Chag Hanukkah Sameach! I wish you a Happy Feast of Hanukkah, my brothers and sisters, Georgian Prime Minister said in his speech at the Great Synagogue of Tbilisi, where the Head of Government lit a Hanukkah menorah.
As the Prime Minister pointed out, Georgians have a special attitude, brotherhood, love, respect, and friendship with the Jewish people, and this brotherhood builds on 26 centuries of relations and coexistence.
“Chag Hanukkah Sameach! I wish all of you a Happy Feast of Hanukkah, my brothers and sisters! I greet the Israeli Ambassador. I greet Rabbi Iakob, and the Rabbi of the Tbilisi Synagogue, Mister Merab Chanchalashvili, also the Honorable Ambassadors of the EU, the US, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, France, and Sweden, Members of Parliament, Government Members, and once again my brothers and sisters, our Jewish community! Once again, I wish you a Happy Feast of Hanukkah! We have heard many emotional words here. And I truly want to once again express my deep sorrow over the tragedy that befell our brotherly nation, our Jewish people, our Israel. November 7 was indeed a harrowing day for us, for everyone, because we experienced the pain that our brotherly nation, our Jewish people in Israel went through, which caused the killings, the deaths of 1,200 innocent people. It is a horrible, barbaric act. It is a terrorist act that we condemn unequivocally. Georgia and the Georgian people stand by Israel and the Jewish people. We Georgians have a special attitude, brotherhood, love, respect, and friendship with the Jewish people. This brotherhood builds on 26 centuries of relations and coexistence.
We, Georgians and Jews together, have carried our homeland, Georgia, through to this day. We have been through a great deal of trials and tribulations together, through pain, joy, victory, and goodness alike, and I am confident that we will go through years and centuries to emerge victorious together. The Honorable Rabbi said that, whenever he comes to Georgia, it feels like paradise. For us Georgians, Georgian believers, Israel is the Holy Land, our home away from home. When I go to Israel, I feel at home. I want to thank you for this brotherhood, for this friendship, and yes, I have said it more than once, that we are biased toward the Jewish people. We are biased because of this brotherhood, this special brotherhood of 26 centuries. Once again, I would like to wish victory to Israel and the Jewish people. This day, Hanukkah, symbolizes victory, renewal, a day of light and victory over evil. Once again, a Happy Feast Day to you! I wish you peace, victory, and prosperity. May God be your protector”, - said Irakli Garibashvili.
The national anthems of Georgia and Israel were performed at the Great Synagogue of Tbilisi. The attending audience was also addressed by Chairman of the Union of Georgian Jews Merab Chanchalashvili, Israel"s Ambassador to Georgia Hadas Meitzad, President of the ESTA World Georgian-Jewish Women Association Eva Babalashvili, Chief Rabbi of the Great Synagogue of Tbilisi Rachamin Murdukhashvili, and Chief Rabbi of the World’s Georgian Jews Iakob Gagulashvili.
Awards for special contributions to the Georgian-Jewish relations were given to Irma Kupreishvili, Lasha Shakulashvili, Ioseb Mikhelashvili, and Makvala Gonashvili.