Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

About 2160 Years Ago… Or Yesterday

King Antiochus sent a harsh message for the Israelis of his day, which went something like this (a very light paraphrase of the source material): “Know this: you are occupiers in the land, and you must divide Jerusalem. You are doing ‘great evil in the land’ and building more and more settlements. Return the occupied territories and pay compensation for all the settlements you build outside the pre-war borders! If not, there will be war!”

Along with a chunk of Jerusalem, the king also stakes claims on Jaffa and Gezer.

The following is a translated quote from the same source (First Book of Maccabees, Ch. 15):

And Shimon answered, and said to him: “We have neither taken a foreign land, nor do we rule over foreign property. Rather, it is the inheritance of our forefathers, which was for some time unjustly occupied by our enemies. But we, having the opportunity, reclaimed the inheritance of our forefathers.”

At the end of his reply Shimon the Hasmonean says, with need of no further elaboration, “And as to your complaints concerning Jaffa and Gezer, they did great harm to the people, and to our country.”

Notably, the foreign claim on Jerusalem isn’t even dignified with a response.

Happy Chanukah!

About the Author
Nissan Ratzlav-Katz is an experienced marketing communications professional, as well as a published columnist and former senior opinion page editor. He can be reached at
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