As a gesture of appreciation and support to haredi soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi participated in the Netzah Yehuda Battalion’s Hanuhkah candle-lighting ceremony this week near Beit-El.

Rabbi David Fuchs, the rabbi of Netzah Yehuda Foundation and one of the original founders of the brigade, addressed the soldiers and guests at the ceremony.

“The Netzah Yehuda Battalion operates with excellence, and they are our contemporary Maccabees—combining a fighting spirit with the unique atmosphere that prevails here among us. Am Yisrael thanks you for your self-sacrifice, your devotion and determination,” he said.

In their respective speeches, the defense minister and chief of staff commended the soldiers as excelling in all realms, and expressed their gratitude and pride in those who serve, sometimes at the cost of estrangement from their families.

Gantz quoted Fuchs’s remark that Netzah Yehuda soldiers are modern-day Maccabees, and that “the combination of their strength and spirit is what empowers Am Yisrael throughout all the generations to stand strong against those who rise against us and to triumph.”

Other guests included the commander of the Northern Battalion General Yehuda Fuchs; the commander of the Judea and Samaria Region Brig. Gen. Saar Tzur; the commander of Kfir and Binyamin regions Brig. Gen. Avi Blott; vice director of the Defense Ministry Moshe Zin; Defense Ministry Department of Recruitment director Udi Dror; and chief executive officer of Netzah Yehuda Yossi Levi; in addition to bereaved family members, soldiers and commanders of the battalion.

Israeli soldiers in the Netzah Yehuda Battalion with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Rabbi David Fuchs during Hanukkah 2021. Credit: IDF/Netzah Yehuda Foundation.

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