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Maccabee Runners Mark Chanukah by Carrying Torch from Modi’in to Jerusalem

President Zalman Shazar kindled his Chanukah lamp this evening with a torch carried to his home here by relay runners from Modi’in, gravesite of the Maccabees. In all, more than 5,000 youths and sportsmen participated in the traditional Chanukah relays today, or- ganized by the Maccabee sports organization. The racers carried torches from Modi’in to the principal cities and towns of the country.

Chanukah lights were kindled at the West Wall Tuesday night, site of the Temple in Old Jerusalem, for the first time since the second century when the Holy City was last under Jewish control. A huge menorah, set up on the site, was kindled by Dr. Zerah Warhaftig, Minister of Religious Affairs. Other torches, kindled at Modi’in, gravesite of the Maccabees, were flown from Lydda Airport to 33 countries around the world where they were received by youth organizations and representatives of Zionist groups and Jewish communities.

The kindling of the lights at the West Wall, an act believed last carried out when Bar-Kochba and his warriors were defending Jerusalem against the legions of Rome, coincided with announcement of the discovery of a stone slab said to be part of the southern wall of the Second Temple which was destroyed by Titus in 70 A.D. The existence of a southern wall was long suspected but digging began only recently. Some rabbinical authorities say the southern wall is as holy as the Western Wall.

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