The London borough of Havering has paused the installation of a Hanukkah Menorah in its town hall due to an increase in hate crimes relating to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The war between Israel and Hamas, and the upsurge in violence in the occupied West Bank, has led to an increase in anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim crimes in Havering.
Installing the candelabra now ‘will not be without risk to the council, our partners, staff and local residents,’ a council spokesperson said. The Hanukkah Menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum lit during the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
‘There will still be a temporary installation and event to celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah. This will be taken down after the event and we will look at a longer-term installation next year,’ the spokesperson commented.
‘When we started work on the installation no one could have foreseen the recent international events and we have been fully committed to installing the candelabra with a number of council teams working to support it.’
The spokesperson added: ‘Sadly, there are some who are politicising this and making accusations of anti-Semitism. This is categorically untrue and such statements are likely to incite further unrest in our communities.’