Feature: Maccabees' 'Declaration of Independence'

In part eight of our Hanukkah special, learn how the Maccabees succeeded in establishing a sovereign state after a final battle.

Hezki Baruch ,

In The Footsteps of The Maccabees
In The Footsteps of The Maccabees
Arutz Sheva

This is the eighth installment of Arutz Sheva's eight-part Hanukkah special, In The Footsteps of The Maccabees. For part seven, click here.

Israeli historian Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi wraps up the Hanukkah story, describing how the Greeks left Israel after Yonatan's army defeated Tryphon.

Shimon then, with a large army, conquered Jaffa as a strategic measure to ensure control over imports to Jerusalem - and brought Jews with him in the process. The move would cement Jaffa's status as a major port hub for decades to come. 

Antiochus VII sent a delegation to Shimon to protest Jewish sovereignty over Jaffa, however, refusing to recognize the Jewish state beyond the borders of the Jerusalem hills. 

Shimon responded firmly that the Jewish people 'had returned to the inheritance of our forefathers,' as recorded in the Book of Maccabees.

Antiochus responded by waging war, bringing his army to Jaffa in what would become the final war before total Jewish autonomy. Shimon, along with his army and his sons Yehuda and Yohanan, defeated the Greek army. 

The Syrian-Greek ruler, Demetrius, seeing this, allowed Shimon to become the President of Jewish-controlled lands in Israel, thus giving Jews autonomy in their land. 

Shimon convened representatives of all the nations on the Temple Mount and declared a Jewish independent state - bringing both religious and political freedom to Jews in Israel. During his reign, he ruled over the land with Torah law, and also ousted Hellenist supporters. 

The independence remained only as long as the Hasmonean dynasty kept the Torah, eventually falling to the Roman empire. Hanukkah, however, is still celebrated to commemorate the victory of Judaism over threats to both its physical and spiritual existence.