President Osmani at the Hanukkah ceremony: Let us reflect on the importance of this holiday and its message of hope and resilience

Dear Prime Minister Kurti,
Dare Deputy Prime Minister Gërvalla,
Ministers, Members of Parliament, Leaders of Political Parties,
Dear Ambassador of the State of Israel, Tamar Ziv,
Dear Ambassador Dan Oryan,
Dear representatives of countries here in the Republic of Kosovo,
Daer members of the Jewish community in our country,
Distinguished guests,

Thank you for having me here today. It is truly an honor to join you all in celebrating Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights and to reflect on the significance of this holiday and its message of hope and resilience.

Hanukkah is a timely reminder of the need to remember the importance of standing up for our beliefs and fighting for what is right, even in the face of great adversity.

At this challenging time for the world – with the ongoing war in Ukraine causing immense suffering and hardships, marked by brutal violence and strife, as well as political and economic implications across the European continent and beyond - we can all learn from the spirit of Hanukkah: that we can overcome our common hurdles through determination and perseverance.

This special holiday is a time of hope and renewal, and we must hold onto that hope and do our part to bring a brighter and safer future for all.

Dear friends,

As President of the Republic of Kosovo, I am proud to represent a diverse nation and to celebrate this special holiday with you all, including members of our small but extremely vibrant Jewish community.

As a country, as institutions, and most importantly, as people, we are proud of our unwavering commitment to the promotion of equality and justice for all, as well as our exemplary legal protection for all communities and all religions, as reflected in our Constitution and laws. It is through this commitment that we will build a stronger and more united Kosovo.

Moreover, I am proud of our joint efforts to nurture our historically good relations with the State of Israel and most importantly, our people-to-people ties. These ties date back centuries and they were always characterized by compassion and mutual trust.

As many of you know, Albanians opened their homes and hearts during the Second World War, saving the lives of the Jewish community, including their Jewish neighbors, oftentimes to the point of forfeiting their own lives. The bravery and compassion demonstrated by our people during these dark hours of our joint history is a testament to the power of Besa and of the great importance of standing up for one another in difficult times.

Decades later, when the people of Kosovo were facing a genocidal war, Israel sent a field hospital and a medical team to Kosovo, treating hundreds of patients and saving lives. Additionally, the State of Israel welcomed Kosovar refugees, demonstrating an outstanding humanitarian example.

On this note, we are proud of our growing relations with the State of Israel. Our two countries have a strong foundation for cooperation and friendship, and we are eager to build upon it to the benefit of both of our peoples. I look forward to the opening of a new and exciting chapter of relations with the State of Israel in this coming yearw, and I remain confident that by working together, we can build a brighter and more prosperous future for both of our countries and peoples. As witnessed recently with the renovation of the Jewish Cultural Center in Prizren by our Ministry of Culture, the people and institutions of the Republic of Kosovo are committed to helping our Jewish community thrive.

And as we light the Hanukkah candles today and come together with our loved ones, let us remember the lessons of the past and embrace the hope and resilience that Hanukkah represents. In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to stand together and to support one another.

As President Joe Biden said during this year’s White House Hanukkah ceremony, “The story of Hanukkah is one of miracles. It's a story of a small band of warriors fighting for their values to defeat one of history’s most powerful empires. It's the story of a small jar of oil burning brightly for eight days when it should've lasted one.”

Let us carry this message of hope, let us all carry this message of miracles, as we work together to build a better, more just, and more peaceful world for all.

Once more, Happy Hanukkah to all those celebrating in Kosovo and around the world. May this holiday bring light and joy to all of you, and may it serve as a reminder of the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

Chag Sameach (Happy Holidays) to everyone!

Thank you!