Norwich Council has reduced its public Chanukah celebration to just one night rather than the traditional eight amid security concerns, the JC has learnt.
The council appeared to have cancelled it altogether after a local Jewish community member said it had been “delaying meetings and ignoring emails” on the subject since October 7.
But after being questioned by the JC on Wednesday, the day before the festival was due to begin, a spokesperson for the council said a menorah would be placed on City Hall balcony as part of the Chanukah festivities — but for a single night rather than the full eight.
Most Saturdays, anti-Israel protests take place on the steps of Norwich City Council, where Socialist Appeal Norwich has been present, calling for “intifada until victory”.
There have been concerns about the possibility of violence if a menorah were to be displayed close to the protests and it is understood that the council had concerns about being able to protect the menorah for eight nights.
Norwich council’s deliberations come a week after London Borough of Havering U-turned on a decision not to erect a menorah this year.
The London council had said it would not be putting up the display “in light of escalating tensions from the conflict in the Middle East” but backtracked following widespread outrage.
The Norwich move also comes days after Communities Secretary, Michael Gove, said it would be “wholly wrong” for councils to cancel Chanukah celebrations over fears of “provocation”.
This year, the Norwich community had asked for a menorah to be lit on the city’s civic balcony rather than staging a large public event at street level, due to fears about tensions over the war in Gaza.
The medieval Jewish community of Norwich was falsely accused of the murder of a child called William in 1144 in a notorious blood libel.