Hanukkah in Israel is a truly magical time, for people of all ages or backgrounds. So let's see what makes this festive holiday such an Israeli favorite
Any Israeli has at least one connection to some aspect of the Hanukkah holiday, be it the fried delicacies that are always associated with Hanukkah, or the family time that is spent sitting together around the lit candles of the hanukkiah. There is always something about this holiday that transmits peace and warmth, especially if you are spending it in Israel.
Although Israel’s winter may not be too harsh compared to other locations, there is still something special about celebrating the holiday of lights while it is raining and cold outside.
Now, of course, the lights, the warmth, and the special family time are very important and a significant part of Hanukkah, but let’s talk about the true reason why everyone loves Hanukkah in Israel so much.
From around the middle of November, if you walk around the markets or outside of the many bakeries Israel has to offer, you get a whiff of the deep-fried sufganiyot (doughnuts), as they are pulled out of the hot oil and smothered in powdered sugar.
Another famous Hanukkah food staple is the leviva (or latke) - fried hashbrown-like potato fritter. Although the traditional leviva is made from potatoes, there are many versions of this fried goodness, including sweet potatoes, zucchini, eggplant and so much more.
Sufganiyot and levivot might be Hanukkah’s most famous food symbols, but it has become quite a tradition to make other fried foods on this holiday, in remembrance of the Hanukkah oil miracle. Many restaurants and street food vendors participate in this tradition and offer fried goods specialties during the eight days of Hanukkah.
So as you can see, like in most of the holidays celebrated in Israel, Hanukkah celebrations mostly involve food, something we have no problem with of course. But not only... there is just something special about celebrating Hanukkah in Israel. The atmosphere of the entire country is festive and warm, to understand what we mean, you will just have to come and experience it for yourself.