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Eight Reasons to Support a Ceasefire this Hanukkah

December 7, 2023

The story of Hanukkah is one of the Jewish people fighting against a tyrannical ruler for the freedom to practice their religion. The Jews then rededicated their holy temple and witnessed a small amount of oil – meant to light the temple’s menorah for just one night – miraculously last eight nights. 

On this holiday, as the Jewish people celebrate their rise against oppression, we find ourselves in the midst of another war that has already killed over 21,000 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis. I honor my Judaism by sharing eight reasons to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. 

Reason 1: This is a war on children.” Children have lost everything – their homes, limbs, childhoods. There are so many orphans, there has been a term coined for children in Gaza: “Wounded child, no surviving family.” Nearly half of those killed in Gaza are children. 

Reason 2: Hostages are at risk. Hamas still holds 138 Israeli hostages whose families say they have evidence that some are in immediate danger from worsening health and Israeli bombardment. 

Reason 3: Hospitals, medical workers, and wounded patients continue to be struck, and journalists have been systematically targeted and killed by Israeli forces despite their protection under international law. 

Reason 4: This war is not making Jews safer. Antisemitism is on the rise around the world.

Reason 5: This war is not making Palestinians safer. Islamophobia is on the rise, and Palestinians are being increasingly attacked even outside of Gaza.

Reason 6: Nowhere in Gaza is safe. With nearly all of the population of Gaza now made homeless by this war, people continue to be forcibly displaced as they flee bombardment of places the Israeli government had promised were safe zones. In a piece of land the size of Detroit, there is nowhere left to go. 

Reason 7: All people have a right to food, water, housing, and healthcare. Every one of these rights has been withheld from the Palestinian people during Israel’s weeks-long siege on Gaza. Nearly all households in Gaza are now food insecure.

Reason 8: This week saw the heaviest shelling in Gaza so far. Though media attention may soon diminish and public outcry may subside, the humanitarian situation has been called “hellish,” “apocalyptic,” and “catastrophic,” and has only gotten worse. 

Enough is enough. Only a ceasefire can end this horror. Join me this Hanukkah in calling for peace.

Support Palestinians in crisis

As the human rights of people in the occupied Palestinian territories continue to be abused, women and children are especially at risk. Gaza faces a dire lack of medical facilities, schools, and homes, as so many have been hit by Israeli airstrikes. ActionAid works in communities near the border with Israel that have been most directly affected by the violence. ActionAid's women-led response is supporting the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities.