Women light Chanukah candles at Western Wall
About 100 women gathered at the Western Wall to light Chanukah candles.
Security guards permitted 20 women to enter with their menorahs but then attempted to ban and confiscate a large communal one being brought in by the Women of the Wall organization.
Knesset member Ksenia Svetlova of the Zionist Union Party used her parliamentary immunity to bring the communal menorah in to the site on Sunday night, the first night of Chanukah, the Women of the Wall said in a statement.
“Despite Rabbi Rabinowitz’s ridiculous regulations and despite the police’s shameful attempts to keep us out, we entered and held a candle-lighting ceremony, where women were full participants,” Svetlova said in the statement, referring to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, administrator of the Western Wall and Holy Places. “The Western Wall belongs to the entire Jewish people, women and men alike, and the time has come for real equality — at the Kotel, in the Rabbinate and beyond.”
Last week, the Attorney General’s Office in Israel ordered Rabinowitz to include women in the annual national candle-lighting ceremony for Chanukah in response to a campaign by Women of the Wall claiming that the state-sponsored exclusion of women from the Western Wall ceremony is discrimination and thus violates government regulations.
The national candle-lighting ceremony was held Sunday night in the men’s section of the Western Wall plaza, where the first candle was lit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A second ceremony was set to be held in an area farther away from the Wall with several female government officials, including Knesset members Gila Gamliel and Miri Regev, despite Women of the Wall’s plea for woman lawmakers not to attend.
Women of the Wall in a statement called it a “second-class Chanukah candle-lighting ceremony.”
Obama in Chanukah greeting says ‘miracles happen in darkest hours’
President Barack Obama in Chanukah greetings said the lesson of the holiday was “on the miracles that can happen even in our darkest hours.”
“It renews our commitment as Americans — as people who live by faith and conscience — to lead the way and act as unyielding advocates for the fundamental dignity of every human being,” Obama said in a statement released Sunday by the White House on the eve of the holiday.
“During these eight days, let us be inspired by the light that can overcome darkness. As we recall the Maccabees’ struggle to free a people from oppression, let us rededicate ourselves to being the engine of the miracles we seek.”
Montana man gets 20 years in shooting over clam-juice beer
A Jewish Montana man has been sentenced to 20 years in state prison after being convicted of shooting a bartender and killing his dog in retaliation for being served a non-kosher drink.
Monte Hanson, 60, pleaded guilty in September to shooting 29-year-old Joseph Lewis and his dog on May 9. District Judge James Haynes sentenced Hanson on Dec. 3 to 30 years in Montana State Prison with 10 suspended, NBC Montana reported. He will also serve one year for animal cruelty, which will run concurrently with his other sentence.
According to court documents, Hanson, who was Lewis’ neighbor, waited for the bartender to return home from his shift, then shot him several times. The shots hit Lewis in the ribs and killed his dog, whom he was carrying. Court documents said that Hanson was extremely intoxicated.
Hanson told police, who arrested him minutes after the shooting, he had become angry when he discovered that Lewis had served him “red beer” with Clamato, a beverage containing clam broth, something he said was against his religion. Hanson had expected plain tomato juice in his drink.
1 in 3 U.S. Dems disapprove of Netanyahu, poll finds
American Democratic voters increasingly disapprove of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a poll found. The poll published last Friday by the Brookings Institution showed disapproval ratings for the Israeli prime minister among Democratic voters rising to 34 percent from 22 percent since last year. His favorable ratings dropped to 18 percent from 25 percent, while the “neither favorable nor unfavorable” column remained the largest, 35 percent this year and 38 percent last year.
Among Republicans, Netanyahu’s favorability ratings did not budge – 51 percent this year as opposed to 49 percent last year, within the poll’s 3.3 percentage point margin of error.
Unfavorables among GOP voters were 13 percent this year and 9 percent last year, and the “neither” column was 26 percent this year and 30 percent last year.
Netanyahu clashed openly with President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress over the last year on the Iran nuclear deal. He accepted an invitation from the Republican congressional leadership to address Congress without the knowledge of the president and Democratic leaders. In that March speech, he strongly opposed Obama’s Iran policy.
The survey of 875 adults was taken in early November.