The phenomenom – and the prophecy – of Jew vs. Jew

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“And Yehuda also will fight against Jerusalem”

This chilling article was written by Binyamin Zev Kahane for Chanukah, 1996. Today, with the proliferation of Jews undermining the State of Israel, slandering the army, and overtly taking sides and collaborating with the cruelest of enemies while we are engaged in a war for survival (the “Geneva Initiative”), this article takes on even greater significance.

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The war between the Hashmona’im and the Greeks was characterized by the active collaboration between many Jews with the Greeks. It was not that these Jews were dragged along against their will out of fear of the harsh decrees; nor was it a matter of falling prey to Greek propaganda and aspiring to emulate Greek culture. Indeed, all this happened. But when we speak of the phenomenon of the “Hellenists”, we speak of something more serious — and that is the active and eager collaboration of Jewish Hellenists against Jews of faith. The “Book of The Macabees”, which documents the events of the Hasmonian wars, relates how the “Jewish criminals and sinners”, were a major factor, often provoking the Greeks in their war against the Jews.

In Those Days, At This Time

For the first time since Chanukah, we again see this active and eager cooperation between the Jews and the enemies of Israel against the Jewish People. It is the first time ever that such cooperation and treachery has manifested itself in an organized movement, initiated by the Jews themselves. The modern-day Hellenists have simply reached the conclusion that barriers between Israel and the nations is an outdated and primitive concept, only creating problems. In short, they want to wipe out the existence of the Jewish People.

The prophet Zechariah (Chapter 14) prophesizes about the era before the final redemption, and speaks of the final war where all the nations will gather against Jerusalem. We then see a terrifying verse: “And Yehuda also will fight against Jerusalem”. In other words, parts of the Jewish People will be on the side of the gentiles during this war. While Rashi softens the blow by interpreting that “against their wills they will fight Israel”, the Radak explains the verse according to its simple understanding: “Yehuda who came with the gentiles and fought with them against Jerusalem”. Similarly, in the midrash “Psikta Rabbati” (Ch. 15), it says: Rabbi Shmuel bar Yitzchak said: Even those from my congregation (Jews) will cling to your congregation (Gog and Magog), and they too will fall on the day of your defeat”!

This means that this curse first seen under Greek rule, when Jews switched their loyalties to the enemy side, was not eliminated with the victory of the Macabees over the Greeks and Hellenists. Despite the great victory of the wiping out of the Greeks and Hellenists and the return to Jewish sovereignty over Israel and the purification of the Temple — even still, the Hellenists continue to raise their heads in this generation.

Where Do You Stand?

And so we see in this generation, which is the beginning of the redemption process, that two camps are emerging: The camp of the loyal Jews, and the camp of the Hellenists. The Hellenist camp has great inner-conflict as to where its loyalties lie. They find it increasingly difficult to discern why one should stand separate as Jews, rather than simply as “human beings”. And so, as a very natural process, a common interest and growing partnership emerges between

these Hellenists and the enemies of the Jewish nation. In the meantime, these Hellenists have less and less in common with the Jews. Thus, the following saying becomes quite true: “This area is divided up differently now: It is not Israelis and the rest, but rather the ‘peace camp’ (Jews and Arabs) versus all the rest” (The words of a Peace Now leader)

In such a situation, the struggle between the two camps intensifies, as more and more people are forced to decide where they stand. And so every Jew, whether he likes it or not, must decide once and for all where he stands — on the side of the Jews or on the side of the Hellenists. And when he does, even after years of ignoring the issue, he will then have decided once and for all time: Who is he?

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Matityahu’s Last request

As the days of Mattityahu were drawing to a close, he said to his sons, “arrogance and outrage are now in the ascendant; it is a period of turmoil and bitter hatred. This is the time, my children, for you to have a burning fervor for the Torah and to give your lives for the covenant of our ancestor’s. Here is your brother Shimon, I know he is a man of sound judgement. Listen to him all your lives; let him take your father’s place. Yehuda Maccabee, strong and brave from his youth — let him be your general and conduct the war against the pagans. The rest of you are to enroll in your ranks all those who keep the Torah, and to exact vengeance for your people. Pay back the pagans to the full, and hold fast to the ordinance of the Torah.” Then he blessed them and was laid with his ancestors. He died in the year 146 BCE and was buried in his ancestral tomb at Modi’in, and all Israel mourned him deeply. [The First Book of the Macabees]

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