Thursday, 8 October 2015

Israel's Greatest Moments: [2] Entebbe: G-d does Miracles for Israel

Background:

Operation Entebbe was a miraculous counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos ofthe Israel Defense Forces(IDF) at Entebbe Airport, Uganda on 4 July 1976.A week earlier an Air France airplane with 248 passengers was hijacked by two Palestinians terrorists and two members of the German Revolutionary Cell with the stated objective of freeing 40 Palestinian and pro-Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel, and 13 prisoners in four other countries, in exchange for the hostages.  The flight was diverted to Entebbe, Uganda. The local government supported the hijackers. Dictator Idi Amin personally welcomed them. After moving all hostages to a disused airport building, the hijackers separated the Israelis from the larger group and forced them into a separate room. 

Over the following two days, 148 non-Israeli hostages were released and flown to Paris. Some 90 (mainly) Israeli passengers with the 12-member Air France crew, remained hostage and were threatened with death. Entebbe AirportThe rescue operation took place at night and lasted 53 minutes. Israeli transport planes carried 100 commandos over an incredible distance of 4,000km to Uganda. All 102 hostages were rescued. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, the unit’s commander, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, (older brother of current Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu) was killed. All the hijackers and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed, and thirty Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of Uganda’s air force were destroyed.
The Rebbe’s Talk 

July 11, 1976

From time to time we are granted an opportunity to actually see in this physical world how quality prevails over quantity, how soul prevails over body, and how the Soul of the world rules over its physical veil, and how G-d fills and rules the world. One is immersed in mundane day to day life, seeing the cycle of night and day, planting and harvesting, winter and summer, cold and warmth, all continuous and predictable, appearing to be soul-less, mind-less, just rules of nature, with no explanation of why. No one understands. These are labeled as no more than “nature”, neither do we understand why these specific laws even exist. One’s cruder nature embellishes these to trap a person, that one give these the name “laws of nature” to free one from thinking of the Master of nature, of He Who created nature, and He gave nature its laws, as the verse itself says before G-d’s command in creation “the cycle of nature should not come to an end”, this coming from the Divine Will of the Creator of the world, ongoing, without end.

 Therefore it is necessary from time to time to make it easier for us to come to the realization that there is a Master of this world, that G-d brings about awesome events that defy the laws and patterns of nature, to remind a person of the true reality of the world, that it is “G-d Who is the Truth of the world”. This brings us to the wondrous event which happened recently shaking both Jew and non-Jews.

 We are referring to the miraculous rescue of tens of Jewish hostages from death and their return to a civilized land, to a “Good and Spacious Land”, “the Land where the Eyes of G-d gaze from the beginning to the end of the year.” There was no way of knowing how this could be achieved. We saw this with our own eyes how quality prevailed over quantity. The hostage takers and hostile countries, over which they flew, greatly outnumbered the IDF team arriving at Entebbe airport. Also, in the operation itself it was not numbers [the enemy], weapons or soldiers who won the day or determined who would prevail. To the contrary, forces with less soldiers and weapons were victorious. The quality of the liberators prevailed over the hostage takers. Moreover, regarding the rescuers themselves, quality prevailed over numbers, i.e. physical considerations allowed no logic to enter into this rescue. The body has no basic instinct or nature of self preservation to go into such a dangerous situation. Rather, their spiritual transcendence took over. 

 Upon arrival at the airport, what impelled the victory? They overlooked all norms of warfare of approaching the enemy with ear shattering blasts of intimidation, warnings and threats. Normally Israel engages in standard diplomatic formalities, consulting those that they consider allies around the world and non allies, and only then announce that they have sufficient weapons and troops and have received permission to move forward. Here, the victory came about by ignoring all calculations of time and space and opinions of others. Actually none of these calculations would have worked. There was no more than the smallest of chances of succeeding. This specifically was the “vessel” to receive G-d’s everlasting kindness; a miracle from G-d with which they succeeded. The first lesson to learn from this event is that we saw with our own eyes that there is a Master to the world. All calculations and advice from our “so-called allies” would have left no possibility to pull this operation off. It was G-d Who gave this idea to discard all considerations or allies. It is for us to proclaim that G-d is Master of the world; that the world is not autonomous. It is G-d Who is the grand Mover of the world in all its detail. 

Israel's Greatest Moments: [1] The Six Day War. The Rebbe Assures Victory

Background:

The Six-Day War was fought between June 5th–10th, 1967 between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.Following the mobilization of the Egyptian forces along Israeliborder in the Sinai Peninsula, Israel launched a series of pre-emptive airstrikes against Egyptian airfields on June 5th. The entire Egyptian air force was destroyed in a matter of hours, with few Israeli losses. Simultaneously, the Israelis launched a ground offensive into theGaza stripand through the northern and central routes of the Sinai. Egyptian leader Nasser ordered evacuation of Sinai. June 6th-7th Israeli forces rushed westward in pursuit of the Egyptians’ disorganized and chaotic retreat inflicting heavy losses. By June 7th the Israelis had reached the Suez Canaland taken Sharm el Sheikhin the south of the peninsula. The conquest of Sinai was completed on June 8th.
On June 5th Syria and Jordan attacked Israel who retaliated immediately. Israel launched an offensive on June 7th against East Jerusalem, and Judean and Samarian cities Nablus and Bethlehem. King Hussein ordered Jordanian forces to retreat across River Jordan. Israeli forces moved forward into the rest of the Judea and Samaria unopposed. Israel’s retaliation against Syria came June 5th. The air strike in the evening destroyed two-thirds of the Syrian air force, giving Israel air superiority over Syria. On June 9th General Moshe Dayan ordered the ground invasion of the Golan Heights. Despite extensive fortifications and heavy fighting, Israel broke through the Syrian first line of defense. By June 10th Israel had taken the Golan Heights and the Syrians retreated eastward.Soldiers after the Six Day War  at the Western Wall On June 11th a ceasefire was signed. Less than a thousand Israelis had been killed compared to over 20,000 Arab forces. Israel’s military success was recognized worldwide as a stunning miracle from G-d Almighty. The area under Israeli control tripled,  significantly contributing to the country’s defensibility. Israeli morale and international prestige was greatly increased by the outcome of the war. Across the Arab world Jewish communities were expelled. 

Just days before the outbreak of the Six Day War the Rebbe spoke at a children’s rally, 18th Iyar 5727, May 28th 1967. 

The Rebbe’s Talk:

All of us have gathered together in honor of the day of Lag B’Omer. Surely you all are aware of the main events of this day, that the disciples of Rabbi Akiva, from Lag B’Omer [33rd day of the counting after Passover] on, conducted themselves as their teacher, Rabbi Akiva taught them “Love your neighbor as yourself”, treat each other with honor. Secondly this is the day when Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai [author of the Zohar], one of the principle pupils of Rabbi Akiva, said that this is his day of rejoicing [and his passing] having reached the pinnacle of his studies and comprehension in Torah which he handed down to his pupils and they to their pupils finally reaching our times until the time when Moshiach will come and lead us all to the Land of Israel, may it be speedily in our time. All of these events that are related to Torah and the Commandments, as the Baal Shem Tov [the founder of the Chassidic movement] said, are not something of the past, an old story which once happened, which we retell from time gone by, but rather to teach, lead and instruct us as to how we must conduct ourselves, to be the fitting children of G-d, as the verse says “You are the children of the Lord your G-d”. Although the Temple of wood and stones for the time being lies in ruins, nevertheless the Holy Temple within the heart of every Jew remains intact. It is the duty of each of us to spread its light and holiness into our own lives and the lives of all those around us. Here is the special mission and directive for the children themselves and their friends, and also to influence their parents. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai accomplished this – that every Jew has the merit to be endowed by G-d with blessings for success in that when a Jew becomes more involved with Torah and Mitzvos he can bring deliverance to all those around him, bringing G-d’s blessings in everything they need.This brings us to a special lesson for today’s situation. 

Your brothers and sisters in the Land of Israel are currently in a situation where G-d is protecting them and sending them His blessings, success, and salvation in an added measure so that they may emerge, and they will emerge from their current situation with success.

You have the special privilege to help them. Every time you study one more verse of Torah and through your performing another Mitzvah without missing any opportunity to do so, and love your friend as yourself, influencing your friends and relatives to use every opportunity to spread Torah and Mitzvos, you are helping them. As Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said, this saves every Jew wherever he may be, from the difficulties he is facing, and brings G-d’s salvation and success. 

Then there will be fulfilled that which we read in yesterday’s Torah portion “You will dwell securely in your Land” – Jews in the Land of Israel will dwell there in security; “And I will place peace upon the Land”– G-d will draw down peace upon the Holy Land and “I will be your G-d”– G-d will be our G-d and the G-d of all Jews wherever they may be; “And you will be for me a Nation” – every one of you and all of us together, especially Jews in the Holy Land will be G-d’s People whom He will lead with “His full, open, Holy, wide Hand” out of all difficulties. He will bring them peace and security in everything they need, and very soon there will be fulfilled the verse of last week’s Torah portion “And I will lead you upright” [to your Land]. G-d will lead every Jew and all Jews with an upright posture with heads held high, very soon, in the true, complete and full Redemption through our righteous Moshiach who will come soon and take us, and especially the Jews who are in the Holy Land, out of this exile and He will draw down the Kingdom of Heaven with the true and complete redemption very soon, Amen. May it be G-d’s Will.