Israel needs Another Chanukah Miracle—Pray for Rain!

Israel needs another Chanukah Miracle. If you have tuned into the news then you have heard that there is a raging fire in northern Israel. We had an extremely hot summer and the winter rains, which are usually in high gear by now, have not come. This is a fire is burning out of control. Already nearly 50 people are dead. We need rain. We need a miracle.

In between the time I sent out a cute Chanukah greeting this morning and the present, Israel has experienced her worst national disaster ever—and there is no end in site. The Prime Minister has declared a day of mourning for tomorrow.

“If we don’t get foreign assistance tonight, I doubt we will be able to control fire, and it will stop only at shores of the Mediterranean,” warned Haifa firefighter spokesman Hezi Levi. (jpost.com)

Take a moment right now and pray for rain in Israel. We know from scripture that rain is a blessing from heaven (Det. 11:14), and that when there is no rain, it can be a sign of judgment as in the days of Elijah and Ahab. Living in Israel, there is no question that as a nation we have forsaken the Lord. Now is the time for the Body of Believers to stand in the gap for her fallen elder brother, Israel. May your prayers not only bring physical rain, but spirtual as well. “And so, all Israel shall be saved.” (Rom. 11:26)

Lord, have mercy on Your people Israel.


My Islamic Encounter—Political Correctness gone wild!

“How I am I supposed to feel when I hear this?”

That was what a young Muslim girl asked me at the conclusion of a speech I gave for the Richmond Justice Initiative at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was objecting to the fact that I pointed out that Islamic extremists are some of the worst offenders when it comes modern day slavery.

I told the story of the young lady I met in the Addis Ababa airport in Ethiopia almost three years ago. Joy and her husband were both working in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is supposedly one of the freer Islamic cities. I guess that is the case if you are a western businessman. But for two black Africans it can be different. They were woken in the middle of the night by non-uniformed police and arrested. Despite being married Jeff was charged with rape and Joy was charged with prostitution. They were both sentenced to six years in prison.

Only when they agreed to convert to Islam were they given the chance of freedom. Even this took three years. Joy’s ability to memorize large passages of the Koran made her a valuable asset that Imams were fighting over. She was paraded before crowds, where she would joylessly recite the Koran even though she did not understand Arabic. Once released, she was told she must go back to Uganda and work for the cause of Islam.

When she found out that she would be reciting the Koran in the presence of Muammar Gaddafi (and the Imam asked her to lie to Gaddafi and say she was his daughter), she fled Uganda, under the threat of death, seeking refuge in Singapore. She was denied and had to return to Uganda and that is when I ran into a terrified young lady who knew she could be returning to her death. I was able to pray with her a pray of salvation and connect her with believers in Uganda. But to this day, she lives in fear.

I also shared how in Sudan, Arab Muslims persecute the dark skinned Dinkas with disfigurement, rape, slavery and death. I also spoke about how so called Christians once persecuted Jews with the threat of expulsion and death. 30,000 Jewish converts to Catholicism were burned at the stake by the church for the ‘purification of their souls’ during the Inquisitions. I made the point that largely white audience’s ancestors likely owned slaves.

However the young lady didn’t hear that. She simply wanted to condemn me for mentioning that Muslims own slaves, as if I was saying all Muslims own slaves.

I knew this would happen. While I was preparing I could feel the spirit of intimidation try and come upon me. Despite the fact that Islamic suicide bombers kill fellow Muslims by the hundreds, not to mention the attacks on non-Muslims, there is so much pressure put on the West not to say anything negative out of fear of offending non-violent Muslims. (Or fear of offending violent ones!)

I knew I was speaking on a college campus where young minds are typically manipulated by naïve left-leaning professors. I chose not to care. I chose to speak the truth.

This is how I responded to the young lady after the meeting: Why is it whenever moderate Muslims speak out it is rarely against Islamic extremism and nearly always about being stereotyped? If there were more moderate Muslims speaking out against extremism, slavery, sexual abuse and domestic abuse, then she would not be stereotyped, but applauded.

It is possible that she came to that meeting with the intention of bringing up this issue. It is not the first time a well-spoken Muslim college student showed up an event where I was speaking. Whether she was sent by an organization or not, I don’t know, but this is standard practice. The goal is to portray the Muslim American community as persecuted.

Portrait of soon to be wed Faiz Mohammed, 40, and Ghulam Haider, 11, at her home in a rural village of Damarda in Ghor province.

Let me tell you who is persecuted:

  • The Muslim pre-teen who is sold by her father to be the bride of someone much older.
  • The 12-year old child bride who was raped and forced to use drugs.[i]
  • Teenaged Afghan boys who become sex-toys for older Muslim men (even the raping of young boys is sanctioned among many Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest tribe). [ii]

It is not moderate Muslims in America that are persecuted, who yell racist and islamaphobe when Americans protest a mosque next to Ground Zero, and say virtually nothing about their own people who are being tortured and raped or sold as a teenaged brides.

This young Muslim lady told me how sad it was that Americans jumped to the conclusion that it was a Muslim who bombed Oklahoma City. I told her it was a reasonable hypothesis based on the fact that most of the people blowing up people and buildings in the world are doing it in the name of Islam. It turned out we were wrong, but based on the prior acts of Islamic extremists it was a reasonable assumption. She had no response.

A student came up to me afterward to try and explain why we shouldn’t share such things or seek different ways to communicate it or…to be honest, I don’t what she was trying to say, but it was clear that she felt bad for the Muslim girl. I felt for this student. She is a victim of a politically correct culture that has no problem attacking believers in Jesus, but tiptoe around issues surrounding the most violent, abusive people on earth.

Joy Behar can use filthy language on-air to describe another female running for the Senate, but walks out on Bill O’Reily for a comment about Islam. What is wrong with us?

I told this young lady about Rauda—an Israeli Arab who helped Elana clean our apartment a few years back. Rauda would regularly show up with black eyes from her abusive husband—and he’s not even what we would call extremist, he is just the product of a culture that allow men to beat their wives. He is a moderate! You can actually find Muslims on YouTube teaching—get ready for this…—the proper way to beat your wife![iii]

Where are the women’s groups? Where is the outrage? Where is the condemnation?

I asked the student who was concerned for the Muslim girl, “Who should I defend? The young lady who enjoys every freedom in America and yet is offended or Rauda whose husband punches her in the face?” These idealistic young students have no idea what it is like to grow up in Afghanistan, where if you are not part of right tribe, you are treated like garbage. While their fathers are paying their college tuition, fathers in other nations are selling their daughters as child-brides—often to someone who already has one or two wives. While they weep for the poor offended American moderate Muslims—who are also ignorant to these truths—who weeps for the child brides, rape victims and those enslaved by Muslims?

If moderate Muslims do not want to be stereotyped then they must become the most vocal critics against extremism. Instead of building mosques at Ground Zero, they should be doing everything they can to combat radicalism. Instead, they spend most of their energy making sensitive Americans feel guilty for even mentioning the fact that Islamic extremism is a problem. Instead of condemning the West for bringing up the issue, and they must join with us in condemning terror and extremism.

How vogue it is to lift your voice today against the injustices of the world, but just don’t mention the fact Islam is behind much of them. And sadly, not all Muslims who owns a slave in Afghanistan or rapes a young lady (or young man) in Darfur or beats their wife in Syria are extremists. Some of them are simply the end result of a culture that places a low value on human life.

We have no idea how amazing it is to live in a culture where it is generally believed that “all men are created equal.” Are there any more powerful words in any American document?

To be clear, there are heroic Muslim Arabs in Sudan who have risked their lives to rescue black-skinned Dinkas from slavery, by purchasing them from other Arabs. These are called slave redemptions. Sadly these heroes are few and far between—a needle in a haystack.

We must refuse to submit to political correctness that demands that we say nothing about negative Islam and the worldwide injustices against women and children. We must call on the so-called moderate Muslim community to join the fight in combating these abuses.  Yes, you will make enemies. Yes, it is dangerous—but only then will non-Muslim Americans believe you are sincere, and furthermore you will gain our respect.

This is what I privately challenged the young Arab-American student to do as we continued to talk after the symposium. Our conversation ended quite pleasant, with her wishing me success in my ministry. But she is not my only concern. As Americans we must not be afraid to speak the truth. America was built of freedom of speech and this young lady wasn’t afraid to use hers. Will you?


May I have your Daughter’s Hand in Marriage?

I have three daughters. I look forward to the day when each one will get married. I pray regularly for the young men that God is preparing for them. So as a father, you can imagine why the story of Ann Hasseltine, and how her husband asked for her hand in marriage, affects me so deeply. Adonirum Judson was the first American missionary to the Far East. Before he left the shores of the US for India, and then ultimately Burma, he asked Ann’s father for permission to be a suitor.

Adonirum Judson tells Ann Hasseltine's father that she will never see him again.

Adonirum was completely consumed with taking the message of Yeshua to the Far East. He had been training for years to this end. In June of 1812, on the same day in which he presented himself to his missionary board to serve overseas, he met Ann—and was smitten.

In his letter to Ann’s father he wrote:

I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteous, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?

TO SEE HER NO MORE IN THIS WORLD! Can you imagine? This poor father had to choose between keeping his daughter close by and safe or allowing her to pursue the call of God. At least Adonirum was honest. In the end Mr. Hasseltine allowed his daughter to  decide. She wrote in a letter to her friend Lydia Kymball of her decision:

I feel willing, and expect, if nothing in Providence prevents, to spend my days in this world in heathen lands. Yes, Lydia, I have about, come to the determination to give up all my comforts and enjoyments here, sacrifice my affection to relatives and friends, and go where God, in his Providence, shall see fit to place me.”

WOW! This reminds me of the words of the apostle Paul who referred to stonings and imprisonments as light and momentary afflictions that were achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Cor. 4:17). Paul endured the cruelest hardships in order to get the message of the gospel to those who had never heard it.

The Jewish rabbi wrote: “Woe is me, if I preach not the gospel of Messiah.” (1 Cor. 9:16) He was compelled to go, but that did not mean he did not suffer. In fact, he seems to say that the suffering that he endured to get the gospel to others actually released the life of God to those who were lost.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. (2 Cor. 4:10-12)

We often think that to obey God, to be in His will, means we will always be sheltered from suffering. This certainly was not the experience of Paul and it was not the experience of young Ann.

Indeed Ann Hasseltine’s decision to become Mrs. Judson proved fatal in this world. She miscarried her first child. The second, Roger, died before his first birthday. And shortly after her third, Maria, was born Ann died of smallpox. Maria followed her to eternity before she was six months old.

But her decision also proved to bear much fruit. In all she spent 14 years on the mission field. Before email lists and blogs, she wrote of her life on the mission field and her calling as a missionary’s wife. Her letters were published in the United States. She translated the books of Daniel and Jonah into Burmese and Matthew into Thai (the first evangelical to translate any of the scriptures into Thai).

Her husband persevered with Ann at his side and after her death. Yes, it took him three years before he shared the gospel with his first Burmese. Another year before he dare preach in a public meeting. After a decade he had only 18 converts. He was still far away from his goal of 100.

But he pressed on and in the end, not only did he compile a English/Burmese dictionary, but translated the New Testament into Burmese. Instead of hitting his goal of 100 converts, he planted 100 churches with 8,000 converts.

His dear Ann only saw the beginnings of this great work, but she was always there for him. When he was imprisoned for seventeen months she lived alone in a shack outside the prison so she could care for him. She was all in as they say in the poker world—but for the gospel.

I don’t think we are all called to follow in the footsteps of Ann Hasseltine Judson. We can only do what we are called to do and have grace to do. But we should honor her memory and be inspired by her witness to fulfill the call of God on our lives.


End Human Trafficking and Prostitution in Israel!

There is a restaurant just north of Tel Aviv near the beach that Elana and I like to visit. Just about 200 meters from the restaurant stand prostitutes on the side of the road. Prostitution is actually legal in the Holy Land. Their customers know where to find them. And amazingly many of their customers are the most religious among us.

A Prostitute in Tel Aviv

While most orthodox Jews do not engage in prostitution, you might be shocked to know that the prostitution market in Israel is defined by three groups: Foreign workers, Arabs and Orthodox Jews. That’s right. An Orthodox Jew is not allowed to have relations with his wife for a minimum of 12 days after the beginning of her monthly cycle. He can receive a temporary divorce that somehow allows him to use a foreign prostitute.

Please don’t ask me to explain how that makes sense or is biblically justified. It is absolutely disgusting. He is forbidden to masturbate, but is allowed to temporarily divorce his wife and visit a prostitute. Often a prostitute is being held against her will or addicted to drugs that she can only get from her pimp. Sometimes she has been trafficked in from another country.

I am going to assume that this is just as disgusting to most orthodox Jews, as it is to me, but there are enough ‘customers’ out there that participate in this crime that the demand for more prostitutes remains steady. That includes those who willingly participate and those who do so against their will. The video below is about those who are seeking to make prostitution illegal here.


Black Sabbath or Typical Saturday?

We were on our way to service on Shabbat. It’s always a nice feeling when you know you are going to be on time to the meeting (not that being late to a service has ever caused family stress…eh). Suddenly all the traffic stopped on the Ayalon. The Ayalon is one of Israel’s major interstates that starts in Herzilya, goes through Tel Aviv and ends just south of Jaffa.

Tel Aviv Traffic on Saturday Morning

It is not normal for traffic to be at a standstill on a Saturday morning. In addition to the fact that nobody works, a large minority of the country won’t drive on the Sabbath.  So that meant one of two things: A traffic accident or a havila hashuda (a suspicious package). It turned out to be the latter.

In Israel, any time one leaves a package, a book bag or what appears to be a bag of groceries unattended, the police are likely to be called.  About ten years ago my sister-n-law walked out of her apartment building and noticed an unattended bag. She called the police and within minutes the roads were blocked off and the bomb unit was called in. Fortunately it was nothing.

And thank God that in recent years terrorism has fallen dramatically (not for lack of desire, but because of the security fence that the whole world rails against). But on this Saturday, with temperatures in the 90s, realizing that I would be late to service, needing gas, I had to wonder how long I would be stuck there and if there was indeed a bomb.

Of course I was confident it wasn’t because most of the time it isn’t. But in a country that is so used


Israeli Robot to Deal with Bombs

to terrorism, you can’t let anything slide. And for me personally, after the death of my young cousin, Daniel Cantor Wultz, a few Passovers ago, when a terrorist’s bomb ripped through his backside, things changed. You can’t think anymore, “It could never touch me,” because it has.

I got out of my car like many others and began to walk down the highway towards the roadblock. I asked someone “Ma Kore?” (What’s going on?). “Havila Hashuda,” came the reply. As I walked back someone asked me the same thing and I gave the same answer. He was wearing a Black Sabbath T-shirt. Now there is irony I thought.  Is this indeed going to be a Black Sabbath?

My Traffic-Mate with the Black Sabbath T-Shirt

Suddenly, the bomb squad pulled away and we all jumped back in our cars and began to move. This would not be a Black Sabbath after all, just a typical episode in Israeli life. Suspicious package, bomb scare, stopped traffic, bomb squad…wait…continue.


Youtube Weddings: How do they fare after the viral video?

One of my favorite shows of all time is Law and Order. It is mostly clean and usually the good guys win. However that was not my attraction. It was the courtroom drama. After a few seasons of the second longest drama series in television history, I became a pretty good ‘TV lawyer.’ I knew when to object, when the lawyer was leading a witness and when the attorneys would begin to make a case to the jury, disguising it as a question to the witness. “Objection,” I would sometimes blurt out.

 

Cast of Law and Order

 

Now imagine if I took this casual experience and wanted to practice law for real—if I went to Israeli Bar and told them of my qualifications. They would laugh me out of the building. You can’t get a law degree because you watched a television show.

ER was another long running drama about the intensity of the Emergency Room, and like Law and Order, no amount of watching ER would prepare you to even draw blood from a patient. No, you must study for nearly a decade before you can practice medicine, and even then, under close supervision.

Yet when it comes to marriage, not only do we not prepare young couples for the ups and downs that come with living with another human being, sleeping in the same bed, eating together, paying bills, etc, but we don’t have any example from pop culture that is even close to helpful. Desperate Housewives cheating with neighbors (I assume, I have never actually watched an episode) and now we have the award winning Modern Family. In this way too Modern for me Family, a middle-aged fellow is married to a Colombian woman half his age that has a preteen. His son, who is gay, lives with his partner, and they have adopted a Vietnamese baby.

It is not wonder that statistics say that 50% of all marriages in the US will end in divorce. Honestly, I think it is a miracle that anyone stays together who doesn’t proactively seek counsel and advice on marriage life.

Last night we started teaching a series in Hebrew at our congregation, Terefet Yeshua in Tel Aviv, on The Five Languages of Love by Dr. Gary Chapman (If you haven’t read it, READ IT!). In the middle of the class I showed a video that has gone ‘viral’ as the kids say on YouTube, showing the father of the bride and his new son-in-law singing L’Chaiyim from Fiddler on the Roof. It is very cute and the couple truly appears to be in love.

 

One of the best books young couples can read.

 

But that was not my point. Most weddings are exciting. Everyone is celebrating, toasting, laughing and dancing. “Do you realize that as excited as that young couple appears today, there is a 50% chance that they will get divorced?” I soberly shared with the class. We put so much emphasis on the wedding day and nearly no emphasis on the married life.

Normally you get your reward at the end. Do we give diplomas to first graders? Do we let would be pilots fly jets on their first day of school? Or give a scalpel to a college freshman that is premed? Only in marriage do we over stress the ceremony and under stress what it takes to succeed.

Now before you assume that this simply the ranting of a father of three daughters that simply wants to get out of paying for three weddings, let me say that I am not against the wedding celebration. But I am fighting for more intentional, focused preparation for young couples that want to get married.

Again, it takes nearly ten years to get your medical degree, and no one even gives us a book to read before we get married. The only test you need to get a marriage license is a blood test (to make sure you don’t have AIDS). “But Ron, a doctor has the responsibility of life and death!” Hello! Have you ever seen the emotionally damaged children that come from a dysfunctional family? Proverbs says the earth trembles when a married woman is unloved. Go to a prison and find out the percentage of violent criminals that grew up in a affirming, loving home with a mother and a father. This is a life and death issue!

Young couples need to meet with a professional who can help them deal with their emotional baggage (we all have some!) BEFORE they get married. You see, these things are not typically revealed during the dating process when everyone is on there best behavior, but sooner or later, if not dealt with, emotional baggage, wrong understanding of marriage and marriage roles, not knowing how to deal with stress and not knowing how to express your spouses love language (READ THE BOOK…PLEASE) can wreck a marriage.

Yes, two people who look so happy on YouTube can come to the point where they hate each other, as they peer at one another across the conference table at the divorce lawyer’s office. But they don’t have to. A little training, accountability and humility can go a long way to creating a happy marriage.

And if you think it is bad in America, it is worse in Israel. While the Israeli divorce rate is slightly less than that in America, adultery is most likely much higher. With so many holidays here there is much more emphasis on being a family, but almost no training on what that family is supposed to be like. Shouting is the norm when trying to make a point. There is tremendous dysfunction in so many families. And for that reason we started this course, so at least the believers we know can began to improve their marriages.

There is no doubt that Elana and I are a work in progress, far from perfect. We had very little training when we first were married, but we have had wonderful mentors over the years to help us work through difficulties. Most people don’t. And if they do go to get help, society makes them feel ashamed—as if they have failed when in fact, the opposite is true. Couples who receive counseling are far more likely to survive than those who don’t and those who receive concrete premarital counseling are 31% less likely to divorce.

Here is a thought: What if it became tradition that every married couple received another wedding reception at 25 years and then again at 50. Just as it makes more sense to congratulate a high-schooler upon graduation than it does on his first day of kindergarten, maybe we should seek ways of highlighting those couples who have stood the test of time and maintained a happy, vibrant, exciting marriage. Just a thought…


Ode to Abe and the Exodus

“No Ron, you mean Moses, not Abraham.” No, I mean Abe.

Abe Pollen

Growing up in Richmond you had to choose your sports teams based on the geography, meaning we had no sports teams of our own (other than the AAA Braves). In basketball I was a 76’ers fan as Philly wasn’t that far away, but once I moved to Washington I began to root for the Bullets. In 1995 owner Abe Pollin decided that the name was too violent—especially with the growing homicide rate in DC. The final straw was when his longtime friend, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.

A contest followed to find a new name (And quite honestly I came up the best name. It was obvious. You are in Washington; basketball players are tall, duh! The Washington Monuments! Right?). They went with a ridiculous name that has nothing to do with Washington—the Wizards.

Abe Pollin died this year. He will be remembered mostly for being the owner of the Wizards, Mystics and Capitols, but when I heard of his death the first thing that came to my mind was a story I heard him tell at a memorial service for Prime Minister Rabin in 1995.

“[O]ne day [my father] said, ‘Son, I’m taking you to a meeting downtown.’ I said, ‘Where are we going?’ He said, ‘I can’t tell you right now, but you’ll see.’

“So we went downtown to an office where a Middle Eastern-looking guy was guarding the door. I found out later that he and others were from the Hagana, the Jewish military organization that fought for Israel’s creation.

The ship "Af-Al-Pi-Chen", which sought to run the British blockade, tried to bring 434 immigrants to the country, now is home to the Museum of Clandestine Immigration in Haifa.

“Inside the meeting were about 20 leaders of the Washington Jewish Community. They locked the door and said, ‘Nobody leaves here until we raise the money.’ The next morning they bought an old steamship which was in the port of Baltimore, and renamed it the Exodus.”

The Exodus was the most famous of all the clandestine or illegal immigration ships that sought to bring Jews from Europe during and just after the Holocaust to British Mandate Palestine.[i] One of the ships, The Af-Al-Pi-Chen (In Spite Of…), which sought to break through the British blockade with 434 passengers, was one of 116 such ships of every shape and size that tried to offload their human cargo in pre-Israel Palestine. It is the only ship that is still in existence and houses the Museum of Clandestine Immigration in Haifa.

Over 100,000 Jews tried to escape the Holocaust of Europe through clandestine immigration. Most of them, like the passengers of the Af-Al-Pi-Chen, were taken in internment camps in Cyprus. How ironic that the same British that were seeking to defeat the Nazis who were imprisoning Jews in concentration camps, were taking Jews who escaped or survived the Holocaust and putting them in similar conditions.

The reason Jews could not freely immigrate and start a new life in the ancient Jewish homeland was because, even as Hitler was getting started in his final solution, Great Britain passed their own solution to Jewish immigration, the White Paper of 1939. It stated that from 1939-1944 only 75,000 Jews (out of 11,000,000 in Europe) would be allowed to immigrate to Palestine and after that, immigration would be allowed only with Arab consent. Oil was more precious than Jewish blood.

On July 11th, 1947, three years after Britain closed off immigration to Jews, the newly named Exodus that Abe Pollin’s father and friends raised the money to buy in Baltimore, set sail from France with 4,515 Holocaust survivors for Israel.

The Exodus is the most famous of all the ships that tried to smuggle Holocaust survivors into Palestine.

“The ship sailed from the port of Site, near Marseilles, on July 11, 1947, with 4,515 immigrants, including 655 children, on board. As soon as it left the territorial waters of France, British destroyers accompanied it. On July 18, near the coast of Palestine but outside territorial waters, the British rammed the ship and boarded it, while the immigrants put up a desperate defense. Two immigrants and a crewman were killed in the battle, and 30 were wounded. The ship was towed to Haifa, where the immigrants were forced onto deportation ships bound for France. At Port-de-Bouc, in southern France, the would-be immigrants remained in the ships’ holds for 24 days during a heat wave, refusing to disembark despite the shortage of food, the crowding and the abominable sanitary conditions. The French government refused to force them off the boat. Eventually, the British decided to return the would-be immigrants to Germany, and on August 22 the ship left for the port of Hamburg, then in the British occupation zone. The immigrants were forcibly taken off and transported to two camps near Lubeck.

“Journalists who covered the dramatic struggle described to the entire world the heartlessness and cruelty of the British. World public opinion was outraged and the British changed their policy. Illegal immigrants were not sent back to Europe; they were instead transported to detention camps in Cyprus.

“The majority of the passengers on the Exodus 1947 settled in Israel, though some had to wait until after the establishment of the State of Israel.”[ii]

The Exodus served as one of several events that turned British public opinion against their government’s presence in the dangerous Middle East, and shortly thereafter Great Britain turned Palestine over to the UN, who voted a few months later on November 29th to allow the creation of a Jewish State. (They also allowed for the creation for an Arab State next to it, but the Arabs turned it down and attacked the new nation of Israel instead.)

Abe Pollin’s legacy should not only include winning an NBA championship in 1978, but he should also be remembered for making a contribution in winning Israel’s independence.


[i] It is important to note that the name Palestine had nothing to with an Arab ethnicity. It was a name that the Roman’s borrowed from the ancient Philistines, when they renamed Judea as Palestine. There has never been a country called Palestine, there is no language called Palestinian. The people who called themselves Palestinian today are Arabs, no different ethnically from Jordanians or Syrians. When I use this name I am referring to pre-1948 Israel.

[ii] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Immigration/exodus.html