Jewish residents of a rocket-battered city outside the Gaza Strip every day this week lit a Chanukah menorah fashioned out of hollowed Palestinian Qassam rockets that had been shot at their town.
“This is a symbol to our enemies that despite thousands of rockets fired at Sderot, our spirit has not broken. We are here to stay,” said Josh Hasten, spokesperson for Yeshiva Hesder Sderot, a Jewish school that combines Torah study with army service.
Courtesy of David Cohen, Yeshivat Hesder Sderot
Sderot, a city of almost 20,000 residents, is located less then a mile from the Gaza Strip. Over 10,000 rockets have been fired at Jewish population centers there during the course of the last eight years. The rocketing increased exponentially after Hamas seized control of Gaza following Israel’s retreat from that territory in 2005.
Since the start of Chanukah this past Friday, the Yeshiva has been lighting on the roof of its building a menorah made out of Qassam rockets obtained from a local police station that had collected the fallen projectiles. The menorah is visible from most of Sderot.
Chanukah is an eight-day holiday commemorating the rededication of the Jewish Temple at the time of the Maccabean Revolt. During the rededication, Jerusalem was under siege and there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed to fuel the Temple’s Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, however, according to tradition, the Temple’s menorah burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah.