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Scottish Gaza solidarity

Hanukkah Candlelit Vigil

The Jewish Fast for Gaza is an ad hoc group of rabbis, Jews and people of conscience world-wide who have committed to undertake a monthly daytime fast to call for the lifting of the blockade on Gaza.

We also call for humanitarian and developmental aid for the people of Gaza and for Israel, the US and the international community to engage in negotiations without pre-conditions with all relevant Palestinian parties, including Hamas, for an end to the blockade. It is an action with both political and spiritual elements, a particularly Jewish character and open to everyone to participate. For the second fast, Scottish Jews for a Just Peace (SJJP) organised a small event in Glasgow which involved leafleting about the Fast and SJJP, and received a very positive response. The most recent Fast date, December 17th, took place during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which is an eight day festival celebrating liberation from occupation and oppression. During it small candles are lit nightly, increasing to eight (plus one to light them from) on the last day. Since Jews don’t fast during Hanukkah, rather than fasting, the day became one of study, reflection and action on Gaza.


With the symbolism of lights round Hanukkah, a candle-lit vigil seemed the obvious action to take. Since this date was also within the period of the climate negotiations in Copenhagen, SJJF chose to focus on environmental devastation in Gaza and, in particular, the problems associated with the destruction of the water and sanitation infrastructure and the lack of clean water. We asked people to write to their MPs, MSPs and MEPs to put pressure on the Israeli government to allow a number of water and sanitation (repair) projects to go ahead and the necessary materials and equipment to be allowed into Gaza. Unfortunately there was less reaction to our leaflets than the previous time.

Passers-by were either too frantically consuming, with little awareness of the ongoing climate talks and the need to take action to reduce global warming, or too cold to take their hands out of their pockets. It was also much too windy for candles. However, we had a very visible presence in the centre of Glasgow and left up our placards, calling for clean water and sanitation and justice for Gaza, as well as an end to the blockade and an end to environmental crisis in Gaza, to continue raising awareness after the vigil ended.

For more information about Scottish Jews for a Just Peace or the Jewish Fast for Gaza please contact info@sjjp.org.uk.

Marion Hersh is active with Scottish Jews for a Just Peace.