On wednesday, December 26, 2019, Minister of Education MK Rabbi Rafi Peretz spoke at the Maariv newspaper’s convention. During the convention. he touched on the joint celebration of the Hanukkaי and Christmas holidays and attacked the HanuChristmas celebrations in Preschools, secular schools, and universities.
Minister of Education MK Rabbi Rafi Peretz in his speech at the convention:
On the way here, my advisor showed me a text sent by the national supervisor for preschools. ‘This year Hanukkah and Christmas are happening together, I wish all those celebrating happy holiday of holidays. Since when do 20,000 preschools in Israel celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas together? I would understand such a message being sent to 120 Christian preschools, but it joins Christmas trees at school stands and shopping centers. Apparently there is a need to remind people what the meaning of the holiday is because in recent times I feel we are not celebrating Hannukah but HanuChristmas or the Holiday of Holidays as I learned on the way here. This phenomenon is a symptom of a wider problem. I am Minister of Education of all the children in Israel, Jews, Arabs, and Christians, and I respect them all and give them all a place but I am not willing to compromise on our identity, not willing to give up on the Jewish and Democratic. In one moment we are leveling thousands of years of Jewish culture and History. They are mixing Israel’s heritage and Christianity as if they were made together. Hanukkah and Independence day are holidays where we commemorate the return of Jewish sovereignty and the foundation of the state of Israel during the Second Temple and now. So one morning, in the Jewish state that we founded and fought for, the identity was blurred. Hanukkah suddenly bears the same weight as Christmas, and I’m not getting into the horrible things done to Jews on those holidays, because there is a matter of principle here beyond the events of the past. I can already hear critics saying: what is wrong with pluralism and multiculturalism? So my answer to them is that in order to have multiculturalism, you need to know how to preserve your culture and not turn it into folklore. Our identity needs to be clear, or we will forget where we come from and then we won’t know where to go. One of the central ideas of Hanukkah is just that: the war of the Jewish minority to keep their lifestyle vs entire nations that became Greek and changed their cultures. Those who lost their uniqueness were also erased. What safeguarded our wonderful nation for thousands of years was our unique culture. Let’s keep it in our country as well. Let’s keep it in the upcoming elections and I hope that this is the last one for the next five years”.