On 4 July 1976, Israel Defense Forces saved the lives of 104 Jews hostages held by terrorists at Entebbe Airport, Uganda.
The Avner Institute is pleased to present a wonderful letter sent by the Rebbe to a Chabad supporter in Cleveland, Ohio, in which the Rebbe explains the lessons to be learned from the miraculous victory of Operation Entebbe.
Greeting and Blessing:
I just received your letter with enclosure. It was gratifying to read the good news that you succeeded in inducing the Federation to make an initial grant to the Chabad House in your city, thus breaking the ice, as it were, in getting it to begin to move towards supporting Torah-true Chinuch. Here my thoughts turn to the recent miraculous rescue of the hostages from Uganda. One cannot fail to note the extraordinary aspects at both ends of the hijacking. On the one hand, the ease with which the four terrorists hijacked the airbus in Athens, and on the other, the extraordinary success of the rescue operation.
In other words, both the initial crisis and the eventual delivery clearly point to the hand of G-d. And while every Jew is grateful to, and admires the mesirat nefesh of the brave rescuers, we must not lose sight even for a moment of the warning and lesson at the bottom of it all, not just in regard to the danger of hijacking in the ordinary sense but, even more importantly, In regard to the “spiritual hijacking” of so many of our younger generation by alien and freakish cultures which, unfortunately, capture so many of our innocent boys and girls in Eretz Yisrael as well as in the Diaspora. With all anxiety and love which welled up in every Jewish heart for those unfortunate hostages at Entebbe Airport – surely no less concern should be shown for the spiritual hostages that are abducted daily, and no less mesirat nefesh, to save them. It is also particularly painful to contemplate the secularized education to considerable segments of Jewish youth in the land which even the nations of the world recognize as the Holy Land, where one would have reason to expect that all Jewish children would be brought up in an atmosphere of holiness befitting that Holy Land.
It is for this reason that our Chabad people in Eretz Yisrael and everywhere else have undertaken special rescue operations in the area of Jewish education. May the zechut of the participation in this work stand you in good stead in all your affairs, particularly to have ever-truer nachat from all your near and dear ones. Last but not least, I was gratified to note that you commemorated the passing of your late wife, of blessed memory, by publishing one of our Holy Scriptures, the Book of Ruth, with a commentary, and with selected Midrashim of our Rabbis, our teachers, for all generations, in a way that makes it accessible to those who need chinuch and inspiration.
With blessing, [Sign.]