Prime Minister Theresa May has wished Jewish communities in the UK and around the world “a very happy and peaceful Chanukah”.
She said: “As we confront the horrors of growing antisemitism and the appalling hate-fuelled terrorist attacks that we have seen across Europe, so the themes of freedom and liberty at the heart of the Chanukah story remain as relevant as ever.
“For just as the Maccabees resisted oppression and kept their faith, to be rewarded by the miracle of a light that burnt for eight nights, so too must we today have the courage to stand up for our values and hold sacred our way of life.”
Ms May took the opportunity to pledge her commitment to defend the community from hatred and intolerance.
“For as long as I am prime minister I want you to know that I will stand alongside you and passionately defend your right to practice your faith, free from question or fear,” she said.
“I will do everything I can to keep you and your families safe and to fight the divisive prejudice and extremist ideology that lies at the heart of antisemitism and all forms of hatred.
“And I will celebrate proudly the extraordinary contribution that our Jewish communities make to our country, for as I have said before, Britain would simply not be Britain without its Jews.”
She concluded: “So as our Jewish communities come together for this special time, let us take confidence and pride in our values and in doing so let us draw hope from the Chanukah message that light will always overcome darkness and that joy and peace will always overcome hatred.
Also adding his good wishes for the Jewish holiday was Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, who said in a message: “Happy Chanukah to everyone who is celebrating here in London and around the world.”
Mr Khan said that the Chanukah story, celebrating freedom from religious oppression, “resonates with me. And I know it resonates with many other Londoners too – no matter what faith they practice or beliefs they hold dear.
“Because it’s the message that, regardless of the odds, it’s possible that when we work together we can ensure light triumphs over darkness.”
He added: “As I look back on what has been a huge year for me personally, I’m reminded of – and very grateful for – the warmth and best wishes extended to me by the Jewish community.”