City Won’t Put Up Annual Hanukkah Menorah Due To Middle East ’Conflict‘

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Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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London’s Havering city council announced Thursday they are limiting their public annual Hanukkah menorah celebration due to the Israel-Gaza War.

“We appreciate this is a hugely sensitive issue but in light of escalating tensions from the conflict in the Middle East, installing the candelabra now will not be without risk to the Council, our partners, staff and local residents,” the Havering municipal council wrote in a statement(RELATED: DAVID REBEL: Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah: Celebrating Jewish Sovereignty, Then And Now)

The council’s statement included concerns over vandalism “or other action” against the public display, but assured residents there would “still be a temporary installation” which would be taken down immediately following the event. Their statement also noted “we believe it would be unwise to move forward with the installation” due to the ceremony “inflaming tensions within” Havering.

The Jewish community believes this statement means the menorah will only be up for one day rather than all eight days, The Havering Daily reported.

Hanukkah is an eight day Jewish holiday celebrating the Jewish revolt against the Greek Seleucid Empire and the rededication of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem back in the 2nd century BCE. The lighting of a Hanukkah menorah, a multi-branch candelabra, is part of the religious ceremony of the holiday.

Gary Mond, Chairman of the National Jewish Assembly, told The Jerusalem Post this act was tantamount to the council surrendering to the forces of intolerance.

The London Jewish Forum (LJF) noted their disapproval of the decision and demanded “an urgent meeting” between the council city and the local Jewish community for redress of grievance. “The stated reasons for cancelling the installation of the menorah in Havering appear to show a distinct lack of understanding of this and have regrettably undermined Havering’s relationship with the Jewish community,” LJF tweeted.