Rishi Sunak pledges to stand with British Jews during Chanukah

The Prime Minister said he wanted to ‘celebrate the enduring strength of Jewish communities’


Rishi Sunak has wished British Jews a happy Chanukah.

Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, runs from December 7 to 15 this year.

In a message shared ahead of the Jewish festival starting on Thursday evening, Sunak pledged to stand with British Jews amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The Prime Minister told the JC: “As we welcome the beginning of Chanukah, it’s important to recognise the challenging times being faced by our Jewish friends everywhere.

“For many families, the tragedy of recent events will hang heavily on celebrations, but the resilience you have shown is humbling.”

Sunak added: “As we commemorate the recovery of Jerusalem all those centuries ago, I want to celebrate the enduring strength of Jewish communities.

“I will be lighting the menorah with you as you mark this important festival and want you to be in no doubt that I will always stand with you.”

Meanwhile, Michael Gove said local councils should not cancel plans to mark Chanukah or other religious celebrations over fears they could be "provocative".

The Communities Secretary said it was "wholly wrong" for local authorities to suggest celebration of religious festivals could be provocative, as the conflict between Hamas and Israel continues.

Havering Borough Council in east London had planned not to light Hanukkah candles from December 7 over concerns they could be vandalised and the Israel-Hamas war. It later backtracked on the decision.

Speaking in the Commons, Gove said: "It seems to me that it was based on a misconception, which is that the idea of the celebration of any faith should be seen as provocative at this time.

"We know that it is the case that there are individual Jewish citizens who feel uncomfortable wearing the kippah or any outward symbol of faith, and to have a London borough saying that the menorah should not be lit because it would be provocative at this time is wholly wrong.

"Freedom of religion, the chance for us all to express our faith, is fundamental to British values. Other local authorities should not go down that same route."

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