A 10-meter-high menorah was erected in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Wednesday to celebrate Hanukkah and serve as a symbol of Judaism in Germany.

“The message is loud and clear, that we will all stand up together for more love and more light and more tolerance, and together we will ensure and guarantee a positive Jewish continuity in Germany and around the world,” said Rabbi of Berlin, Yehuda Teichtal.

The feast of Chanukah or Hanukkah celebrates the recovery of Jerusalem by the Jews and the subsequent rededication of the Second Temple.

During the celebration, one candle from the eight-candle candelabra is lit for each day for a week. The first light of the giant menorah in Berlin will be turned on next Saturday (December 9), where ministers of the government and Chancellor Olaf Scholz are expected to take part in the ceremony.

‘The chancellor, Olaf Scholz is a supporter of Jewish life and he has made it very clear that there’s no tolerance for intolerance, and that we have to stand up loud and clear for positive Jewish life”, Yehuda said.

For the rabbi, the festival has a special meaning because of an alleged rise in anti-Semitism in the country. “Those that are against Jews today, are tomorrow against other minorities, tomorrow against women, maybe after tomorrow against homosexuals, maybe the day after against all people that respect democracy. So we have to recognize it’s not about the Jews.

It’s about all of us,” he said. In October, Scholz vowed his government would show ‘zero tolerance’ to hate crimes against Jews after Germany’s antisemitism commissioner reported a sharp rise in cases.

The government banned several pro-Palestine rallies, while Berlin allowed schools to prohibit the Palestinian flag and ‘free Palestine’ stickers’, despite accusations from campaigners that it marked a crackdown on free speech and support for Gaza.

A rise in cases of antisemitism has been reported in Germany after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping over 200 according to Israeli officials.

Israel declared war on the group and a ‘complete siege’ of Gaza, with a large-scale campaign of air strikes. A ground incursion began at the end of the third week, with Israeli leaders vowing to ‘wipe out’ Hamas.

Palestinian officials reported that at least 13,000 people had been killed, including more than 8,000 women and children, and more than 25,000 injured at the time of publication.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) claimed that Hamas locations and infrastructure were targeted in the response. However, United Nations experts warned against ‘collective punishment’ for the people of Gaza, before predicting a ‘humanitarian crisis’ and then claimed that ‘hell is settling in’ for the region.