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WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush recognized Hanukkah on Monday while paying tribute to the nation of Israel’s 60th anniversary earlier this year.
The story of Hanukkah recalls the miraculous victory of a small band of patriots against tyranny, and the oil that burned for eight nights, Bush said in welcoming about 70 guests to the White House reception for the holiday, which begins at sundown on Dec. 21.
Hanukkah commemorates the Jews’ successful rebellion against suppression of their religion under the Syrian-Greek empire in 165 B.C. Led by the Maccabee family, the Jews drove the Greeks from Jerusalem and reclaimed the Jerusalem Temple for religious services.
Bush compared the Maccabee’s victory with the founding of the state of Israel, which he called “another miraculous victory.”
“When President Harry Truman led the world in recognizing Israel in May of 1948, many wondered whether the small nation could possibly survive,” Bush said.
In honor of this event, the reception featured the lighting of a menorah given to Truman by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. The grandsons of these two leaders, Clifton Truman Daniel and Yariv Ben-Eliezer, lit the menorah together.
After the lighting, Kol Zimra, an a cappella Jewish choir, performed a medley.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman and Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., were in attendance.
Associated Press – December 15, 2008
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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