December 29, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8442

Sec.-Gen. Of Jordan's Royal Committee For Jerusalem Affairs: Hanukkah Rituals Are A Direct Threat To Al-Aqsa

December 29, 2019
Jordan | Special Dispatch No. 8442

In a December 28, 2019 article in the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, 'Abdallah Kan'an, secretary-general of Jordan's Royal Committee for Jerusalem Affairs, [1] wrote that the festival of Hanukkah is based on traditions relating to the "false" Jewish Temple, and therefore constitutes a direct threat to the Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem. Titled "The Festival of Lights – A Zionist Colonialist Ritual, Not A Jewish Religious Festival," the article claims that Israel and right-wing organizations in it use Hanukkah to further their plans of Judaizing Jerusalem and to carry out mass raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque "in the guise of Talmudic religious rituals."

It should be noted that the article was published amid tension between Israel and Jordan, including over the Jordanian Waqf's management of the Al-Aqsa compound and Jordan's opposition to Jewish worshippers visiting the compound.[2] A month ago, Jordan's king even said that "relations with Israel are at an all-time low."[3]    

'Abdallah Kana'an (source:

The following are excerpts from Kan'an's article.[4]

"In realizing its Zionist plans in Palestine and Jerusalem, Israel's colonialist occupation policy relies on phony religious justifications and excuses designed to mislead global opinion and elicit its support. The religious rituals create an atmosphere that allows the Israeli government and the right-wing organizations that support it to carry out their systematic Judaizing programs in Jerusalem that target the entire area of the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque (144 dunams).

"The Jews are currently celebrating the Festival of Lights, or Hannukah..., commemorating the building and dedication of the false Second Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BC. The misleading Jewish tradition claims that some Jews needed olive oil to light the seven-branched candelabra, but they only had enough oil for one day. But by a miracle, they claim, this small amount lasted for the eight days required to produce more oil. The main ritual of this holiday is the lighting of the eight-branched candelabra (called hanukkiah) after sundown. On the first night of the holiday a single candle is lit while chanting certain prayers, and this is repeated each night until the end of the holiday, on which all eight candles are lit. In addition, large electric candelabras are erected in squares and public buildings.

"This Jewish festival is believed to pose the greatest danger to the Muslim and Christian holy places, for it is the only festival that is connected, according to their lies and traditions, to their false temple, and therefore it constitutes a direct threat to Al-Aqsa. Researchers know that Hanukkah is not one of the Jewish holidays mentioned in the Torah, yet it is one of the most popular [Jewish] holidays. On this holiday, organizations such as Women for the Temple, Students for Temple Mount, Leeba and the Temple Organization Headquarters call on the Zionist settlers to storm Al-Aqsa en masse, repeatedly and intensively, in the guise of carrying out Talmudic rituals there to mark the Festival of Lights. They call to place a hanukkiah in the very heart of the mosque, in addition to the one installed near the Al-Buraq Wall [i.e., the Western Wall].

"From the political point of view, the Israeli government uses this holiday to continue its systematic program of Judaizing Palestine and Jerusalem, which is based on daily attacks and crimes, and also to [realize] its ambition to elicit [supportive] positions from certain countries that are biased in its favor. Last year on this holiday, U.S. State Secretary [Mike] Pompeo and [Israeli PM Binyamin] Netanyahu met in Brussels and together attended the lighting of the second Hanukkah candle.  Netanyahu took that opportunity to thank Pompeo for his pro-Israeli positions and statements. This year Pompeo went even further [in his support for Israel] by saying that the Israeli settlements do not constitute a violation of international law. [He said this] while everyone knows that the international resolutions oppose [the settlements], including [UN] Security Council Resolution 2334, from 2016, which demanded an immediate freeze of Israeli settlement [activity]. It is [also] clear that the Jewish [Hanukkah] celebrations in the occupied Arab territories are directed against [Al-Aqsa mosque], the Muslims' first direction of prayer, and [are designed to] provoke the Muslims.

"The Royal Committee for Jerusalem Affairs, which follows the news and developments in Jerusalem, has noted the danger and the implications of these holiday rituals, which are used to continue the attacks on our people and on the Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem. [The committee] realizes that, in the scriptures, the real significance of the holidays is [promoting] peace and spreading love among peoples, in contrast to the hatred and hostility spread by Israel and the right-wing organizations. The Royal Committee for Jerusalem Affairs stresses Jordan's historic and steadfast position, which is anchored in the Hashemite custodianship of the Muslim and Christian holy places, embodied by King 'Abdullah II bin Hussein... This position [includes] a demand that the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the UN's international organizations pressure Israel to abide by the UN resolutions, for only they will guarantee peace for the coming generations."


[1] Established in 1971 by a royal decree of King Hussein, the Royal Committee for Jerusalem Affairs aims to preserve Jerusalem's Arab and Muslim identity and support its Arab residents. Its members are Jordanian officials, including the ministers of foreign affairs and religious affairs, as well as clerics from Jordan and beyond. The committee's website ( posts reports and statements on issues related to Jerusalem.

[2] Other factors contributing to the tension are the repeated calls in Jordan's parliament and media to cancel the peace accord with Israel and the natural gas deal with it; Israeli statements about plans to annex the Jordan Valley; Jordanian apprehensions about the Deal of the Century, due to fears that Jordan will become an alternative Palestinian homeland (See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1448 - Concern In Jordan About 'Deal Of The Century,' Possible Harm To Jordan's Special Status In Jerusalem – April 8, 2019);  Jordan's reclaiming of the two border enclaves leased to Israel (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8362 - Jordanian Regime, Press: Restoration Of Jordanian Rule Over Border Enclaves Leased To Israel For Past 25 Years Is A Resounding Diplomatic Victory Over Israel – November 12, 2019), and a Jordanian military exercise that simulated a battle with Israel (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8380 - Jordanian Army Conducts Maneuvers Simulating Military Battle With Israel – November 26, 2019).

[3] Al-Ghad (Jordan), November 22, 2019.

[4] Al-Ghad (Jordan), December 28, 2019.

Share this Report: