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News outlet apologises for using picture from the Arch of Titus to wish Jews a happy Chanukah

The picture shows Roman soldiers carrying the Menorah away from the Holy Temple after destroying it

    The original tweet
    The original tweet

    A news outlet has apologised for a tweet wishing Jews a happy Chanukah which included a picture of the Romans plundering the Menorah from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

    On Sunday evening the Catholic News Service outlet tweeted: “Hanukkah began at Sundown. Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate!”

    On Chanukah, Jews light a Chanukiah (eight branched candelabra, with an extra higher branch called a shamash) in commemoration of a miracle thought to have taken place around 165 BCE, when Jews in Israel revolted against their Seleucid Greek overlords, retaking Jerusalem and purifying the Holy Temple.

    There was only enough pure oil to light the great Menorah in the Temple for one day, but the oil was said to have burned for eight days, until new supplies of pure oil were available.

    However, the picture attached to the Catholic News Service tweet showed a panel from the arch of Titus, built by the Roman emperor to celebrate capturing Jerusalem and destroying the Temple in 70 CE. The panel depicts the legions carrying away the spoils from the Temple, including the great Menorah.

    People on Twitter branded the tweet “stunningly offensive” and suggested the news outlet “might want to do a bit of research on its photo selection.”

    As a number of other social media users pointed out, the Arch of Titus “celebrates the destruction and looting of the temple in Jerusalem, the sacking of the city, the massacre of a huge number of Jews and the enslavement and deportation of many more.”

    The Catholic News Service deleted their original tweet later on Sunday, tweeting instead: “Earlier today, wishing people a happy Hanukkah, we posted a photo that offended many of our followers. The tweet has been removed and we apologize for any offense caused.”

    On Monday, the outlet added: “Sunday we inadvertently posted an offensive photo. We were sloppy in our tweeting; people were right to be offended.

    “The person who posted the tweet now fully understands the implications of the picture. We apologize again.”

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