(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
President Reuven Rivlin lit the first candle of the Menorah

“I look at you and see modern-day Hasmoneans – soldiers, warriors, righteous men who learn Torah,” Rivlin told the IDF soldiers.

By: United with Israel Staff

President Reuven Rivlin lit the first candle of Chanukah on Sunday night with Ultra-Orthodox soldiers serving in the Givati Brigade, the Paratroops Brigade and the Kfir Brigade.

The Chanukah holiday commenced Sunday night and will last for eight days.

Some 7,400 Ultra-Orthodox soldiers serve as officers and soldiers in the IDF. There has been an increase of 10.5 times in the number of Ultra-Orthodox enlistees in recent years, with the soldiers serving in units which ensure a proper environment and the provision of their special requirements.

“I look at you and see modern-day Hasmoneans – soldiers, warriors, righteous men who learn Torah. This is really a Chanukah miracle,” said the president, using another name for the Maccabees.

“I am also impressed by the diversity I see here – Hassidim, Lithuanians and Sephardim [various sects within the Ultra-Orthodox world]. You represent all the strands of the Ultra-Orthodox community,” he added.

‘A Bridge of Unity’

He further expressed his “deep appreciation” for their “contribution to the security of the state of Israel.”

“Your contribution is wide-ranging. You are a bridge of unity. You are breaking a new path,” he praised them. The soldiers in these units are considered highly motivated and high-performing troops.

In conclusion, the president told the soldiers, “you are an inspiration and prove to us all that we can find the balance between protecting the country and protecting what is most important to us. Each one of you has his own values and his own way of life. I remember when I was in military service, there were several Ultra-Orthodox soldiers with me. We did not change our way of life and we did not try to change our comrades’ way of life. We were all brothers in arms.”

Rivlin lit the second candle of Chanukah on Monday with 50 Holocaust survivors from around the country.

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