FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS JEWS HAVE CELEBRATED PASSOVER, AND HAVE
TOLD THE STORY OF THE EXODUS: HOW GOD REMEMBERED HIS PROMISE TO ABRAHAM OUR FATHER, AND LIBERATED US FROM EGYPT – ALONE, WITHOT HELP FROM ANYONE, USING SIGNS, WONDERS, AND MIRACLES.
And every year the joyous ceremony ends with us singing Bashanah habah yeroushalem- next year in Jerusalem. UNTIL 1948 THIS WAS A WISTFUL OR WISDHFUL REMARK—REPRESENTING AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. SINCE 1948 BASHANAh has been a reality. because we have the state of israel, we can celebrate passover, or anything else in its capital, jerusalem, and have been able to do so continuosly since 1948.
IN tHE MIDST OF OUR JOYOUS CELEBRATION WE FIND THIS TWO SENTENCE PARAGRAPH – EASILY OVERLOOKED:
In every generation there arises someone who seeks to destroy the jewish people. but the most holy one, blessed be he, prevents that.
TODAY, MORE THAN IN RECENT YEARS, THIS PARAGRAPH MERITS MORE THAN A PASSING GLANCE. AS WE SIT HERE TODAY, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, THESE WORDS TAKE ON GREAT SIGNIFICANCE. ISRAEL IS SURROUNDED BY MORE THAN 60,000 ROCKETS (AND YOU HAVE 15 SECONDS AFTER THE WARNING TO GET TO A BOMB SHELTER, IF THERE IS ONE. ISRAEL AND ALL JEWS ARE THREATENED WITH ANNIHILATION FROM IRAN: THE IRANIAN LEADER HAS MADE HIS INTENTIONS PERFECTLY CLEAR AS TO WHAT HE INTENDS TO DO TO ISRAEL AND THE REST OF THE JEWS ONCE HE GETS NUCLEAR CAPABILITY.
BIBI NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL, IN A SPEECH TO AIPAC IN WASHINGTON, MADE 3 YEARS AGO ABOUT A WEEK BEFORE PURIM, CITED THIS VERY PROVISION OF THE HAGADDAH AND REMINDED US HOW GOD THROUGH QUEEN ESTHER NOT ONLY SAVED THE JEWS BUT THE PERSIANS AS WELL. I THINK IT CAN BE IMPLIED FROM HIS REMARKS THAT GOD, BASED ON PASSOVER AND PURIM, HAS continually ACTED IN OUR BEHALF.
TODAY WE READ OF FOUR SONS (OR, TO BE POLTICALLY CORRECT, 4 CHILDREN) LET US CALL THE WICKED SON THE CYNIC OR SKEPTIC. HE WOULD SAY, ABOUT THIS PROVISION (“IN EVERY GENERATIOIN”): SO WHAT, PASSOVER AND PURIM WERE MANY CENTURIES AGO. I’LL BET THAT YOU CAN NOT SHOW ME ONE INSTANCE IN YOUR LIFETIME WHERE GOD HAS ACTED TO SAVE THE JEWISH PEOPLE; show me the miracles.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I DON’T BET BUT THIS ONE I’ll TAKE AND I’LL WIN. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO BACK VERY FAR IN TIME… JUST TO OCTOBER 1973, THE YOM KIPPUR WAR. ON OCTOBER 5TH SYRIA INVADED ISRAEL FROM THE NORTH, EGYPT FROM THE SOUTH IN A PINCER LIKE ATTACK. ISRAEL WAS CAUGHT OFF GUARD, TO SAY THE LEAST. GO ON OU TUBE: SEE FORF YOURSELF THE DECIMATION OF THE VAUNTED ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCE- THE CARNAGE OF WRECKED VEHICLES ALONG the ROAD).IF THE ARABS WERE SUCCESSFUL, BASHANAH MIGHT ONCE AGAIN BE NOTHING MORE THAN THE PRE 1948 WISHFUL THINKING, AND THE REALITY WOULD BE THAT WE WOULD BE ADDING OUR BRETHERN IN ISRAEL TO THE LIST FOR WHOM WE SAY KADDISH, AS WE DO FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST.
FOR FIVE DAYS, GOLDA MEIR AND OTHER ISRAELI LEADERS BEGGED KISSINGER, SCHLESINGER (DEFENSE SECRETARY) AND AL HAIG FOR ARMS. THE ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES WERE (as they are now and always have been) CAPABLE OF DEFENDING ISRAEL WITHOUT WHAT We NOW CALL “boots on the ground” (troops from other nations), BUT WERE AT THE BOTTOM OF the BARREL; THE GAS GUAGE WAs almost a steady red. A SEROUS OFFENSIVE WAS OUT OF THE QUESTION; IT WAS ALL THEY COULD DO TO “stand in place”. ISRAEL NEEDED BULLETS, TANKS AND PLANES TO survive, defend itself, and ultimately WIN THE WAR. in any war, israel has ONLY ONE CHANCE; DEFEAT WOULD RESULT IN ISRAEL’s destruction.
the American leaders said don’t worry, you’ll get what you want-but they made no commitment- THEY wouldn’t say WHAT WOULD BE SENT, how much or when- just stringing along. does this sound familiar- some sanctions, secret sanctions, silent sanctions, six months from now sanctions, substitute sanctions, “I’VE GOT YOUR BACK”?
FINALLY, ON OCTOBER 10TH, in the midst of the watergate and Agnew’s resignation, WHAT GOLD MEIR CALLED A MODERN MIRACLE TOOK PLACE. IT EMANATED FROM A MOST UNEXPECTED SOURCE AND IN A SIZE WHICH COULD NOT BE BELIEVED. hASHEM ACTED THROUGH PRESIDENT NIXON! PRESIDENT NIXON, REMEMBERING HIS PROMISE TO GOLDA THAT AS LONG HE WAS PRESIDENT, THE EXISTENCE OF ISRAEL WOULD NEVER BE COMPROMISED. he BROKE THE LOG JAM-he delivered the goods. against the advice of kissenger, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE SCHLESINGER ,the state department (ALWAYS A BASTION OF SUPPORT OF ISRAEL TO THIS DAY- REMEMBER THE SS ST. LOUIS) and the oil interests, PRESIDENT NIXON ordered THAT israel BE PROVIDED WITH whatever it needed to defend itself.
As a wise leader, he knew that it was not enough to give an order-the order must be IMPLEMENTED -- carried out.
so a couple of days later he called kissenger to the oval office (THIS WAS BEFORE IT BECAME THE “oral” OFFICE”) and asked him if the arms were getting to israel. was there a civil airlift? kissenger answered “NO.” WHAT ABOUT THE MILITARY? KISSENGER (ACTUALLY ACHLESINGER) RESPONDED THAT WE SEND 3 PLANES A DAY, 2 AT NIGHT WHEN THEY CAN’T be seen, because the arabs are embargoing our oil and the soviets are singing ethel merman: ANYTHING YOU CAN SEND WE WILL SEND TRIPLE. THE MESSAGE THE PRESIDENT RECEIVED WAS THAT THE USA MUST BE VERY CIRCUMSPECT IN THE AMOUNT OF ASSISTANCE IT SENT TO ISRAEL AND THE MANNER IN WHICH IT WAS SENT, BECAUSE OF THE POTENTIAL OF AN ARMS RACE BETWEEN THE SUPER POWERS WHICH COULD EASILY ESCALATE OUT OF CONGTROL, AND LEAD TO…WAR)
PRESIDENT NIXON was getting annoyed. HE TOLD KISSENGER HE WOULD TAKE THE HEAT FOR THE DECISION. HE SAID TO KISSENGER- WE HAVE 25-30 HUGE C-5A CARGO PLANES. USE THEM. SEND THEM ALL, SEND THEM NOW, send everything that can fly- SEND THEM EVERYTHING THEY NEED-BEYOND THEIR WISH LIST- AND IF THEY RUN OUT TELL THEM WE WILL RESTOCK IMMEDIATELY. I WILL BE CASTIGATED WHETHER I SEND ONE PLANE OR 500.
SO PRESIDENT NIXON NOT ONLY GAVE the ORDER BUT IMPLEMENTED it; he was keenly aware that it is not enough to give an order, but it must be carried out if it is to be effective.
BUT THE WAY HE IMPLEMENTED IT IS MOST IMPORTANT, AND MOST BEAUTIFUL:
HE TOLD HENRY “NOW GET YOUR ASS OUT OF HERE AND GET IT DONE”. AND IT WAS DONE WITH DIFFICULTY BECAUSE ONLY PORTUGAL LET US REFUEL OUR PLANES. AND WHEN THESE PLANES FLEW OVER TEL AVIV, THE PEOPLE WERE SINGING GOD BLESS AMERICA.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS TRUE EXERCISE OF LEADERSHIP. NO “I have to refer this to the joint chiefs of staff: don’t CALL US-I’LL GET BACK TO YOU IN A WEEK-MAYBE”. No Jack Benny: “your money or your life-give me a minute to think about it”. no Jackie Mason: “ i don’t know, it’s not my business, it’s someone else’s business, i never had any success with the Jews.”
President Nixon’s acts represented a true exercise of leadership WHICH WE HAVEN’T SEEN IN RECENT YEARS, AND DO NOT SEE TODAY. FIRM, UNEQUIVOCAL- NO HESITAnCY.
SO THE SOURCE OF THE MIRACLE, PRESIDENT NIXON, WAS UNEXPECTED; THE SIZE OF THE AIRLIFT (CALLED “OPERATION NICKELGRASS”) EXCEEDED THE BERLIN AIRLIFT. THE JEWISH STATE WAS SAVED AND WE CAN CONTINUE TO SAY BASHANAH IN JERUSALEM AND NOT KADDISH FOR THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL.
A BRIEF EXPLANATION: why did president nixon act. after all, we have all those tapes with anti semetic remarks. the answer is simple. he was a student of history and recognized that our only true and steadfast ally in the middle east from its formation in 1948 was israel: the only democracy in the middle east, and the only country which wouldn’T SELL OUT FOR A POT OF GOLD. (THIS HASN’T CHANGED SINCE 1973, HAS IT!!) MORESO, HPRESIDENT NIXON WAS A KEEN STUDENT OF HISTORY AND REMEMBERED (unlike our present occupant of the white house) THE SOVIETS WANTED A WARM WATER PORT ON THE MEDITERRANEAN (WHICH THEY HAVE IN LATAKIA, SYRIA, TODAY). IF THE SOVIETS WERE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND GET THIS PORT, THIS WOULD BE HIGHLY ADVERSE TO OUR VITAL INTERESTS. SO IT WAS A NO BRAINER TO SEND THE ARMS TO PREVENT ISRAEL’s destruction and at the same time protect our vital interests.
We who do not study history are doomed to repeat its failures.
President Nixon’s saving Israel is as important as our redemption from egypt and should be told every passover.
the Democrats, of course, would not agree. no koovit, no recognition, not even the slightest acknowledgement for President Nixon. if you pin them to the wall, you will get a grudging acknowledgment, at best, of what he did.
and their punchline will be: HOW CAN YOU THINK SO MUCH OF AN AVOWED ANTI SEMITE? very easily:ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. READ LENNY GARMENT’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND BILL SAFIRE’S NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNS AFTER TRUMAN’S MEMOIRS WERE PUBLISHED.THERE HAVE BEEN MANY TAPES AND THERE WILL BE MORE. BUT HIS ACTIONS ERASE ALL TAPES, PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE.
ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed ironic that the two presidents of the 20th century most helpful to the jews, harry truman AND RICHARD NIXON, were anti semites. tRUMAN’S anti-semetic remarks make President nixon’s seem schoolboy-LIKE in comparison.
President Truman recognized the state of israel in 1948 against great opposition-but that’s another story. yet his remarks are EXCUSED as being typical of the times. tell me, didn’t president nixon live in the same time? yet truman gets a pass.
the important thing is that both presidents put aside their personal predelictions for the good of the country.
AS FOR FDR, THAT’s another story. he and carter should burn together WITH “MR. I’VE GOT YOUR BACK”
IF PRESIDENT NIXON’S BOOK “ix Crises” SHOULD BE REVISED, IT SHOULD BE RETITLED “seven crises” and include HIS GREATEST FOREIGN POLICY ACHIEVEMENT: saving the state of israel.