An explanation of his conception of the meaning of the Maccabee movement was given to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by Lord Melchett, honorary president of the World Maccabee Union during his recent visit to Berlin, in connection with the work of the Maccabee Union.
“The idea behind the Maccabee Movement is very old and appears to me to comprise three factors: natural resistance to oppression, physical and moral discipline, and development of courage for the realization of our ideal,” Lord Melchett stated.
“No people that has suffered like the Jews can remain unaffected in character, even if they have, at the same time experienced a process of spiritual refinement. One of the most usual and often grounded charges made against us by our enemies is that the Jew lacks courage. That a small people, the smallest race on earth, should, during 2,000 years of persecution, have lost the courage to strike back, is no wonder. On the Maccabee, and on the Maccabee alone rests the responsibility for changing this side of the Jewish character. Physical and spiritual preparedness give one the power with which to confront one’s adversaries. They give him faith in himself, and the presence of mind to master and to control his feelings.
“Mental, spiritual, and physical
equilibrium are all vital matters for a people. It is the work of the Maccabeen Movement to infuse these qualities once more into the Jewish youth. It is the task of the Maccabeen to impress young Jewish men and women with the ideal of a perfect body not only for aesthetic reasons but also that they may learn to achieve classic self-control, which is only to be obtained through competitive sport and bodily exercise.
We are now entering a new era of Jewish life. The Maccabees have, last year, for the first time, so far as I know, held an international sport festival at Tel Aviv. I was present during the first day, and it appeared to me the most exciting and wonderful demonstration of its kind that I have seen.
“May our energies be united that we may secure and develop the success already achieved, deeply rooted in the three great ideas of valor, self-discipline and faith.”