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November 28, 2018 1:57 pm

Israeli Artist Beats Gaza Rockets Into Hanukkah Lamps

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Israeli metal sculptor Yaron Bob works on a hanukkiyah, a candlestick with nine branches that is used during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, at his studio in Yated, southern Israel, Oct. 21, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

The clang of hammer on metal and the roar of a blowtorch can be heard long before you walk into Israeli metal sculptor Yaron Bob’s workshop.

Featured prominently in his workshop is a quotation from the Book of Isaiah: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares.”

Bob is doing something close to that in his studio in Yated, an agricultural community near the border where Israel, Gaza and Egypt meet.

His raw material is rockets and mortar shells fired into Israel by Palestinian militants from Gaza, just 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away.

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The twisted shrapnel is dropped off at his smithy by police and Bob, 47, crafts artwork and religious symbols from the metal, selling his creations in Israel and abroad.

In the run-up to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, he was busy crafting a monumental hanukkiyah, a candlestick with nine branches that is used during the eight-day festival that starts this year at sundown on Sunday.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah commemorates the 2nd century BC victory of Judah Maccabee and his followers in a revolt in Judea against armies of the Seleucid Empire.

Light is key to the holiday because, Jewish tradition says, the Maccabees found only enough ritually pure oil to fuel a ceremonial lamp in the temple in Jerusalem for one day, but it burned for eight days.

Bob also makes the seven-branched menorah, a symbol that appears on the emblem of the State of Israel.

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