Thursday, July 20, 2017

70 Years Ago this week The Exodus 1947 Became Israel’s First Ship Of State

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

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70 Years Ago The Exodus 1947 Became Israel's First Ship Of State

On 17th July 1947,a rickety old steamer named the President Warfield was renamed Exodus 1947. In an open sea ceremony, the Zionist blue-white flag with the Star of David was hoisted and "Hatikvah, (the Hope)" which eventually became the Israeli national anthem, was sung over and over. The Exodus 1947 became Israel's first ship of state.

Forget what you saw in the movie  "Exodus"  Paul Newman wasn't there and the British were much more brutal than portrayed in the movie.

With the White Paper of 1939 the British caved into Arab pressure (as they have done before and as they still do today). The Paper severely limited the number of Jews that could enter what was then called Palestine. The White Paper meant that Great Britain was sentencing thousands of Jews who could have escaped the Holocaust to death. The US refused to take them onto American soil FDR believed there were already too many Jews in the U.S. and Churchill refused to take them on English soil or the Jews own homeland. So the Jews began to find ways to sneak Jews into the holy land. The most famous of those missions was The Exodus 1947.

Decommissioned in 1946, the ship the President Warfield was bought for $8,000 as scrap by the Western Trading Company (a front for the Haganah, which later became the Israel Defense Forces).  Jewish-American Sam (the Banana Man) Zemurray was instrumental in obtaining the ship for the Haganah, which would explain its Honduran registration. It was said that  Mr. Zemurray's  United Fruit Company, was pretty much owned Honduras. The President Warfield was refitted in Baltimore and sailed for France on 25th February 1947 where it picked up over 4,500 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany.


During the journey, the people on the Exodus 1947 prepared to be intercepted. The ship was divided into sections staffed by different groups and each went through practice resistance sessions. The training came in handy as the night after the renaming ceremony, two British destroyers rammed the "Exodus 1947″ from both sides, damaging the hull, railings and lifeboats. It was boarded by sailors and Royal Marines and a desperate struggle developed. The Jewish refugees fought back, using tin cans, screwdrivers, potatoes, bottles, wooden boards and metal bars as weapons.

As described by a refugee Noah Klieger, "we were determined not to surrender the ship to the British without a fight. It was an unequal battle, and eventually the Royal Navy boarding party, using truncheons and light firearms, succeeded in bringing the Exodus" under its control. The clash had lasted several hours and resulted in three deaths –- Second Officer William (Bill) Bernstein, an American Aliyah Bet volunteer crew member was found clubbed to death, a 15-year-old refugee Zvi Jakubowitz, and one other died of bullet wounds. Some 150 were injured, including other American volunteer crew members."

After reaching Haifa, British soldiers transferred the Exodus 1947 passengers, exhausted from the sea journey and the battle, to three freighters converted into caged prison ships. It was named "Operation Oasis."

The three caged prison ships, departed Haifa with the Exodus passengers. The refugees assumed that as illegal emigrants they would be interned in camps on the island of Cyprus. But the three prison ships were sailing towards the European mainland, back towards France. The conditions on board these ships were harsh. The refugees lay crammed together in the bare holds of the freighters.

The ships first landed at Toulon, France, where the passengers were ordered to disembark. When the French authorities refused to use force to remove the refugees from the ship, British authorities, fearing adverse public opinion, decided to wait until the passengers disembarked of their own accord. The British Foreign Secretary tried to scare them off the ship by threatening to send them back to Germany. But the passengers didn't budge. They forced the issue by declaring a hunger strike, so the British sent them to Hamburg, Germany where the British authorities compelled the passengers to disembark, and some were forcibly removed from the ship. The British then took the 4,500+ passengers many of whom were refugees from concentration camps and transferred to displaced persons camps in Germany.


Displaced persons in camps all over Europe protested vociferously and staged hunger strikes when they heard the news. Large protests erupted on both sides of the Atlantic. The ensuing public embarrassment for Britain played a significant role in the diplomatic swing of sympathy toward the Jews and the eventual recognition of a Jewish state in 1948.

The ship's ordeals were widely covered by international media, and caused the British government much public embarrassment. The former passengers were permitted to immigrate to Palestine in small groups, and most were present in Israel on May 15 1948 when the nation their plight helped to create, declared its independence.


A Sticker Distributed in the US to Protest UK Treatment of The Exodus


A confidential report kept in the files of the child-tracing service and dated 31 October 1947 made it clear that the phenomenon of anti-Semitism did also exist among the echelons of the British Mandate powers. Using sharp words, the report gives a disparaging assessment of the Jewish committee established in Pöppendorf stating that the reason for the children's being destined for Palestine were incomprehensible considering that not even one of the children had "Palestinian" parents.

It is said that the events  of the Exodus voyage convinced the US government that the British mandate of Palestine was incapable of handling the Jewish refugees problem, and that a United Nations-brokered solution needs to be found. The US government then intensified its pressures on the British government to return its mandate to the UN, and the British in turn were more than willing to accept this.

Seventy years ago, the British appeased the Arabs, denied Jews entry into the Holy land and sent them back to the Germany from which they had just escaped. Today the US, Britain and their European allies are still appeasing radical Islamists, their terrorism, their call for the destruction of Jewish State, and the anti-Semitic hatred they teach their children.

The battle to save Israel and the Jews no longer takes place on a rickety old ship.The Jewish State now has a modern army for protection, sometimes the battle takes place in the White House or Congress, make no mistake about it…the Jewish people are just as precarious position today as they were 1939 or in 1947, Anti-Semitism prevails in the Arab nations, Europe, and is even now back in favor in some part of America, led by the Democratic Party and former President Barack Obama.

Below is an hour-long documentary about the Exodus This is the true story not the movie:

The Danger of Suspicion By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

It is a fascinating story, and from it comes one of the great principles of Judaism. Two of the tribes, Reuben and Gad, see that the land east of the Jordan is ideally suited as pasture for their large herds and flocks of livestock. They approach Moses and ask to have permission to settle there rather than cross the Jordan. Moses is initially furious at their request. It is, he says, bound to demoralize the rest of the people: "Shall your fellow countrymen go to war while you sit here?" Had they learned nothing from the sin of the spies who, by de-motivating others through their behavior, condemned an entire generation to forty years of wandering in the desert?

The Reubenites and Gadites take the point. They explain that they have no wish to exempt themselves from the struggles of their fellow Israelites. They are fully Had they learned nothing from the sin of the spies?prepared to accompany them into the Promised Land and fight alongside them. "We will not return to our homes until every Israelite has received his inheritance." Moses makes them take a public pledge to this effect, and grants their request on condition that they fulfill their word. "When the land is then conquered before G‑d, you may then return, free of any obligation before G‑d and Israel, and this land will be yours as your permanent property before G‑d."

The italicized phrase—literally, "you will be innocent before G‑d and Israel"—became in the course of time an ethical axiom of Judaism. It is not enough to do what is right in the eyes of G‑d. One must also act in such a way as to be seen to have done the right in the eyes of one's fellow man. One must be above suspicion. That is the rule of viheyitem nekiyim, "You shall be innocent in the eyes of G‑d and Israel."

How did this translate itself into Jewish law and life? The mishnah in Shekalim speaks of the three periods in the year when appropriations were made from the collective donations stored in the Temple treasury. The mishnah states:

The person who made the appropriation did not enter the chamber wearing a bordered cloak, or shoes, or tefillin, or an amulet, so that if he subsequently became poor, people would not say that he became poor because he committed an offense in the chamber, and so that if he became rich, people would not say that he did so by misappropriating contributions in the chamber—for we must be free of blame in the eyes of people just as we must be free of blame before G‑d, as it is said, "You shall be innocent in the eyes of G‑d and Israel."

Similarly, the Tosefta states:

When one went in to take up the offering of the chamber, they would search him when he went in and when he came out, and they would continue chatting with him from the time he went in until the time he came out.

Not only must there be no wrongdoing when coins are taken from the Temple treasury; there must be no suspicion of wrongdoing. Hence, the person who gathered the money should not wear any item of clothing in which coins could be hidden. He was to be searched before and afterwards, and even engaged in conversation so that he would not be tempted to secrete some of the money in his mouth.

Two rabbinic teachings from the Second Temple period speak of families famous for their roles The person who gathered the money should not wear any item of clothing in which coins could be hiddenin Temple life, and the lengths they went to place themselves beyond suspicion. The Garmu family were experts in preparing the showbread. It was said of them that "their memory was held in high esteem because fine bread was never found in their children's homes, in case people might say that they feed them from the preparation of the showbread." Likewise, the Avtinas family was skilled in making the incense used in the Temple. They, too, were held in high regard because "never did a bride of their family go forth perfumed, and when they married a woman from elsewhere, they stipulated that she was not to go out perfumed, in case people should say that they perfume themselves from the preparation of the Temple incense."

The general principle is stated in the Talmud Yerushalmi:

R. Samuel bar Nachman said in the name of Rabbi Jonathan: In the Mosaic books, the Prophets and the Writings, we find that a person must discharge his obligations before men just as he must discharge them before G‑d. Where in the Mosaic books? In the verse, "You shall be innocent in the eyes of G‑d and Israel." Where in the Prophets? In the verse, "G‑d, the L‑rd G‑d, He knows, and Israel too shall know." Where in the Writings? In the verse, "You shall find grace and good favor in the eyes of G‑d and men." Gamliel Zoga asked R. Yose bar Avun, "Which verse says it most clearly?" He replied, "You shall be innocent in the eyes of G‑d and Israel."

This concern became the basis of two halachic principles. The first is known as chashad, "suspicion"—namely that certain acts, permitted in themselves, are forbidden on the grounds that performing them may lead others to suspect one of doing something forbidden. Thus, for example, R. Shimon bar Yochai held that one of the reasons why the Torah prescribes that pe'ah [the corner of the field left unharvested for the poor] should be left at the end of harvesting was because of suspicion. If the owner of the field had set aside an unharvested corner at the beginning or middle, the poor would come and take what is theirs before the end of harvesting, and a passerby might think that no corner had been set aside at all. Likewise the rabbis ordained that if a house has two doors on different sides, Chanukah candles should be lit at both so that a passerby, seeing one door but not the other, should not think that the owner of the house had failed to fulfill the command.

A closely related halachic principle is the idea known as marit ha-ayin, "appearances." Thus for example, before milk substitutes became common, it was forbidden to drink milk-like liquids (made, for example, from almonds) together with meat, on the grounds that people might think it was milk itself. Similarly, it is forbidden on Shabbat to hang out garments that had become wet (for example, by falling into water) to dry, in case people think that one has washed them on Shabbat. In general, one is not allowed to perform actions which, permitted in themselves, lend themselves to misinterpretation.

The connection or contrast between these two principles is a matter of some debate In general, one is not allowed to perform actions which, permitted in themselves, lend themselves to misinterpretationin the rabbinic literature. There are those who see chashad and marit ha-ayin as very similar, perhaps even two names for the same thing. Others, however, see them as different, even opposites. Chashad represents the possibility that people might think you have done something forbidden, and thus think badly of you. Marit ha-ayin concerns cases where people, knowing that you are not the sort of person to do something forbidden, draw the mistaken conclusion that because you are doing X, Y is permitted, because X is easily mistaken for Y. Thus, to take one of the cases mentioned above, people seeing you hanging out clothes to dry on Shabbat might conclude that clothes-washing is permitted, which it is not.

This concern for appearances is, on the face of it, strange. Surely, what matters is what G‑d thinks of us, not what people think of us. The Talmud tells us of a moving encounter between the dying Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai and his disciples:

They said to him: "Master, bless us." He said to them: "May it be G‑d's will that the fear of heaven should be as important to you as the fear of [the opinions of] human beings." They said: "Is that all?" He said: "Would that you were able to attain this [level of spirituality]. You can see [how difficult it is], because when someone wants to commit a sin, he says, 'I hope no one will see me' [thus placing his fear of human beings above the fear of G‑d, who sees all]."

What is more, it is forbidden to suspect people of wrongdoing. The rabbis said, "One who suspects the innocent is [punished by being] bodily afflicted," and "One should always judge a person in the scale of merits." Why then, if the onus is on the observer not to judge harshly, should we—the observed—be charged with the duty of acting above suspicion?

The answer is that we are not allowed to rely on the fact that others will judge us charitably, even though they should. Rashi makes a sobering comment on the life of Moses:

If he left his tent early, people would say that he had had a row with his wife. If he left late, they would say, "He is devising evil plots against us."

Even Moses, who devoted his life with total selflessness to the people of Israel, was not able to avoid their suspicion. R. Moses Sofer goes so far as to say that he was troubled throughout his lifetime by the challenge of the command "You shall be innocent in the eyes of G‑d and Israel," adding that it was far easier to fulfill Even Moses was not able to avoid their suspicionthe first half of the command ("in the eyes of G‑d") than the second ("in the eyes of Israel"). Indeed he wondered if it was possible for anyone to fulfill it in its entirety. Perhaps, he said, this is what Ecclesiastes meant when he said, "There is not a righteous man on earth who only does what is right and never sins."

Yet there is a profound idea embedded in the concept of viheyitem nekiyim, "You shall be innocent." The Talmudic sage Rava was scathing of those who stood in the presence of a Torah scroll but not in the presence of a Torah sage. To be a Jew is to be summoned to become a living sefer Torah. People learn how to behave not only from the books they study, but also—perhaps more so—from the people they meet. Jewish educators speak of "text-people" as well as "text-books," meaning that we need living role models as well as formal instruction. For that reason, Rabbi Akiva used to follow Rabbi Yehoshua to see how he conducted himself in private, saying, "This too is part of Torah, and I need to learn." The twin principles of chashad and marit ha-ayin mean that we should act in such a way as to be held as a role model (by being above suspicion—the rule of chashad) and that, just as a book of instructions should be unambiguous, so should our conduct (by not laying itself open to misinterpretation—the idea of marit ha-ayin). People should be able to observe the way we behave, and learn from us how a Jew should live.

The fact that these rules apply to every Jew, not just to great sages, is eloquent testimony to the spiritual egalitarianism of the halachah. Each of us is bidden to become a role model. The fact, too, that these rules exist despite the fact that we are commanded not to suspect others of wrongdoing tells us something else about Judaism, namely that it is a system of duties, not just of rights. We are not allowed to say, when we have acted in a way conducive to suspicion, "I have done nothing wrong; to the contrary, the other person, by harboring doubts about me, is in the wrong." To be sure, he is. But that does not relieve us of the responsibility to conduct our lives in a way that is above suspicion. Each of us must play our part in constructing a society of mutual respect.

This brings us back to where we began, with the request of the tribes of Reuben and Gad to settle the land east of the Jordan. Moses, we recall, granted their request on Each of us must play our part in constructing a society of mutual respectcondition that they first joined the other tribes in their battles. They did so. Years later, Joshua summoned them and told them that they had fulfilled their promise and were now entitled to return to the place where they had built their homes (Joshua 22).

However, by a profound historical irony, suspicion was aroused again, this time for a quite different reason, namely that they had built an altar in their territory. The other tribes suspected that they were breaking faith with the G‑d of Israel by constructing their own place of worship. Israel was on the brink of civil war. The suspicion was unfounded. The Reubenites and Gadites explained that the altar they had built was not intended to be a place of worship, but rather a sign that they too were part of the Israelite nation—a safeguard against the possibility that one day, generations later, the tribes living in Israel proper (west of the Jordan) would declare the Reubenites and Gadites to be foreigners since they lived on the other side of the river:

That is why we said, "Let us get ready and build an altar"—but not for burnt offerings or sacrifices. On the contrary, it is to be a witness between us and you and the generations that follow, that we will worship the L‑rd at the Sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices and fellowship offerings. Then in the future, your descendants will not be able to say to ours, "You have no share in the L‑rd." And we said, "If they ever say this to us or to our descendants, we will answer: Look at the replica of the L‑rd's altar which our fathers built, not for burnt offerings and sacrifices, but as a witness between us and you."

Civil war was averted, but only just.

Suspicion is a pervasive feature of social life, and it is intensely destructive. Judaism—a central project of which is the construction of a gracious society built on justice, compassion, mutual responsibility and trust—confronts the problem from both directions. One the one hand, it commands us not to harbor suspicions, but to judge people generously, giving them the benefit of the doubt. On the other, it bids each of us to act in a way that is above suspicion, keeping [as the rabbis put it] "far from unseemly conduct, from whatever resembles it, and from what may merely appear to resemble it."

Civil war was averted, but only just

Being innocent before G‑d is one thing; being innocent before one's fellow human beings is another, and far more difficult. Yet that is the challenge—not because we seek their approval (that is what is known as pandering), but because we are summoned to be role models, exemplars, living embodiments of Torah, and because we are called on to be a unifying, not a divisive, presence in Jewish life. As Chatam Sofer said, we will not always succeed. Despite our best endeavors, others may still accuse us (as they accused Moses) of things of which we are utterly innocent. Yet we must do our best, by being charitable in our judgment of others and scrupulous in the way we conduct ourselves.

FIRST ISRAELI MONUMENT TO 'EXODUS' INAUGURATED IN HAIFA BYGREER FAY CASHMAN JULY 19, 2017 06:24 "The drama of the Exodus is an integral part of the founding of the State of Israel."

Of all the illegal immigrant ships carrying Holocaust survivors to the Promised Land, the best known – thanks to author Leon Uris and actor Paul Newman – is the Exodus.

The book was a best-seller and the movie was a box office hit.

The S.S. Exodus was purchased and manned by American volunteers.

On July 18, 1947, the ship, which was unarmed, tried to reach Haifa, but was rammed by two British destroyers, which threatened to sink it. More recommendations for you


British sailors boarded the ship, captured it and killed three people in the process.

The ship was taken to Haifa where the refugees were transferred to prison ships and returned to displaced persons camps in Germany.

Monuments to the S.S. Exodus exist in Germany, France, Italy and the United States.

Until this week no such monument existed in Israel.

That lacuna was amended by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation whose president Jerry Klinger spearheaded the creation of a monument that was dedicated at Haifa Port on Tuesday.

Sculptor Sam Philipe created an anchor, on the base of which is an outline of the map of Israel.

Among the hundreds of people present on Tuesday – many of them Holocaust survivors – were some 150 who had first come to Haifa on the Exodus.

One of them was Fruma Gallant, mother of Construction Minister Yoav Gallant. She had been one of 655 children on the ship.

Yoav Gallant made the point that only five years after the brave but doomed Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the fledgling Israel Defense Forces that included many Holocaust survivors defeated five armies in the War of Independence.

Michael Snowden, political counselor at the US Embassy, said that while most of the passengers on the Exodus were Europeans, the crew members were Americans.

"The drama of the Exodus is an integral part of the founding of the State of Israel," he said. After independence, the US was the first country to recognize the State of Israel, said Snowden, "and we've been proud to stand with Israel ever since." He was hopeful that the memorial would instruct and inspire future generations and make them aware of "the contributions Americans made and continue to make to the State of Israel."

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said that at the end of the 1960s, Russian Jews began to explore their heritage, studying in clandestine groups from books provided by Jewish tourists and sympathetic diplomats. As liaison between Russian Jewry and the Diaspora, Sharansky sent a note to a contact in New York asking for 100 paperback copies of Exodus. The books were read by families who passed them on after everyone in each family finished reading. "We had just begun to relate to the Bible, but we instinctively identified with Exodus."

Throughout the years, he said, the Jewish Agency, which had been involved in illegal immigration during the British Mandate era, has brought 3.5 million Jews to Israel and it continues to bring more.

Klinger first came to Israel nearly 50 years ago as a lone soldier without close family in the country to help him and has been back many times since. When he learned there were Exodus memorials in other countries but not in Israel, he decided to do something about it, even if it meant paying for it himself. 

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