In Gaza they light rockets, and in Sderot we light candles.

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

Despite the recommendation of the President’s security detail that he cancel his trip to Sderot on account of the barrage of rockets that were fired at Sderot and the Gaza periphery, President Shimon Peres decided to travel to Sderot and to light the fourth candle of Hannukah together with children and residents of the city. President Peres opened his visit by inaugurating a new production line at the Osem sauce factory, which will employ more than 80 new workers from the city of Sderot.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony, President Peres said, "I would like to thank the Osem company for the decision to open a new production line in the city." He then addressed the workers: "I am proud of your resoluteness, your courage, and your contribution to the strengthening of Israeli industry and our perseverance." President Peres then announced to the workers that the Chairman of Osem, Dan Propper, had promised him that no worker from Sderot or the Gaza periphery would be laid off, in spite of the economic crisis.

In a candle-lighting ceremony that President Peres held with hundreds of children and residents of Sderot at the Community Center, the President said that, "In Gaza they light rockets, and in Sderot we light candles. We are a persevering people; we are a people with moral fortitude. Only two days ago I visited the Palmachim base, and I met with the good pilots and fighters of the elite units of the Israel Defense Forces, and I promise you that the Israel Defense Forces have great strength and amazing capabilities. The IDF and its commanders worry about your children as if they were their own, and they will manifest a responsible and effective response. From here I call for an end to superfluous speech. Let the IDF act and decide on the timing and scope of its response."

President Peres added: "To the Palestinians I say – we do not want to see you suffering on account of Hamas’s guilt. The moment that you stop firing rockets at us, there will be quiet in Gaza and the crossings will be open. The sole responsibility for the situation in Gaza is clearly on the shoulders of Hamas."

President Peres sang Hannukah songs with the children, and said, "I came to wish you all a happy Hannukah holiday on behalf of all of the people of Israel, and to thank you; you stand today on the front lines for Israel, and your steadfastness is our strength."