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                      Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                   December 13,1998
                      AND PRESIDENT EZER WEIZMAN
                      AT LIGHTING OF THE MENORAH

                        Foyer of Beit Hannassi

5:16 P.M. (L)

PRESIDENT WEIZMAN: Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, I don't think that you will understand Hebrew by now, but with your affection to our country, with your support, I think this will come, too. (Laughter.) If I may switch over to my biblical Hebrew:

Beloved audience, dear audience, dear children, give me your hand dear, you sang beautifully. I am happy to see you in our home and I hope that this festival of Hanukkah will be a holiday which, perhaps, will rekindle a light in the right direction to strengthen the foundations of the State of Israel in its economy, its security, immigration, science, education and its road to peace.

The President of the United States has come to us. He has come not just as a guest, but to help and we must appreciate this and see if it is possible to "push the cart forward" -- that, in the rest of the world, is known as being "stuck in the mud," but to us, rather is "stuck in the sand". I don't know if it's easier to get out of sand than from mud, in any case, we must free it and, I hope, I am sure that our government will make all the necessary efforts.

The subject is not easy nor simple, it's complicated and complex. And from this night of Hanukkah, which is also the eve of the 21st century in less than 13 months, we will also begin to see a different type of life from our lives to date, despite our having made great achievements in the last 50 years.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you very much, Mr. President and Mrs. Weizman. Let me say a special word of welcome in greetings on behalf of Hillary and myself to all the children who are here, and my thanks to these wonderful voices we have just heard sing. And I congratulate this young man for holding the candle all that time and not burning himself. Congratulations. (Laughter and applause.)

It is our great honor, all of the American delegation here, the members of our administration and the members of Congress, to celebrate the first day of Hanukkah with the President and some of Israel's finest young people. This is a joyous time of year for Jewish people everywhere -- here in Israel, in America, around the world -- a moment to cherish your extraordinary past, to strive for a future worthy of your history.

On this occasion you celebrate not simply a long week of happiness, but thousands of years of triumph over adversity. You thank God not only for miracles, but for hard earned achievement. May this Menorah bring light through wisdom and illumination; may it bring warmth through faith and fellowship; may it kindle a divine spark of peace touching all the peoples and places of the Holy Land; may it bring hope that after 50 years of building, security finally will come to all the people of Israel. And may it bring more than hope -- may it ignite in each of you the will and strength to bring these hopes to reality.

All of you in this way can serve as candles full of light. Let our descendants look back at Israel at the turn of this new century and say the words that every Jewish child knows from the letters on the dreidel -- a great miracle happened here. Happy Hanukkah. (Applause.)

END 6:20 P.M. (L)