It is impossible to ignore the tragedy that struck Israel last week, when two helicopter collided and 73 soldiers were killed. In the days thatfollowed, I heard many people speak about the reasons for the tragedy. And despite all the official statements and declarations that were made by both secular and religious spokesmen which tried to deny any connection between the accident and anything else; despite all attempts not to attach significance to the event as something more than “chance” or “bad luck” -the Israeli people weren’t buying it. On radio Station 1, I listened to open calls, where people called in and offered their feelings and insights. I was amazed that at least during the time I was listening, 90% of the callers insisted on attaching some kind of religious significance to the tragedy, speaking on the need for a return to “tsheuva”, etc.
My amazement derived from the fact that this was the dominant attitude DESPITE the fact that all the massive media propaganda and all the political and military figures attempted with all their might and with all the tool sat their disposal, to convey precisely the opposite message! Even prominent rabbis and Chief rabbis outdid themselves (and out of “kavod”, I will not mention the name of this prominent rabbi) in interview after interview, to serve the interest of the media – that is, not to attach any special meaning to the tragedy. Sure, they mourned abundantly for the dead. But they constantly emphasized that there is nothing to learn from this, and it is simply the fate of the Jewish People from generation to generation, etc., etc. In short, they said nothing. It is particularly fascinating that after an interview with this same rabbinical personality, Amram Mitznah, the mayor of Haifa called him up to thank him. Think about that. What is there to thank him about? Is it not a bit strange? But the answer is clear. Mitznah knows full well that the Jewish masses are essentially still believers, and cannot help but try to find a reason for such an occurrence. He knows that for a tragedy such as this when the Jewish People see a need to call for a day of national mourning, he has absolutely no message for them. After all, for the Jewish People, the people of G-d, things don’t happen for nothing. There has to be a reason. A fellow like Mitznah is frightened by this. He is frightened by the connections and significance the people are liable to attach to this. Perhaps he, himself has internal conflicts on the subject. And so he thanks the man who redeemed him from his affliction, with a religious “seal and signature” to boot…
I, myself, am not ready to a rise and say that tragedy X happened because of deed Y. I don’t think that it is possible to do such a thing. But I do know that the instinct amongst the people that things don’t just happen is a correct one. I know that there is a G-d in the heavens Who loves us and also afflicts us when we do not go in the proper way. I know that G-d wants to awaken us, and that he sometimes awakens us through difficult measures. I also know that tragedies such as these awaken us, though may not always cause us in the long run to change our ways. I know that G-d wants for us to believe in Him, but we do not always believe in Him enough, because we depend on so many others – especially the gentiles – instead of believing in His Omnipotence.
But there is something else that must be said, and I can’t understand how it is ignored. Actually, I know why it is ignored. Why did the soldiers fly in the helicopters over Lebanon in the first place? After all, they were not on some special mission. They were soldiers coming back from a break, returning to bolster the army posts in Lebanon. It was something that much more easily and cheaply could have been done on the ground. But a new policy had been revealed to us. The policy was to fly as many soldiers as possible to Lebanon, so that they would not be exposed to land mines and ambushes of the Hizbollah. In other words: The government of Israel fears the gentile reaction, and refuses as all past administrations have refused, to get rid of the cancer in Lebanon, in the Jewish way. That is, to uproot the Hizbollah and the villages. I will say it again – to uproot all the villages from the security zone and to drive the population northward, solving the problem once and for all. (We not only saw how this was possible when Begin and Sharon did it 16 years ago, but even Peres unwillingly did it during operation “Grapes of Wrath”) In contrast to what they babble, it IS possible to solve the problem. But we refuse to. And so, if until now we had “bypass roads” in the territories, we have now adopted the same methods in Lebanon – except now the bypass route is through the air. Yes, the Jewish brain is surely working overtime.
As with all problems, bypassing this problem not only does not solve the problem, but makes it much, much worse. One of the newspaper articles wrote short biographies about the soldiers who had been killed. One of these soldiers, whose name was Asaf, made the following remark to his friends about the new policy of flying in soldiers by helicopter instead of by tanks into Lebanon: “It will only be a matter of time before the Hizbollah shoots one of our helicopters down. You’ll see.” Words that bring goosebumps, especially when considering what happened to Asaf. Was Asaf a prophet? No. Asaf was a normal Jew, and he understood what his leading commanders and the politicians do not. You try to run away from a land mine which kills a few? The same Asaf knew: The Hizbollah will eventually shoot down a plane with many. Running away from a war is never effective. This Asaf understood. And not just on this issue. According to what Asaf’s friends tell about him, he wasn’t smitten with the phony humanism which Israelis are constantly brainwashed with. His dream, they said, was to kill a terrorist. And now Asaf has fallen with tens of his friends, because G-d sent us a message via this helicopter crash. Will we finally understand? I sincerely have my doubts.
Tragedies are sent by G-d to warn and awaken us. He who states otherwise denies G-d’s supervision (“hashgacha”) over this world. G-d wants us to believe in Him, and not to trust in the gentile.