Sunak first announced his intention to visit the Jewish state on Yom Ha’Atzmaut during an address he gave last week at a Conservative Friends of Israel event.
By World Israel News Staff
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hosted a Chanukah reception Wednesday at 10 Downing Street, where he not only expressed fondness for the British Jewish community, but also said that he “can’t wait to celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary, in Israel,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
“I look forward to next year, when we will come together to mark the 75th anniversary of Israel’s independence. I can’t wait to get over to Israel myself to join the celebrations,” he said.
Sunak first announced his intention to visit the Jewish state on Yom Ha’Atzmaut – Independence Day – during an address he gave last week at a Conservative Friends of Israel event.
“Next year I will visit Israel on what will be its 75th birthday and landmark year after so many years of struggle — and also success,” Sunak told his audience, according to the UK Jewish News.
“I will fight very hard for the security of the Jewish state,” he stated.
At the Chanukah reception, on the fourth night of the eight-day festival, the prime minister lit the central candle of the menorah together with UK Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis.
“As a proud Hindu, I’ve often been struck by the similarity between Chanukah and Diwali, though with latkes instead of laddus, dreidels instead of diva lamps,” Sunak said, according to the Post.
Another name for Chanukah is Chag Urim, meaning Festival of Lights. Hindus celebrate their own Festival of Lights, or Diwali, which lasts for five or six days, depending on the location.
“Both holidays are festivals of lights, celebrating the triumph of good over evil,” Sunak said.
“Recent years have been particularly challenging for the UK’s Jewish community. We’ve seen, as we’ve heard, a resurgence of antisemitism. But we will eradicate that hateful scourge, together.”
“I may be the UK’s first Asian Prime Minister, but we had our first Jewish prime minister 150 years ago,” he said, referring to Benjamin Disraeli.
“That is the Britain that I love. One which embraces all people, where you can practice your faith free from fear and where we tackle antisemitism in all its forms and where we celebrate the incredible contribution made by members of the Jewish community to our national life.”
He concluded with optimism, saying that “in the spirit of Chanukah, let’s look ahead to 2023 with confidence, that light will always overcome darkness and that joy and hope will always prevail.”
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