JACOB CHAPTERS

JACOB CHAPTERS

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JACOB

THE MOSSAD MOTTO

Where no counsel is, the people fall,
but in the multitude of counselors
there is safety.
Proverbs 11:14

Chapter 1

On September 13, 1935, Adolph Hitler ordered civil servants of the Interior Ministry to draft certain laws for him to bring to the floor of the Reichstag and on September 15 he presented the two laws—known as the Nuremberg Laws. The laws, among other things, deprived so-called non-Aryans of the benefits of German citizenship.

In his speech before the Reichstag, Hitler said: Bitter complaints have come in… citing the provocative behavior of Jews... we have no choice but to contain the problem through legislative measures… if this [law] attempt fails, it will be necessary to transfer [the Jewish problem]… to the National Socialist Party for a final solution…

Hitler's racist beliefs, which elevated “pure-blooded” Germans to the level of “masters” of the earth, quickly began playing out in vicious ways. Kristallnacht arrived on November 9, 1938 and by 1939 the ovens were being heated.

Chapter 2

On September 19, 1935, Hersh and Aliza Asch secretly fled Germany in the secondary emigration (the Aliyah Bet or Ha’apalah) and arrived on December 19 in the land eventually to be called Israel.

The family managed the grueling walk from Germany south through France to the coast, mostly hiding by day and walking at night. Much of their passage was taken up by scrounging for scraps of food and looking for places to safely hole up and sleep. When they finally arrived at the coast, they were put in touch with smugglers and eventually acquired passage on a boat that was secretly carrying escapees and they finally landed about twenty miles north of Haifa. They walked to the city with others in the dark of the nights, hid away with sympathizers for several days, and finally took up life in their new country. The trip took them three agonizing months. Their daughter Libi was born en route.

Hersh lived up to the meaning of his Yiddish name, “deer,” as he always seemed to be moving quietly from place to place gathering sustenance, whether food and other supplies or information. As a professor of languages, he was prized and he quickly advanced to the fledgling Tel Aviv University.

Aliza, “joyful” in Hebrew, always did seem to find joy in life. Even during the terrible purges in Germany when they were driven to escape, and having to make the grueling journey while pregnant and then carrying a new-born, she could be counted on to see “the glass half full” and to be thankful for it.

Aliza chose the name Libi, Hebrew for “my heart,” for their daughter who was born on their arduous journey from Germany. With so many things having fallen apart for them in the life they had begun, Libi truly was their heart and joy.

Adir, “strong” or “mighty” in Hebrew, was born in 1939 and quickly took up his job of discovering life. He was an inquisitive youngster and his name reflected his strong will. He did thoroughly enjoy life.

While the family didn’t put too much stock in the old Hebrew manner of naming children for something they hoped they would grow into, they did pick names they felt already expressed their feelings for the children.

When Jacob was born in June 1942, they certainly didn’t expect him to follow in his ancient forefather’s footsteps, but both Hersh and Aliza had a strange feeling that this child would be a warrior for his country. Thus Jacob started his life with a direction that was pointed out to him often, and his training from his earliest days prepared and guided him toward following that direction.

As the family lived through the turbulent times of the late 1930s and early ‘40s, they watched the progress of the tiny gathering of Hebrew refugees and the gradual growth of a new nation. As Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion and others continued to press the world and the British for the establishment of a “state” that would be Jewish and that would encompass the ancient Hebrew homelands, they devoured the news every day and watched the developments.

At 4 P.M. on May 14, 1948, Jacob was sitting by the family’s tiny radio when he heard the news that David Ben-Gurion, standing under the portrait of Theodor Hertzl, the founder of modern political Zionism, meeting in the old Tel Aviv Museum of Art building on Rothschild St. in Tel Aviv, had declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The ceremony had begun with the singing of HaTikvah, the national anthem.

At first, Jacob sat stunned with the news for several moments. Then the six-year-old boy simply began screaming, and his family came running.

Ben-Gurion became Prime Minister of the new state. Both superpower leaders, U.S. President Harry Truman (despite the objections by Secretary of State George Marshall and the entire State Department) and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin immediately recognized the new state. And within days, war broke out with the Arabs as the armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq invaded, hoping to annihilate the new Jewish state.

As Jacob continued to listen to the news day and night, a feeling was welling up in him that he did not understand at the time. But, it could be expressed as he grew older in four words: My home. My country. Those words would continue with him throughout his life.

Chapter 3

When Jacob was four his parents enrolled him in a neighborhood pre-school. All the basic pre-school subjects were taught, as well as the beginnings of rich Jewish history and a solid religious background. At home, his parents taught him more of the same and he grew well in the knowledge the school and his parents gave him.

His parents placed him in a tiny yeshiva when he was five, located at the synagogue the family attended. The rabbi, of course, carried on the religious instruction that had come up through the ages, however, the chazzans, or instructors, of the modern age brought out the world and national histories, the sciences and mathematics and the rest of modern studies.

The new school system came into being around 1948, and when Jacob was eight his parents moved him into one of the new state religious primary schools. While religious studies were still a major influence in his life, the newer schools also brought in all the studies modern Jewish parents knew their children would need to succeed in the rapidly changing world.

Jacob learned his lessons well but did not seem inclined to move into serious religious training that would perhaps lead him to become a rabbi. He excelled in math, languages, science and history, and his knowledge of world events was fostered by long hours late at night listening to the little family radio. He often surprised the instructors with not only his knowledge of what was going on around the world but his real understanding of those events. His ability to link them together and, especially, to understand how they affected the development and future of Israel kept the instructors amazed and often caused them to make cryptic remarks in his school file.

Jacob always did well in most sports but it was apparent they were not a driving force for him. He was able to be very athletic when called on, but was usually a team player and never showed inclinations to be the leader or the victor over all. He could, though, read the actions of others, especially his opponents, and could often be seen giving ideas to the teams he played with that led to victories. Again, his instructors regularly made remarks in his files about his abilities and possible future directions.

When Jacob was ten, one of the instructors began a special exercise class for the school children. It was mostly basic stretching exercises and calisthenics, but every once in a while he added some more complex activities. The children were then paired off with each other and practiced the boxing-type movements that gradually developed into, unbeknownst to the children, the precursors of judo and karate. The instructor guided them slowly and carefully, never letting them get into any actual sparring. The actions were always described as exercise.

Jacob, however, took to the special exercises as if he had been born with the skills. After only a short time, his movements became smooth and precise and were automatic instead of having to be thought out. It was at this time the instructor took the few who were especially proficient aside and offered them a special class outside of school hours. Those who accepted met before school and rapidly became immersed in the study and practice of real judo and karate and eventually aikido.

At the age of twelve, Jacob was the top student of the instructor and he loved the activities. And another note was added to his school file.

One day when Jacob was playing soccer with some neighborhood friends, a much older boy from a local secular school, along with his three large friends, began to jeer at the younger religious school students. “Look at the little girls dancing like fairies,” he called. “Hey, little girls, come dance for us.” His friends burst into hilarious laughter and one threw a stone that hit Jacob’s friend in the head, causing a small cut and some flowing blood.

Jacob immediately walked over to the boys and said, “Please don’t do this. We are not your enemies. We are all friends. Come; play soccer with us.”

The big boy took a step over to Jacob and leaned into his face. He screamed out, “You are never our friends. You’re nothing but little pansy girls and we have no use for pansy girls.” Then he reached out and gave Jacob a hard push that drove him back several steps.

Jacob paused for a moment just looking the other boy direct in the face, then slowly turned and began to walk back to his friends. At that point, the four bullies began to shout evil taunts at the others, daring them to come over and fight. Jacob and his friends ignored them until the oldest of the bullies threw out a vicious taunt directed at the mothers of the other boys. That’s when Jacob stopped playing, turned and walked back to the others.

“That you cannot say,” he said quietly. “That you must never say.”

The oldest boy screamed the epithet at Jacob again and quickly threw a roundhouse punch at Jacob’s face.

Three seconds later, the bully lay on his back completely immobilized. His mouth was open following his initial action and scream, but the pain radiating through him made him realize be had better not say anything at all, even if he had the breath to do so. After beginning a belligerent display when the action started, the other boys now stood still, not daring to move. When Jacob backed off a couple of steps, the boys reached down and lifted their friend, then began to walk carefully away from Jacob, casting angry, yet frightened, glances back at him.

Jacob calmed quickly. His body language didn’t give any signs of the brief violence. It was as if he had just walked over to retrieve an errant soccer ball. One of his friends asked, “Why do they always act that way, Jacob? They don’t like us but we’re just the same as them.”

“Maybe we’re not just like them, Rafael. Somehow, we’re different. There’s something in us that makes them mad, even though they are Jews like us. Maybe something they’ve been told about our history that they’ve come to hate? But we are all still Jews and we should try to be friends. We already have enough enemies in the land.”

Then he said to his friends. “Come. Let’s finish our game.”

Chapter 4

“Jacob, why are we always involved in these wars? I know what father says about our history and how so much of the world hates us, but don’t you think there’s any way for us to stop these things?”

Jacob was relaxing with his best friend, Avril, after a day of hiking in the hills east of Haifa. Their families had joined together for a picnic and adventure time and the day had been great. Now, as was often the case for the two boys, it was time for earnest discussion.

Both boys were serious students and both were concerned with the history of their country and with the political and social science of the day. While they basically knew what was happening in the world around them, they still couldn’t get a good handle on the why.

It was 1956 and both boys were fourteen. In the past three years there had been many incidents along Israel’s borders as Arab terrorism resulted in Israeli counter-raids. Palestinian Fedayeen attacks, often organized and sponsored by the Egyptians, were made from Egyptian occupied Gaza. The attacks led to a growing cycle of violence as Israel launched reprisal attacks against Gaza. In 1955 the Egyptian government had begun recruiting former Nazi rocket scientists for a missile program. Rising tensions led to an increase in clashes on Israel’s borders and Israeli punitive attacks on Gaza, Jordan and Syria.

“Avril, if you could do whatever you wanted about the wars, what would you do?”

“I guess I‘d just make them all leave us alone. Let us live in peace.”

“But where would you have them let us live? Everyone says this land is not really ours. You know that. And everyone wants it.”

“But other countries have gone through these things, Jacob. And they have their land. Why not us?”

“Maybe because we’re not big enough? We don’t have enough army and can’t fight big wars, only these little ones? I don’t know, Avril. I just don’t see anyone helping us get ahead or keeping us out of the wars. Even our own leaders, and certainly not anyone else in the world. All they do is talk.”

“Don’t you think our army could prevent these people from attacking us?”

“You know they are good inside our country, but these attacks mostly come from outside. From across the borders. In order for the world to stop the World War, they had to go to Germany and Japan. For us to stop the attacks, we have to go across the borders into their countries and everyone says we can’t do that.”

“But we just did that, right?”

President Nasser of Egypt had earlier announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal, which was Egypt’s main source of foreign currency, and he also blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, preventing Israeli access to the Red Sea.

Israeli forces, commanded by General Moshe Dayan, finally attacked Egypt on October 29. By November 5, the Israelis had overrun the Sinai. There was uproar in the UN, with the USA and USSR for once in agreement in denouncing the actions of Israel, Britain and France, all of whom were attacking Egypt. A demand for a cease-fire was reluctantly accepted on November 7 and the Israelis withdrew to the Negev.

Israel had proven again they were a force to be reckoned with and that they would definitely prevent anyone from destroying their way of life.

“Yes. But we can’t do that all the time, Avril. There are too many of them: too many countries, too many tanks, and too many soldiers. We can’t fight them all.”

“But you know as I do, Jacob, Mossad is always finding secrets that help us keep ahead of our enemies. That’s why we do win as we do. Don’t you think if we expanded what they do, we could stop these people before they could get started?”

“Yes, but consider this. America says they are our friend, right? Then Egypt says they are America’s friend. And so does Saudi Arabia. But they both hate us. And they have oil, Avril, a lot of oil. So, despite the claims, who does America support?

“Of course, if all the big countries got together they could stop these conflicts around the world. But there are too many conflicts, too many things one country wants from another, too many split loyalties for them to get together. So we have to do it ourselves. And no one is going to really help us. They are all going to try to keep us from doing anything, even in our own country. We will be condemned, no matter what we do. Because we are Israel. Just because we are Israel.” The last was said slowly, with a tone of great sadness.

After a few moments of silence and deep thoughts, Avril replied softly, “So what do you think you are going to do about it, Jacob?”

Again several moments of silence went by. Then Jacob responded, “I’m not sure yet. I’m not sure what I can do. But I have to help the people, Avril. I have to.”

Chapter 5

Jacob saw 1957 as nothing but preparations for world destruction, and he pictured Israel as almost a spectator at a tennis match, heads whipping back and forth as they watched events unfolding around them.

Russia conducted several atmospheric nuclear tests, then the British did the same over Easter Island, then the first submarines capable of firing guided missiles were launched. This was all in the first half of the year.

The first rocket with a nuclear warhead was fired at Yucca Flat, Nevada, the USSR launched the first intercontinental multistage ballistic missile, and American B-52 bombers began flying on full-time alert in case of Russian attacks.

The USSR launched the Sputnik satellites and the United States successfully test-fired their Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile.

As he was sitting in his advanced social studies class mid-December, his instructor was droning on about how “we have to respect all people and do our best to befriend them. Peace in the world will come about if we will all get over our fears and prejudices and work together toward that elusive peace.”

Halfway through the class period, Jacob had had enough and spoke out.

“Sir, what is peaceful about the destructive weapons the major countries have developed this very year?”

Startled, the instructor asked, “Define what you mean, Jacob.”

Jacob enumerated the various achievements, and then asked, “With all these peaceful weapons flying back and forth over our heads, what ability do we have to promote peace? Wouldn’t Israel be better off either developing our own weapons to combat these when they come directly at us, or at least investigating to find ways to destroy the weapons before they can be used against us?”

“Jacob, why in the world would you think the weapons would be used against us? We are at peace with the USSR and America, at least the last I looked.” That brought a smattering of chuckles from Jacob’s classmates. They knew Jacob as a very serious young man who, though usually quiet, was known to speak out forcefully on subjects dear to his heart. He did not hold back, especially when the subject was Israel and its security.

“We may be at so-called peace with them now, sir, but what about next year or the next? Or what about the next countries to develop these weapons? Perhaps they won’t be such friends?”

“Do I detect some sarcasm in your remarks, Jacob?”

“It is not my intention to be sarcastic, sir. It’s just that I read of these events almost daily, and I know of our enemies around us and across the seas and wonder how soon they will have these same weapons? How are we to be friends with people who have sworn to destroy us? How do we survive if we let them all get ahead of us in things like this, things we don’t even know about until too late? What can we do to protect ourselves? How can we know of these weapons, or the intentions of other countries toward us, if we just sit and talk about peace? Are we actually doing anything to ensure that peace?”

“Why do you think we are doing nothing, Jacob? I believe we have soundly defeated several large armies in our recent past. Why could we not do this in the future?”

“Sir, it would only take one or two of these new devices to destroy us. And it would only take minutes for one of them to be delivered into our cities. I don’t know that we have any way to stop them. And I don’t know if we have the information or intelligence to know what other countries are planning, countries that may be planning our destruction. These aren’t soldiers and tanks, sir, or even planes that we can see and track. These are rockets, possible carrying the new atomic weapons. I don’t know that we have any way to stop them or even know about them.”

The instructor was silent for a moment, and then replied, “Jacob, you make several good points. We don’t have the time to continue with them now as we do have a class to finish. But would you be able to meet with me later, perhaps after school, to discuss this further?”

Several of Jacob’s classmates were chuckling at the thought that Jacob had really gotten himself into it now, but the instructor didn’t have any appearance of anger, just seriousness and perhaps curiosity.

When Jacob and the instructor met later, they spent well more than an hour discussing Israel and her security needs, and what the man could tell a young student about Israel’s war preparations and investigative abilities. He casually mentioned some of the IDF’s achievements and abilities, and hinted at the famous investigative service, Mossad. When Jacob heard that name, his eyes lit up. He had obviously learned something about the service through his own studies and was eager to learn anything more he could.

His instructor didn’t tell him anything more. Some things in his own background could not be talked about. However, after the two parted, he went to his office and phoned a special number. He had a quiet conversation in which he passed on Jacob’s name and the details of their discussions both in and out of class.

A file was begun that would follow Jacob through the rest of his schooling and into his later life. A file that was always current and regularly added to.

 

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