I have never been one to overly sell the merits of the Jewish way of life. I choose to leave that up to those far more qualified. However, as someone who observes Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, I and my fellow Jews occasionally have an advantage during this time that others might not. Since Shabbat starts on Friday at sundown, unlike many who during this unprecedented time find one day after another blending into each other, we always need to know when it’s Friday. With that in mind Holland’s Heroes will do its best to provide you with a weekly post with the intention of inspiring you, encouraging you, and bringing some joy to the many faces looking for reasons to smile.
These weeks installment is from my friend Rabbi Avrohom Rapoport, a Chabad Rabbi in South Jersey and his heartwarming interaction with some Ugandan Jewish young men. Enjoy!!
When speaking of the greatness of Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, otherwise known as Maimonides, it is often said, “from Moses to Moses, there was none like Moses.” This of course speaks to the importance and greatness of Moses in the Bible, the prophet that lead the Children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, and generations later the great impact Maimonides had in his and future generations as a Rabbi, philosopher and physician.
In June of 1976 the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked an Air France plane en route to Paris from Tel-Aviv and forced it to land in Entebbe, Uganda. With the support of the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, the hijackers took hostages, separating the Jewish passengers from the non-Jewish passengers and held the Jewish passengers hostage at Entebbe Airport. A group of 100 commandos, lead by Yonatan Netanyahu freed every single hostage on July 4, 1976, going down in history as one of the most amazing rescue missions of all time. Sadly, Netanyahu, was killed during the mission. He will always be remembered fondly as a great hero.
38 years later, Yonatan Netanyahu’s brother Benjamin is Prime Minister of the State of Israel during one of its most challenging times. As is the case with any high-profile leader, Benjamin Netanyahu has his critics on both sides of the spectrum. There are those who feel he is too compromising, accusing him of not having the willingness or stomach to do what needs to be done to eliminate Israel’s threats regardless of collateral damage or civilian casualties. The other critics go as far as saying he is a war criminal, guilty of leading a genocide against the Palestinian people.
I personally think he is a great man, one whose performance in the wake of tremendous pressure both internally and externally has been nothing short of exemplary. His priority has been the safety and future security of the citizens of Israel. He has shown respect for world opinion by publicly clarifying and explaining Israel’s actions, something expected from no other country, possibly with the exception of the United States. He has displayed a calm leadership during chaotic times. He has shown strength, reason, intelligence, and the quality he is given the least credit for, compassion. I believe we are very lucky to have him.
From Netanyahu to Netanyahu, there is none like Netanyahu.