In the past, Jews have had to defend their faith against empires that sought their destruction. Like the Maccabees1 who stood up for what they believed was true even against all odds. They would not submit to the attack against their faith, customs and Torah. With a righteous indignation against such an attack, the Maccabees stood up against the Greeks and fought a holy war of resistance that was for Zion’s sake.
The same was the case during the Jewish resistance against the Romans, who sought similar religious sanctions against the Jewish faith. The motto of the Jewish revolt against the Romans was “for Zion’s sake” from Isaiah 62:1. This phrase was minted on top of the Roman “Judea Captured” coin[i] that bore the symbol of Judea’s defeat to the Romans.
What neither the Greeks nor the Romans could know was that they were actually fighting a losing battle. At the time, their victory over the Jewish “religious fanatics” that just wouldn’t conform to the winds of change seemed assured. However, neither the Greeks nor the Romans have survived as empires, and their greatness is no longer. Today their memories remain in museums, historic art, and ruins, while the Jews are still here and becoming stronger as a people. The Jews who have the heart of the Maccabees have stood the test of time.
Today, a similar challenge is set before us by Europe and America, as they attempt to conform Israel and the Jewish people to their standards, their ideas of government, etc. However, at the core of the conflict today between Israel and the rest of the world stands the issue of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount (aka Mount Zion) the so called “status quo.”[ii] Similarly to the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanies when the Temple became the center of his conflict with the Jews.