Office of the Press Secretary: Remarks at Lighting of the Menorah

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 13, 1998



Foyer of Beit Hannassi Jerusalem

5:16 P.M. (L)

PRESIDENT WEIZMAN: Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, I don't think thatyou will understandHebrew by now, but with your affection to our country, with your support, I think this will come, too. (Laughter.) If I may switch over to my biblical Hebrew:

Beloved audience, dear audience, dear children, give me your handdear, you sangbeautifully. I am happy to see you in our home and I hope that thisfestival of Hanukkah will be aholiday which, perhaps, will rekindle a light in the right direction tostrengthen the foundations of theState of Israel in its economy, its security, immigration, science,education and its road to peace.

The President of the United States has come to us. He has come notjust as a guest, but to help and we must appreciate this and see if it is possible to "push thecart forward" -- that, in the rest of the world, is known as being "stuck in the mud," but to us, rather is"stuck in the sand". I don't know if it's easier to get out of sand than from mud, in any case, we must free it and, I hope, I am sure that our government will make all the necessary efforts.

The subject is not easy nor simple, it's complicated and complex. And from this night ofHanukkah, which is also the eve of the 21st century in less than 13 months, we will also begin tosee a different type of life from our lives to date, despite our havingmade great achievements inthe last 50 years.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you very much, Mr. President and Mrs.Weizman. Let mesay a special word of welcome in greetings on behalf of Hillary and myselfto all the children whoare here, and my thanks to these wonderful voices we have just heard sing. And I congratulate this young man for holding the candle all that time and not burning himself.Congratulations. (Laughterand applause.)

It is our great honor, all of the American delegation here, themembers of our administrationand the members of Congress, to celebrate the first day of Hanukkah withthe President and someof Israel's finest young people. This is a joyous time of year for Jewishpeople everywhere -- herein Israel, in America, around the world -- a moment to cherish yourextraordinary past, to strive for afuture worthy of your history.

On this occasion you celebrate not simply a long week of happiness,but thousands ofyears of triumph over adversity. You thank God not only for miracles, butfor hard earnedachievement. May this Menorah bring light through wisdom and illumination; may it bring warmththrough faith and fellowship; may it kindle a divine spark of peacetouching all the peoples andplaces of the Holy Land; may it bring hope that after 50 years of building, security finally will cometo all the people of Israel. And may it bring more than hope -- may itignite in each of you the willand strength to bring these hopes to reality.

All of you in this way can serve as candles full of light. Let ourdescendants look back atIsrael at the turn of this new century and say the words that every Jewishchild knows from the letterson the dreidel -- a great miracle happened here. Happy Hanukkah.(Applause.)


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