Yaacov Herzog (1921-1972); rabbi, Israeli ambassador to Canada, and director general of the Prime Minister's Office, wrote the following on Chanukah and the Rebirth of Israel:
Hanukkah comprehends Judaism to mean Jewish independence-- in the physical and political sense-- in that small land on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, where the threefold bond of land, people, and faith was forged for all time. Hanukkah also enshrines the dialogue between Israel and the nations of the world from earliest times. The central theme is of the few against the many, of a people-- its soul kindled by immortal dispensation-- pursuing its distinctive course through the ages against all odds: a people confident in its faith that no mortal force, whether active or passive, whether of oppression or hatred, whether of discrimination or assimilation, could in the final analysis deny it the fulfillment of its spiritual and national destiny, both for itself and in the broader context of human progress....
The Maccabees of old were not only members of the priestly house and, as such, guardians of Judaism; they were also leaders of their people-- generals and statesmen. In summing up political and military prospects, the criteria were the same in ancient times as today. The Maccabees could not have ignored them, and yet they embarked on a revolt against Greek oppression that, in light of what we know today about the balance of forces in those days, must have seemed remote indeed from any chance of success. They acted as they did because failure to act would have meant total physical destruction and spiritual eclipse. But an inner voice told them that if the tragedy of Jewish destiny is a precarious existence on the brink, its triumph is achieved by total commitment to faith, through which peril can be challenged and overcome. In our time, over two thousand years later, the sons of the Maccabees faced a situation that, in poignancy and despair, recalled the circumstances in which their forefathers had likewise found themselves....
But the passage of time had not obliterated the spirit of the Maccabees-- their resolve, their faith, and the message of their experience bridged the gap of time and guided their heirs in the twentieth century. If archeology one day uncovers the political and military estimates of those who sent Greek forces to crush the Hasmonean revolt, we might assume that their analysis of the Jewish prospects would not be far different from the assessments that were prevalent in 1948. Redemption flashed anew, when every mortal assessment would seem to have denied its validity. The few vindicated their cause against the force of the many. As Hanukkah is celebrated throughout Israel today, its true significance and innermost spirit can be grasped for the first time since the festival was initiated thousands of years ago....
The dialogue of a redeemed people with the world has but begun. The testament of the Maccabees will be vindicated. On Hanukkah let us clasp hands in spiritual fraternity and historical involvement. Let us recall the testament of Mattathias, the father of the Maccabees; privileged indeed are we to live in this generation. May we be worthy of the destiny that summons us forward.
[from the Hanukkah Anthology; Phillip Goodman, The Jewish Publication Society; 1976]
Yes, the dialogue of a redeemed people and the world began in 1948, and it has ended up in the same place as it did in the days of the Greek occupation. We are surrounded by enemies, in the region, and the world, who seek to force our capitulation, tear us from our land, and even deny our historical connection to it. But the enemy isn't simply in Egypt, or Lebanon, or Turkey, or Syria, or Jordan, or Saudi Arabia, or Azza, or Judea, or Samaria, or Iran, or the European Union, or the halls of the White House; the enemy lies in the government of Israel as well, and has the same aforementioned goals. As in the days of Matisyahu, and his sons we call the Maccabees, assimilationist Jews threaten the very existence of our nation.
They seek to tear us from our land, force the capitulation of observant Jews that seek to live in it, and deny our historical connection to it by not only referring to our land as "occupied territory," but by refusing to present to the world the one reason why we cannot give up one square inch of our land: it was given to us by the G-d of Israel, and we are commanded to live there. We are commanded to keep it. We are commanded not to give it away. This is the only thing that matters, and it is the one case that the secular Israeli government, and Alan Dershowitz refuse to make.
It is no coincidence that the first to fall by the sword in the Hasmonean rebellion were Hellenist Jews; those who capitulated to the Greeks and made sacrifices to their gods, and those who collaborated with them.
Security is not a reason for keeping the land and wresting from its Arab occupiers; the Torah is the reason. Certainly we know that if the Arabs are given Judea and Samaria all of Israel will be the victim of Arab rockets, but the reality is that giving it to them should not even be on the table. Playing host to those who have sworn to kill us is not only insane, it violates the Torah. When we have stood steadfast by our covenant, the land it represents, and by Hashem, no enemy, no matter how great, has ever defeated us. This is the context in which the oil was found, and burned, and in which an army of 40,000 was defeated by 3000. There is no hope that the current leaders of Israel will remember this, care about this, or understand just how wrong they are, until it is far too late.
The rulers of Israel are not afraid of demonstrations in the streets. We had those in 2005 and lost Gush Katif. The only thing they fear is losing their power. It is up to the people of Israel to take that power from them, and put it in the hands of those who understand what it means to burn the last cruse of oil in the wake of empires come and gone, and in the face of history.