Prime minister Meloni: “Hanukkah, the story of a people defending its identity”
Eight lights for identity and life. Eight lights against darkness. From Rome to Naples to Milan for eight days, Jewish Italy lighted up inside and outside synagogues, community spaces, squares, and homes. In Piazza Barberini, in the heart of Rome, the traditional lighting ceremony organized by the Chabad Lubavitch since 1987 took place. Also in Rome, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni attended the lighting of the second candle at the Jewish Museum as a guest of honor of the local Jewish Community.
“The story of this holiday is a story of courage and hope. It is the story of a people fighting to defend its identity, traditions, and its faith”, she said with visible commotion. These are values, she remarked, that “the Jewish people have always known, and it is the reason why its identity and traditions passed through centuries and are still alive”.
In the end, this is the ability, Meloni pointed out, “to make the Jewish people resilient, although having faced so many difficulties and atrocities, including the ignominy of the racial laws”. The Prime Minister also defined the Jewish Community as a “fundamental part of Italian identity” and “a piece of my identity”.
The ceremony was opened by the president of the Jewish Community of Rome Ruth Dureghello. “We are proudly Italian while claiming a diversity that we believe is useful for the growth of the country”, she remarked. Exploring the concept of identity which is central in Hanukkah’s celebration, Dureghello spoke of a Jewish model leaning towards “the ability to build societies in which education and schools represent the basis”. Strong appreciation was then expressed for the action of President Meloni and the government “to definitively counter the ambiguities that are still present in a part of the country regarding fascism and its responsibilities”, as well as for some positions taken in international organizations. Before the lighting of the Hanukkiah by Holocaust survivor Sami Modiano, Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni took the floor. The Jewish festival of lights, he recalled, is significantly intertwined with the history of the Roman community. The first Jews from Judea arrived in the city to plead an alliance against Antiochus Epiphanes “and thus the Jewish community of Rome was born; after twenty-two centuries it is still here and still vital”.