Lecce, Italy – 1st of May, 2016: A orthodox priest blesses the faithful during the Orthodox Eastern celebrations at the church of San Niccolò dei Greci, in the Apulian city of Lecce.
Jerusalem, Israel – 8th of March, 2014: A sticker on a light pole by the road which marks the border between east and west Jerusalem admonishes readers to “not even think about a Jewish woman”. Aiming to dissuade Arab men from approaching Jewish women, the sticker is widely visible across mixed cities in Israel and comes from Lehava, a Jewish organization dedicated to “preventing assimilation in the Holy Land”, mostly by opposing mixed marriages both in theory and in practice. Alongside the stern warning, the sticker bears the organization’s hotline to which one can “report” cases of assimilation.
Jerusalem, Israel – 30th of January, 2014: Israeli religious Zionist activists, rabbis and politicians held a mass prayer at the Kotel “for the redemption of the people of Israel” and calling for the failure of US secretary of state John Kerry’s efforts to convince the Israeli leadership to accept his peace plan, which would establish the Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and divide the city.
Eish Kodesh, Judea and Samaria – 17th of January, 2014: Israelis gathered in Eish Kodesh, a small outpost on the hills between Jerusalem and Nablus, to plant trees for the holiday of Tu Bishvat, the Jewish “New Year of the Trees”.
In many cultures, the beginning of winter is marked with a religious holiday dedicated to light. Northern Europeans have Saint Lucia, Hindus have Diwali, and Jews have Hanukkah, an eight-day festival in which candles are lit every evening to remember a miracle which blessed the rededication of the Beit HaMikdash (the Holy Temple) of Jerusalem, around the year 170 BCE.