at the map and I’ll get back to you on that.”

A few years ago, an artist decided to build a menorah of hundreds of candles that would burn for a few hours on the slopes of E1 for all of Maale Adumim residents to see and enjoy. It was lovely…and though that artist recently returned to live in the States, the tradition goes on…

Only, last night, the darkness struck back and defeated the light. At least a bit. Yesterday, Arabs threw stones at a bus; a few days ago, a two year old Jewish child was severely injured when the car in which she was riding was pelted with stones and one struck her in the head. Usually, Israeli police are busy trying to protect us from so much…they patrol the streets, they investigate, they…well, whatever police do…

Israel is a relatively low-crime country but there is still plenty calling for their attention. My husband volunteers for the local police and we were surprised to find out that a large percentage of the Israeli police force is comprised of volunteers who give of their time to patrol, to watch, and often to catch those who would violate the law and endanger Israelis. I’m so proud of him and of the police in general…well, usually.

Yesterday, apparently, the brave police of Israel took on and defeated what they considered a threat…it was, or would have been, this year’s giant menorah lit on a hill about 3 kilometers outside of Jerusalem. It was made of small candles, 450 I remember reading…it was to send a message of brightness to the people who live across the highway, to send a reminder that we are here again, in our land, to those who pass on the road below. Palestinians could remain on E1 for days; a few hundred candles couldn’t be allowed even for a few hours…how ironic, how sad.

Apparently, this wonder of light posed a threat to the security of our nation; it would shake the foundation of our society, I suppose. And so, within 30 minutes of it being lit, police quickly and bravely mounted an operation to extinguish the light from this menorah. This video is brilliant…watch the young people, the children as they diligently work to bring light to E1…and watch from the distance, as that light was extinguished…

About the Author
Paula R. Stern is CEO of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company in Israel. Her personal blog, A Soldier's Mother, has been running for more than 5 years. She lives in Maale Adumim with her husband and children, a dog, too many birds, and a desire to write her thoughts and dream of a trip to Italy, Scotland, and beyond.
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