Hanukkah reminds the Jewish people of their dedication to faith, and of their eternal right and connection to the land of Israel.

During 25 years of battles, 2,200 years ago (166 BCE–139 BCE), a tiny band of a few thousand Jewish Maccabees defended the land of Israel, beat back repeated onslaughts from the highly equipped, 50,000-man Syrian-Greek invading armies, and rededicated the Holy Temple in the Old City of Jerusalem (eastern Jerusalem).

In addition to Jerusalem’s Old City, most of the events commemorated today occurred in the Judean Hills and Modi’in.

In and around the town of Beit El, in Judea/Samaria, the Maccabees built their army, and maintained observation posts (which one can still see today), overlooking Israel’s plains, where the Maccabees watched for Syrian-Greek movements and impending attacks. A modern Israeli city of 90,000 Jews, Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut, is located in the same area as ancient Modi’in, halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Incredibly, the United Nations and European Union consider Beit El and parts of Modi’in to be “settlements” and “occupied territories,” and not part of Israel. (See Modi’in, 71724, Occupied Palestine,” by Judge Dan, Israellycool, Aug. 15, 2012.)

Hanukkah sends a clear message to all those who falsely call the Jewish people “illegal occupiers” of the land.

The Jewish people were there, fighting and dying to maintain our faith and sovereignty and land, for thousands of years before POL leader Yasser Arafat invented the propaganda concept of a Palestinian-Arab people in 1964, and for thousands of years before the anti-Semitic cabal at the United Nations began holding repeated anti-Israel hate fests, such as the U.N. hate fest that occurred just this past week with six resolutions against the Jewish nation.

As Jews worldwide light and bask in the glow of the Hanukkah candles, let the Maccabees’ memory strengthen and inspire us. Chag Sameach!