Israeli Minister Lights Hanukkah Candles in Muslim Country

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 |  Yossi Aloni

Israeli Economic and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett was in Indonesia last week and took the opportunity to light Hanukkah candles in the world's largest Muslim nation.

Bennett was in Indonesia to attend a gathering of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was the first ever visit to Indonesia by an Israeli trade minister, and the first in over a decade by any Israeli government official.

Bennett's stay overlapped with the last night of Hanukkah, so, naturally, the religious, yarmulke-wearing minister did not hesitate to light the Hanukkah menorah, despite the fact that he was in a Muslim nation that has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

"I was very excited to light the candles in a Muslim country," said Bennett.

Bennett had already turned the heads of organizers of the WTO conference with his distinctly Jewish head covering. There was speculation that Indonesia would not provide visas to Bennett and his entourage, but the hosting nation ultimately decided in favor of welcoming the Israelis for fear of losing the conference.

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