Georgia-Israel friendship celebrated as Georgian leaders congratulate local Jews on Hanukkah

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili lights a candle as Georgia's Jews celebrate Hanukkah. Photo by the PM's press office., 25 Dec 2016 - 13:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

Jewish people in Georgia and across the world are celebrating Hanukkah, an eight-day festival of lights.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and President Giorgi Margvelashvili congratulated Jews on the holiday.

Kvirikashvili attended today a concert celebrating Hanukah at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater last night.

"Georgia has stronger ties with the Jewish nation than with any other nation in the world,” Kvirikashvili said.

He stressed that Georgia’s friendship with the Jewish people had a millennia-old history, and it was "strongest emotional foundation sustaining our friendship and brotherly bonds”.

"The experience of the Jewish is best applicable to Georgia in terms of both challenges and opportunities. This is why my wish for 2017 is to be a year of the great friendship and brotherly bonds between our nations, a year of enormous transformation in our great partnership and the large-scale cooperation between our states,” the PM said.

"May the coming year be the beginning of a tremendous partnership for the tremendous success of both countries.”

Kvirikashvili noted that Israel was known in the world as a startup country, and Georgia had "all necessary preconditions” to use Israel's experience in order to emerge as an equally strong nation.

"We are certainly counting on help from our Jewish friends, our brotherly nation. Georgia has always stood and will always stand by the Jewish people," Kvirikashvili said.

The festive event was also attended by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely and members of the Knesset as part of their three-day visit to Georgia.

The Georgian leader stressed that Hanukkah was a feast of rededication and restoration of justice, which by definition celebrated the victory of light over darkness.

"A lot of symbolism is embedded in it,” he said.

President Margvelashvili released a written statement, congratulating the Jews on the holiday this morning. He said Georgia-Israel friendship was the best example of friendship between nations.