Washington: US President Donald Trump hosted his first White House Hanukkah party where he touted his administration’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, the media reported.
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It is observed for eight nights and days.
Trump hosted hundreds of attendees at the White House for the party on Thursday night, with a guest list that had been narrowed from previous administrations, reports The Hill magazine.
Congressional Democrats as well as Jewish leaders who have been critical of Trump were excluded from receiving invitations this year.
Trump’s move on Wednesday to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and set in motion a plan to move the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was celebrated at the party. The decision was celebrated by pro-Israel voices but condemned by Palestinians and others.
In his speech at the White House, Trump said he was thinking about “what’s going on” in Jerusalem.
“Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families around the world to celebrate the miracles of the past and the promises of the future. We are proud to stand with the people of Israel and renew our enduring bond.
“And right now I’m thinking about what’s going on and the love that’s all over Israel and all about Jerusalem,” he added.
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organisation of America, attended the party and called Trump’s declaration a “historic moment” for Israel, The Hill magazine reported.
But the White House denied the guest list was shortened for political reasons.