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Revolt of the Maccabees, Column one: Israel, the Pilgrims and the Maccabees and Mel Gibson~


Revolt of the Maccabees

The Jewish revolt against the Greeks sets a precedent as the world's first religious war.
We know the details of the Jewish fight against the Greeks and Hellenism from the two Books of the Maccabees as well as the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus.

Zeus and Greek Gods

Tthe Greeks took their gods as seriously as we take the stock market.

by Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf

These chronicles are not included in the Hebrew Bible because the Great Assembly had decided many years earlier what the Bible should consist of and these events occurred much later in time. The Books of the Maccabees were both written in the first century BCE. I Maccabees was originally written in Hebrew as an official court history for the Hasmonean Dynasty. II Maccabees was originally written in Greek and based on earlier work written by Jason of Cyrene.

This revolt of the Jews sets a precedent in human history. It is the world's first ideological/religious war. No one in the ancient world died for their gods; only the Jews thought that their religion – the only monotheistic religion at the time – was worth dying for.

But it is not just a war against the Greeks, it is also a civil war – Jews, who were loyal to Judaism, fighting other Jews, who had become Hellenized and who were siding with the Greeks.

The year is 167 BCE and the horrible persecution of Judaism by the Greeks is in full swing. The Greek troops show up in the town of Modi'in (a site west of Jerusalem which you can visit today off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway) and demand that the Jews there sacrifice a pig to the Greek gods. The elder of the town, Mattathias, who is a kohen, that is of the priestly class, refuses.

But there is a Hellenized Jew in the town who is willing to do what is unspeakable in Jewish eyes. As he's about to sacrifice the pig, Mattathias stabs him, also killing the Greek official present. He then turns to the crowd and announces: "Follow me, all of you who are for God's law and stand by the covenant." (1-Maccabees 2:27)

Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to do his commandments, departing each one from the religion of his fathers, yet I and my sons and my brothers will live by the covenant of our fathers...We will not obey the king's word by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left. (1-Maccabees 2:19-22)



Maccabee Cartoon

Maccabee Cartoon Photo: Avi Katz
Back in October 2001 then prime minister, Ariel Sharon, raised the hackles of the White House when he warned the United States, “Do not try to appease the Arabs at our expense. We cannot accept this.” Sharon then invoked the 1938 Munich Pact. As he put it, “Don’t repeat the terrible mistakes of 1938, when the enlightened democracies in Europe decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for a comfortable, temporary solution.”


Israel, he said, “will not be Czechoslovakia.”



Sharon was sharply rebuked not only by the White House, but by leading American supporters of Israel. They attacked him for daring to make the comparison. In time, with the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, Sharon’s warning was largely forgotten.



The question of whether George W. Bush sought to appease the Arabs and Iran at Israel’s expense is an open one. Strong arguments can be made on both sides of the issue. On the one hand, Bush took the fight to terror supporting regimes.



On the other hand, Bush refused to face the threat of Iran. And he forced Israel to remain trapped in the two-state paradigm which requires it to make unreciprocated concessions to Palestinian terrorists working towards its destruction.



While Bush’s legacy remains uncertain, what is absolutely certain is that his successor Barack Obama is seeking to appease the Iranians and other Islamist forces at Israel’s expense. The appeasement Sharon accused Bush of contemplating has become the official policy of the US government under Obama.



In the haze of accusations and counteraccusations by opponents and supporters of Obama’s new pact with the mullahs of Tehran, it bears recalling that the problem with the Munich pact was not the agreement in and of itself. If Adolf Hitler had been a credible actor, then the agreement might have made sense.



But Hitler was not a credible actor.   >>More from JP<<


It goes without saying that Mel Gibson was once one of the biggest movie stars and directors in the world. He was the man that somehow turned The Passion of the Christ into an enormous box office success.

Here’s three films the once A list Mel Gibson planned on making before or during one of his many meltdowns that just won’t be happening anytime soon.


3. The Maccabees

the macabee

The Maccabees actually seemed really likely for awhile. Many thought it would double as both a comeback epic film from the Braveheart director and an apology to the Jewish community. However, things went very wrong and very fast.
The film was meant to celebrate Judah Maccabee: a man celebrated as one of the greatest Jewish military figures. He led the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire. The holiday of Hanukkah is actually partly thanks to the man. The holiday celebrates the restoration of Jewish worship in Jerusalem. That restoration was thanks to Judah Maccabee and his revolt. The film was said to follow said revolt. It sounded like the perfect plot for the man that directed Braveheart and Apocalypto. You know, besides the whole Jewish aspect.


2. Beserker

dicaprio viking
When it was first announced, it seemed like a fantastic idea. Mel Gibson was going to direct a real viking movie. He was going to make a hardcore, bloody viking movie. He had the expertise thanks to Braveheart and Apacolypto, but once Gibson’s first tape got released (after the first DUI meldown), the movie fell apart just as quickly as Maccabees.
Leonardo DiCaprio dropped the project immediately (he was going to lead the picture) and Gibson got left without a studio. The film still sounds like a great idea, but there’s no way Gibson will be able to get the artistic freedom or budgets he got before for historical epics like he did before. Despite this, however, Gibson still claims that Beserker remains in development as well…


1. Lethal Weapon 5

mel gibson lethal weapon 5
This one is the saddest of all because who doesn’t love Lethal Weapon? It was the movie that made many fall in love with Gibson and the buddy cop genre in the first place.
The franchise is extremely profitable and for a while a fifth film seemed to be chugging along, but it fell apart for completely different reasons. According to some reports, the studio wanted original screenwriter Shane Black to direct from a script he wrote. Gibson disagreed and wanted longtime collaborator Richard Donner directing based on a story Donner developed. With no agreement made, the movie fell apart.



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