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August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Entebbe’

Is Preemptive Action Permissible Under Torah Law?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Recent events in Israel have encouraged discussion on preemptive strikes according to Torah law.

For example, after some reprieve, the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip has resumed. Last week southern Israel experienced a barrage of more than 90 rockets within 24 hours. In response, the IDF attacked a number of terror targets.

“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers, and will continue to act decisively and strongly against anyone who carries out terror activities against the State of Israel,” according to an IDF statement.

“The IDF is prepared to defend the citizens of Israel,” the statement continued. “The IDF will continue to take determined action against any party that uses terrorism against the State of Israel.”

Clearly, the IDF is threatening major offensives, both as a response to the current rocket fire and to discourage future attacks.

In yet another exciting recent news story, we see unexpected, definitive preemptive action in what was dubbed Operation Full Exposure  on March 5. As readers may recall, IDF naval commandos intercepted an Iranian ship loaded with lethal weapons intended for use against Israeli civilians.

The loot included: 40 M-302 rockets, with a range of 90 to 160 km, 181 mortar shells, 400,000 bullets, and much more.

A Preemptive Strike is Often Necessary for Survival

So what does the Torah have to say about a preemptive strike?

A Jew should always prefer peace over war; nevertheless, we are required to fight for justice and to defend ourselves against any threats.

For example, when Abraham’s nephew Lot was captured and taken hostage, Abraham waged a war to win his release (Genesis 14).

So, too, in an example relating to the recent Purim celebrations, the Torah commands us to destroy the nation of Amalek, which is intrinsically committed to the destruction of the Jewish People; they were the first to attack the vulnerable Hebrew nation after they left Egypt. (Exodus 17).

There are many more examples. Indeed, as seen throughout Scripture, the Jewish People regularly faced wars, some of which necessitated a preemptive strike.

The Talmud teaches: “If someone comes to kill you – kill him first!” (Sanhedrin 72a). preemptive strike

This ruling is summarized in the Code of Jewish law, which says: “If one sees that someone is pursuing him with the intention to kill him, he is permitted to defend himself and kill the one who is pursuing him.” (Choshen Mishpat 125:1).

Considering that Hamas, Iran, and Hezbollah continue to attack Israel ruthlessly, making every effort to kidnap our soldiers and terrorize innocent civilians, it is clear from the Torah, Talmud, and Jewish law that it is not only permissible, but also obligatory, to launch a preemptive strike.

We saw how true this was with during the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel launched the preemptive strike, as well as with the unexpected raid on Entebbe in 1976 to free Israeli hostages.

Indeed, Israel may not have become as secure and powerful as it is today if not for the many daring and heroic preemptive strikes in the course of its short history.

Originally published at United with Israel.

‘Rain on Entebbe’ Producer Daniel Blatt Dies at Age 76 in LA

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Daniel Blatt, who produced “Raid on Entebbe” as well as a cult horror film and an epic science fiction movie, has died of cancer in Los Angeles at the age of 76.

Blatt was born in Rockland County, New York and practiced law after he earned his law degree, but he later switched to Hollywood, where he eventually was nominated for an Emmy Award for co-producing the “Raid on Entebbe” film that was aired on NBC in 1976.

He also produced the cult horror film ”The Howling” and the sci-fi mini-series “V: The Final Battle.”

In an interview with Luke Ford several years ago, Blatt revealed that his favorite work was Entebbe because “it represented the Jews reacting to victimhood in a positive way.

“I grew up in a very Jewish house,” he said. “Then after I was Bar Mitvahed, I said ‘enough of this’ and I moved away from it. And then suddenly to be brought back into this thing was almost like a gift, a circle that I’d completed…. It was coming back to my roots.”

His parents had fled the Nazis in 1934 after his father, a doctor at a Jewish hospital, noticed regulations for Jewish doctors after the Nazis took over the medical facility.

He told the interviewer, “I grew up in a household where persecution of the Jews was drilled into my soul overtly and inovertly.”

Asked if he started observing the Sabbath, Blatt replied, “Let’s not go that far,” but he said he visited Israel “a couple of times.”

He also produced “Common Ground,” about desegregation in Boston in the 1970s,  “Kissinger and Nixon,” I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977) and “The Boost.”

Blatt produced episodes of the CBS crime drama The New Mike Hammer and concluded his film career this year with the Lifetime telefilm “Twist of Faith.”

DC JCC Continues Pattern of Promoting Viciously anti-Israel Plays

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

The Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center has a live theater component, known as Theater J.  For years Theater J has been the object of criticism from the pro-Israel world because its director, Ari Roth, promotes plays – either by staging them or having readings – which are profoundly anti-Israel.

And now Roth has done it again.

The latest play to draw the ire of Israel supporters is “The Admission.”  It is a play written by Motti Lerner, who was also the playwright of “Return to Haifa.”  The latter play, the adaptation of a novella written by the spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was staged by Theater J in 2011.

The PFLP is an Arab Palestinian terrorist group, designated as such by the U.S. government.  The PFLP’s specialty was airplane hijackings – perhaps you’ve heard of the Entebbe hijacking?  That was one of theirs.  But they like to diversify: in October, 2001, the PFLP assassinated Rehavam Ze’evi, a member of Knesset.  The PFLP also staged homicide bombings.  The goal of the PFLP is to create a democratic socialist state in Palestine.  En route to their goal, they seek the complete destruction of the state of Israel.

When “Return to Haifa” was shown at Theater J, a pro-Israel grassroots organization sent a letter to the D.C. Federation, complaining about such a play being promoted at a Federation-sponsored venue.

Roth responded to the critical letter by stating that it “is not a prerogative of the donor” to intervene in artistic content, and claimed that attempts to limit the theater’s activities amounted to censorship or blacklisting. David Makowsky grew up in Chicago, and told The Jewish Press he well remembers Ari Roth. “He was a bully then and it sounds like he’s still a bully today.”

“The Admission’s” Lerner explained in an interview earlier this year that it was Theater J’s Roth who initiated contact about “The Admission” back in 2010.  It was Roth’s initiative that encouraged Lerner to work with an English speaker and translate the play, which was in Hebrew and Arabic, into English.

Appointing and then keeping someone who brought to the stage of a Jewish Community Center the handiwork of a leader of a group dedicated to eradicating the Jewish state is a shocking choice.  The man makes his living from the donations of Jews who think they are giving money for Jewish causes.

Not surprisingly, there are a number of people in the Washington, D.C. community who find Roth’s taste in drama repugnant, who have been trying for several years to bring the dirty back tale of Theater J to the attention of the national and international pro-Israel community, as their efforts thus far have fallen on deaf ears at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and at the Washington, D.C. JCC leadership.

Louis Offen, a Rockvile, Maryland resident, told The Jewish Press that he used to contribute substantially more to the D.C. Federation before he “was put off by the Theater J business and the failure of Federation and the DC JCC director to put an end to Ari Roth’s use of Theater J in the service of his personal politics.”

The organization Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art – COPMA – was formed in 2009, after another of Roth’s choices, “Seven Jewish Children” was staged at Theater J.   That play is a series of seven one minute plays, in which a group of parents or relatives are discussing what to tell their Jewish Israeli children about “the situation,” and what should be kept from the children.  The actors quickly reinforce every horrible anti-Israel canard, by showing parents keeping the truths from their children.  For example, one line is: “No but dont tell her Arabs used to sleep in her bedroom.”  In one of the plays, water that is supposed to be for the fields of Arabs is instead used for Israelis’ swimming pool, “Tell her it’s our water, we have the right.”

COPMA, like New York City’s JCC Watch, is a grass roots effort to inform pro-Israel people about Jewish institutions that are using Jewish communal dollars to fund programs that are harmful to Israel.

July 4, Day of Operation Entebbe, Israel Upgrades Uganda Airport

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

An Israeli firm won a contract this week to upgrade systems at Uganda’s Entebbe airport, where a daring IDF mission on July 4, 1976, rescued 105 hostages from a hijacked airplane

Trilogical Technologies won the bid to integrate and implement systems that cover manpower, vehicle and equipment serving the airport’s ground services,  according to Israel Defense.

It said Trilogical’s software and hardware products will be integrated for management of existing resources  and carrying out missions in its airspace. Its computer system will be installed for the first time in Entebbe’s luggage, passenger and maintenance departments.

Ironically, the control systems will be installed “for control and warning in the event of operational or security irregularities” according to the report.

“There is a great deal of symbolism in the date when we are beginning the project,” said Trilogical CEO Erez Lorber.

The ability of the Israeli commandos to land at the airport without being detected was the key to its success, which was marred by the death of the commander of Operation Entebbe, Col. Yoni Netanyahu, brother of the prime minister.

One of the officers on the mission, a neighbor of mine, recently told me that almost no one in the hand-picked units believed that they would take off for the rescue operation because the scheme was “beyond imagination.”

The hostage crisis began on June 27 when Arab terrorists, helped by a German revolutionary cell, hijacked an Air France plane en route from Tel Aviv to Paris via Athens and demanded the release of prisoners in Israel in return for releasing the Israeli hostages.

After a week of planning, Operation Entebbe began on July and lasted approximately one hour. Besides the death of Netanyahu, five commandos suffered injuries and three hostages were killed.

The commandos landed in the dark of night, killed 45 Ugandan soldiers and destroyed 30 Soviet-built MiGs to prevent them from being used against the Israeli force.

Israeli firms had helped build the Entebbe airport, and their possession of blueprints of the facility was crucial towards the operation’s success.

When the Israeli planes, a cargo plane rolled out a black Mercedes that was a duplicate of Uganda President Idi Amin’s vehicle.

The element of surprise enabled the commandos to eliminate opposition forces and rescue the hostages, except for two who were killed by IDF fire and a third who was caught in crossfire.

The raid has been attributed to putting a stop to the wave of international terrorist hijackings, but United Nations Secretary General at that time, Kurt Waldheim, condemned Israel for “a serious violation of the national sovereignty of a United Nations member state.”

From Joy to Sorrow and Back Again

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

I close my eyes and am transported back to Israel, where I spent the past six weeks.

For me, Israel always feels like home, and even six weeks is not enough time to do all I would like and to see family and old friends as often as I wish.

Pesach is a beautiful time in Israel. It’s springtime and everything is in bloom. During the weeks leading up to the holiday people are busy selling their chametz, kashering their pots and pans, etc. This year things were a little more complicated for us Jerusalemites as President Obama picked an inconvenient time to visit, necessitating the closing of main thoroughfares for hours on end. But finally the holiday arrived, bringing a feeling of joyous thanksgiving.

I was privileged to hear the Priestly blessing on the second day of Chol HaMoed at the Kotel and felt enveloped in holiness. I was delighted to see the signs on buses wishing all a Chag Pesach Sameach. But one of my best “Only in Israel” stories was told to me by my friend Tzviya.

Supermarkets all over Israel sell their chametz and cover over all the shelves that have chametz on them. My friend was in a supermarket on Chol HaMoed when a woman somehow reached behind the covering and took out a box of chametz. The cashier made several attempts to enter the item on her cash register, but each time the words “Chametz – Not For Sale” came up. Finally the cashier told the customer she was unable to sell this to her this week and to please put it back.

The holiday passed all too quickly and then wherever one looked, the beautiful blue and white flag of Israel could be seen blowing in the wind. The country was getting ready to celebrate 65 years of independence. I bought a flag and proudly hung it on my car window.

The most moving experience of all for me took place on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s memorial day for its fallen soldiers. It takes place a day before Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s independence day. For those of us who grew up and live in the U.S., memorial day in Israel is vastly different from what we are used to. It is sad and solemn; theaters are closed, as are many restaurants and stores. A siren sounds in the evening to usher in the day and again in the morning for two minutes of silence.

Aside from the public ceremonies, many people visit the cemeteries. Every year my son Dovid drives from his home in Ginot Shomron to the military cemetery on Har Herzl to visit the grave of his teacher Shlomo Aumann, Hy”d, who was killed defending Israel in the 1982 Lebanon war.

The year the war broke out Dovid was a young boy of 14, about to graduate 8th grade in the Chorev School. Shlomo Aumann , the eldest son of Nobel Laureate Professor Robert (Yisrael) Aumann, was the students’ favorite teacher. His death was a major blow to the entire class but Dovid took it particularly hard. He has never forgotten him and now, so many years later, he brings his children with him.

It is hard to describe the feeling one gets walking past thousands of graves of young men and women – 18, 19, 20 years old. We finally came to Shlomo’s grave. He was 25 when he was killed, leaving behind a two-year-old son and a pregnant wife ( a girl was born a few months after his death). Some family members were already there. Dovid spoke about his teacher and then my granddaughter Elisheva began to play her violin. There is something about the violin that touches the soul as no other instrument can. She played “V’Zakaynee L’Gadel Banim” and Shlomo’s sister told us her brother’s two children are a wonderful credit to his memory. At the sound of the violin, people visiting other graves came over sing with us.

From there we went to the section in memory of Chana Senesh, the heroine who rescued Jews in Europe during World War II before being caught and tortured to death. A group of schoolchildren and their teacher were there and when Elisheva played “Kayli Kayli,” one of the songs Chana Senesh wrote, the entire class sang along. Once again, at the sound of the violin people came from all over to stand alongside us.

Sharansky Says Yoni Netanyahu Was an Inspiration while in Jail

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Yoni Netanyahu, the brother of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who was killed in the Entebbe rescue, was an inspiration to Natan Sharansky while imprisoned in a Soviet jail, the former Refusenik said Sunday.

Speaking to 5,000 Masa Israel Journey participants at a Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers ceremony, Sharansky said, “While in the Soviet prison, … I thought about the three Israeli sportsmen who had visited Russia and had bravely met with us. They told us that Israel was a place of great joy.

“I later heard that one of the three was killed in the Yom Kippur war. But, mostly I thought about Yoni Netanyahu. The fact that the State of Israel was prepared to send its soldiers to rescue Jews all over the world gave me great strength. Yoni was 29 when he was killed and was 29 when I was arrested. Every time that I felt that I didn’t have the strength to keep resisting the authorities, I thought about Yoni Netanyahu and it gave me the strength to keep going.”

On the Anniversary of Entebbe, Malkah is Home on the Range

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

So I’m staring down the barrel of Israel’s lethal new state-of-the-art Tavor assault rifle.  Feet planted firmly, I can hear my breath and the wind blowing small rocks around the hem of my skirt.  It’s  me and the ruthless terrorist just meters away, and as I carefully squeeze the trigger, I’ve got him!  Right in the stomach!   Malkah, ruthless Jewish warrioress, has protected her clan, saved the country, and is now headed back to the benches where she will distribute juice and snacks she brought from the car.

Because it’s shooting range day with the staff of The Jewish Press online.

Part team building exercise, part reward for all the hard work we put into sharing news and views with you fine readers, we made the journey to the Caliber 3 training facility and firing range in the hills of Judea.

And though we expected to learn how to handle weapons and hone self-defense skills with some awesome Chuck Norris lookalikes, we did not anticipate receiving the touch which would place the mantle of the heroism of Israel on our own shoulders.  And I did not expect to have one of the most moving days of my life.

The day began simply enough – a little bit of ‘petel’ (think bug juice from camp), some sun screen, and a range all to ourselves with Shai Ish-Shalom, one of the expert trainers at Caliber 3.

Sounding more than a little bit like Topol but looking like he could bench press our hatchback, Ish-Shalom introduced us to the theory and the art of using guns for self-defense.  With calm coolness, patience, and humor, he discussed the use of guns to protect your home or community, and the necessity of exercising gun safety.  He introduced us to weapons some of us knew from our days in the army, others from our days in the yishuvim of Samaria, and others just from the movies.

Ish-Shalom is not just an expert. He’s the expert who trains the experts.  And as we laughed and listened, and got ready to take our turn against the targets, he inadvertently blew my mind.

Discussing his own illustrious military and security history (and leaving out all details, as one would expect), which has seen him operating in the defense of Jews on the highest levels and for the highest levels, he mentioned his participation in Operation Thunderbolt, the 1976 operation to free Israeli hostages from a hijacked Air France plane in Entebbe, Uganda.

In that moment, I froze, my jaw agape (those of you who know me know that my jaw hanging open is not THAT newsworthy, but personal digs aside).

I am a pretty regular Jewish lady, for all I can tell.  I have a husband, two kids, and am constantly trying to figure out how to be done with the laundry.  Yes, I made aliyah, yes, I live in eastern Jerusalem, yes, I once stole the mezuzah off the doorpost of a Jews for Jesus office in Tel Aviv (that’s a whole other story), yes, Shai says I look like Bar Refaeli (truer words have never been spoken), but other than that, I’m pretty normal.

But as a true-to-the-core Zionist and lover of all things noble and proud (I did grow up in Texas), I was shocked and humbled to be in the presence of someone who participated in what I perceived to be one of the greatest feats of Jewish heroism in the modern era, and a hallmark of Jewish familihood and survival.  The rescue operation, planned in 48 hours, comprising 100 commandoes led by Sayeret Matkal special forces commander Yonatan Netanyahu, the 90 minute operation not only saved the lives of all but 4 hostages (unfortunately costing Yoni’s own life, too), but in its success filled the wellsprings of Israeli pride and brotherly love.  The risk those young men took, the daring and ingenuity they displayed in order to bring home the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, daughters and sons, was not only heralded throughout the country at the time, but stands now as an iconic representation of fundamental Israeliness.

Which meant not only was I being treated – even if only for a couple hours – as a real student of as righteous, as decorated, and as skilled an Israeli soldier as I may ever have the hope of meeting, I was also coming eye to eye, trigger to trigger, with the Real Israeli.

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