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05/02/2023 11:08:30 AM


You don’t receive a state. You earn one.

There is an old comedy album my dad used to love to play for us, entitled, “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish.” On the album there is a skit about a Jewish man who is very successful in business. To celebrate he buys himself a yacht as well as a complete captain’s uniform, including a beautiful, peaked cap. He goes to his immigrant parents and announces, in all his garb, that he is a captain. His parents reply, “Son, to your mother you’re a captain. To your father, you’re a captain. But to a captain…you’re no captain!” This story sheds light on the events that occurred right after Israel became a state, 75 years ago. In the weeks after it declared itself a state, she was battling her enemies on all fronts and was sorely in need of weapons. Sailing towards Tel Aviv was a ship carrying the weapons it needed. Unfortunately, this ship, the Altalena, was under the control of the Irgun, a right-wing Jewish group commanded by Menachem Begin. Although the state had been declared, the Irgun had refused to give up its arms and take direction from the Israel Defense Forces. David Ben Gurion then made a decision that would be the hardest of his career. Ben Gurion ordered his junior officer, Yitzchak Rabin, to go to Tel Aviv and sink the Altalena, weapons and all. And Rabin did just that. Why? Why kill other Jews and forfeit the desperately needed weapons? Because having a state means you have one army and one government. That’s the price of power. You don’t receive a state. You earn one. 

Wed, February 21 2024 12 Adar I 5784