Our fellow Jews are sick. They don’t admit it. They don’t even know it. Yet the malady is grave. “The most destructive, painful, most contagious disease of all,” Rabbi Noah Weinberg said, “is ignorance. Ignorance perverts people and leads to wasted, counterproductive lives. Ignorance causes untold suffering — mistreatment of children, marital strife and suffering in a dead-end job.”
Nearly 35 years ago, on July 4, 1976, the streets of America were aglow. The nation was celebrating the bicentennial -- the 200th anniversary of its independence. In Israel, too, the streets were radiant. Israel Defense Forces commandos had rescued some 100 hostages held captive by Palestinian terrorists at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport.
Now Moshe is gone too. As I entered the graveyard, I saw his mother. I started to mumble my condolences when this old woman, a survivor of Auschwitz, gave me a stern look.
"Spare your words," she said dryly. "It's between me and God."
What could I possibly say to this woman, who had lost all her family in the Holocaust, who married another Holocaust survivor, started a new chapter in Israel and gave birth to two sons -- only to lose them as well as her husband, who died heartbroken after Issachar was killed?
The capture of a massive Palestinian arms shipment 300 miles down the Red Sea from Eilat has revived Israel's spirit after 15 demoralizing months of intifada mayhem. "This is what we are trained for," exulted a senior security officer. Every-one invoked the 1976 Entebbe rescue of hijacked airline passengers.
Ephraim Sneh, a stocky, taciturn soldier-turned-politician, doesn't scare easily. Entebbe, the most daring rescue operation in Israel's military history, wasn't his first taste of combat. The Yom Kippur War, he shrugged, was worse. But he shudders at how easily it could have gone disastrously wrong.
As the giant Hercules transport plane lumbered through the night sky out of the Ugandan airport on July 4, 1976, one of the 98 hostages beckoned to Col. Sneh, who headed the medical team. "Excuse me, sir," the plump woman said, "I'm afraid I'm sitting on something military."