update deskIsrael at War

Menorah from Gaza border kibbutz sent to President Biden

Former Knesset member Shai Hermesh survived the assault after a 20-hour ordeal, but his son Omer was murdered.

Shai Hermesh's menorah survived the destruction of Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Photo: Courtesy.
Shai Hermesh's menorah survived the destruction of Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Photo: Courtesy.

A menorah from a home in a kibbutz that Hamas attacked during the Oct. 7 massacre was sent to U.S. President Joe Biden by Israeli President Isaac Herzog as a token of the deep friendship between the two countries.

The chanukiah belonged to the Hermesh family from Kibbutz Kfar Aza whose home was commandeered and destroyed by Hamas terrorists.

The home’s owner, Shai Hermesh, a former member of Knesset, survived the assault with some family members after a 20-hour ordeal, but his son Omer, who also lived in the agricultural community, was murdered.

Shai Hermesh and his tefillin at the ruins of his home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Photo: Courtesy.

A few days after the massacre, Hermesh returned to his ruined home to look for objects that may have survived the terrorist attack. His tefillin (phylacteries) and menorah were among the only items left unscathed.

Upon hearing the moving story, Herzog sent the menorah to Biden to mark Chanukah, the Jewish festival of light.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, lit the first Chanukah candle on Thursday evening at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

“We are here by the remnant of our Temple from 2,000 years ago. The Maccabees of that time liberated the Temple, purified it, re-established Jewish sovereignty and independence, and saved the heritage, religion and people of Israel. Without them, the thread of our lives would been torn and we would not be standing here today,” said Netanyahu.

“The battle then was against the forces of evil who came to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the Earth. Today we—the Maccabees of our times—are fighting the forces of evil that have come to wipe the Jewish people and its state off the face of the Earth. We are showing the same determination, heroism and sacrifice,” he said.

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