Thousands of Georgian Jews and others gathered in the country's largest synagogue Monday to mark the Hanukkah festival in a grand ceremony attended by President Mikhail Saakashvili.
Georgian television showed a live broadcast of Saakashvili participating in the lighting of the candles on a ten ton menorah made from white stone brought from Jerusalem and placed at Tbilisi's Big Synagogue.
The lighting of the menorah, he said, "Has served as an unwritten rule over the course of centuries for any
Georgian leader from any era, for any responsible figure."
"This is historic brotherhood, solidarity with Jerusalem and the Jewish people," He said.
About 12,000 Jews live in Georgia, mostly in Tbilisi - down from around 100,000 some three decades ago. Many Jews emigrated after travel restrictions were lifted in the waning years of the Soviet Union and in the years following the Soviet collapse.
Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is an eight day celebration that commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees' victory over the Syrians.
The festival began on the 15th of December.