at White House Lighting of Menorah
The White House
December 10, 2001
5:00 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Tonight, for the first time in American history, the Hanukkah
menorah will be lit at the White House residence. It's a symbol that this house
may be a temporary home for Laura and me, but it's the people's house, and it
belongs to people of all faiths.
The magnificent menorah before us was crafted over a century ago in the city
of Lvov, which was an important center of Jewish life and culture. The Jews
of Lvov fell victim to the horror of the Nazi Holocaust, but their great menorah
survived. And as God promised Abraham, the people of Israel still live.
This has been a year of much sadness in the United States, and for our friends
in Israel. America and Israel have been through much together. This year we
have grieved together. But as we watch the lighting of this second candle of
Hanukkah, we're reminded of the ancient story of Israel's courage and of the
power of faith to make the darkness bright. We can see the heroic spirit of
the Macabees lives on in Israel today, and we trust that a better day is coming,
when this Festival of Freedom will be celebrated in a world free from terror.
Laura and I wish all the people of Jewish faith in America and Israel and around
the world many joyous Hanukkahs in the years ahead.
All right, now we call on young Talia to help us light the candles. Thank you
so much for being here.
(The menorah is lit.)
THE PRESIDENT: It's nice to see everybody. Thank you for coming.
QUESTION: Sir, on this occasion of peace and celebration, can you tell us how
you were struck by this bin Laden videotape?
THE PRESIDENT: It just reminded me of what a murderer he is and how right and
just our cause is.
I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah,
or the joy of Christmas, or celebrating peace and hope. This man wants to destroy
any semblance of civilization for his own power and his own good. He's so evil
that he's willing to send young men to commit suicide while he hides in caves.
And while we celebrate peace and lightness, I fully understand in order to make
sure peace and lightness exists in the future, we must bring him to justice.
And we will.
But for those who see this tape, they'll realize that not only is he guilty
of incredible murder, he has no conscience and no soul, that he represents the
worst of civilization.