Against The Censors
By Rabbi Shalom Yaakov Chazan

23 years ago, the Rebbe delivered a special sicha from his room about the necessity to settle all the liberated territories at once. This speech was publicized in the Israeli press with the addition of details concerning Israel’s nuclear weapons and a suggestion of a political process that would enable the settling of all of Yesha. These details had not been divulged in the sicha and were not written in the Rebbe’s edited version of the sicha. * Five years ago, Beis Moshiach disclosed two notes the Rebbe had written in connection with the sicha, containing those additional points. * Additional details could not be revealed in Beis Moshiach at that time, due to the continuous struggle against Israeli censorship, in which R’ Berke Wolf, a’h, was involved. We publicize these details now for the first time, may they stand in his memory.

Part 2
(Click here for Part 1)

24 hours passed, and Monday morning, the Rebbe asked the secretary to find out from R’ Berke Wolf what was happening. It turned out that Yediot Acharonot couldn’t bypass censorship, and they were told not to print what the Rebbe said. At Maariv, the editorial staff decided to print portions of what the Rebbe said, including the fact that according to the law, the prime minister and the minister in charge of settlements could decide on settlements, but they did not agree to print the Rebbe’s comments about Israel’s nuclear capability.

R’ Shlomo Maidanchik also got involved, suggesting that they copy the sicha, including the Rebbe’s comment about nuclear weapons, and distribute it to all members of the Knesset and government ministers, especially to Prime Minister Menachem Begin. He stressed that he would do it in such a way that it was clear that he was doing it on his own, and not because of any directive he had received from the Rebbe.

The Rebbe had reservations about sending the sicha to all the Knesset members, saying that it would give the impression that Lubavitch was mixing in too much. The Rebbe said it would be better if they gave a copy of the sicha to Begin, to Ezer Weizman, the defense minister, and to Arik Sharon, who was a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The Rebbe added that since R’ Shlomo knew their relationship with the Rebbe, and they were certainly interested in knowing what the Rebbe had to say lately, he should speak with each one of them separately. He should explain the importance of the issue and stress that what the Rebbe said about nuclear weapons was not meant to be publicized, not abroad and not in Eretz Yisroel.

The Rebbe also wanted this message relayed to Mr. Chaim Landau (a minister without portfolio in Begin’s government), especially since he had visited the Rebbe during the Hakafos. When the Rebbe brought up the blunder that the I.D.F. made during the Yom Kippur War (the I.D.F. didn’t take the opportunity to conquer Damascus), Landau expressed regret that the Rebbe’s views on this matter were not publicized in the Israeli papers.

A few hours later, Berke called the secretaries and told them he had tried to publicize what the Rebbe said via Kol Yisroel, but the censors did not allow it. The radio broadcaster, who was excited about publicizing the Rebbe’s message in full, including the details about Israel’s nuclear weapons, tried to convince the censor to allow him to publicize it. He cited the fact that on that very day, an American congressman declared that Israel possessed 15 secretly acquired nuclear bombs, and the US had helped in the acquisition. This statement was broadcast in the Israeli media.

"Why did you allow the congressman’s words to be publicized, but you don’t allow the Rebbe’s words to be publicized?" the radio broadcaster challenged. The censor said that when an American congressman said it, he spoke in the name of the United States, and Israel could deny it. On the other hand, when the Rebbe said it, since it was known that the Rebbe received his information from senior members of the Israeli government, it would be as if senior Israeli officials had openly acknowledged the existence of nuclear weapons. The censor also said that when the Rebbe said something, the public regarded it as utterly authoritative as if it had been said by the prime minister!

When the secretary reported this conversation to the Rebbe, the Rebbe wanted to know the identity of the congressman, mentioning that he probably received his information from the Israelis. The Rebbe said that the Israeli censors didn’t understand that zealously withholding any mention of Israel’s nuclear weapons was an admission that the information was true. The Rebbe said, "If it were a lie, would they publicize it? But since it’s the truth, they don’t publicize it? It’s illogical!"

That same Monday evening, R’ Shlomo called New York and told them that he had visited the Knesset and had met Begin. He gave him the sicha, including the additions, and stressed that the part about nuclear weapons would not be publicized in Israel or the U.S. The prime minister thanked him, put the sicha in his pocket and promised to examine it at his earliest opportunity. Then he met Arik Sharon and Ezer Weizman and gave them the sicha. He didn’t meet Chaim Landau that day.

At midnight New York time, the secretary spoke with Berke and heard that he had tried to be published in HaAretz, but they refused, after warnings from the censor. His attempts to publicize it through one of the radio stations also failed.

When the secretary reported this to the Rebbe, the Rebbe said that they should try to have the sicha publicized in its entirety in She’arim, HaModia, and HaTzofeh.

The Rebbe wanted Shlomo Maidanchik to have Chaim Landau read the sicha as soon as he gets it. He wanted R’ Shlomo to complain to Landau that the papers rejected it because the censors didn’t want to publicize mention of nuclear weapons. The Rebbe mentioned that Landau had made a fuss when the papers rejected the Rebbe’s protest of the army’s remissness in conquering Damascus. The Rebbe said that he would certainly agree to publicize the disputed sicha. The Rebbe then agreed to permit the papers to omit the words "nuclear weapons" or that sentence, if the censor was adamant, and then print the rest of the sicha.

R’ Shlomo wanted to try to convince the chief censor to drop his opposition to the sicha, but the Rebbe preferred that the complaint about the restriction originate either from the media itself or from Chaim Landau. If that would fail, then he should meet with the censor.

A few hours later, Berke reported that he succeeded in having the sicha printed in full in She’arim, HaModia, and HaTzofeh. The Rebbe was very satisfied with this news and said, "Now you can approach the other papers, because it was printed already."

The newspaper coverage did the job. The Yediot Acharonot of that Friday quoted the Rebbe and included the confirmation about the nuclear weapons, but with a slight change. The Rebbe spoke about creating nuclear weapons, but the Yediot Acharonot wrote "nuclear development." The difference is that although Israel cannot deny the existence of a nuclear power plant in Dimona, it has consistently asserted that it is a research plant for nuclear research, not for creating nuclear weapons.

That month, the Rebbe sent the following letter to poet and essayist Uri Tzvi Greenberg, making reference to the sicha: 

B"H 22 Cheshvan 5738

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mr. Uri Tzvi Greenberg,

Shalom u’vracha!

Thanks for your blessing and wishes for healing and health.

With G-d’s kindness, the Healer of all flesh Who does wonders, and in the merit of the many prayers which stood by me, the state of my health has improved, and praise G-d who girds me with strength to continue my work.

It has already been stated that whoever blesses, is blessed from Hashem with His blessing, so that the addition is greater than the principal – in both gashmiyus and ruchniyus.

Respectfully and with appreciation and with blessings for good news,

M. Schneerson

P.S. Perhaps you already know what I said on Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha about the absolute necessity to settle all the territories at once, at least those that the nations of the world challenge. My unequivocal opinion is that this is the only way that the enemies of the Jewish people will despair of their evil plots, r’l, seeing that we really mean it. As I said several times, even those who fear this protest and challenge, etc., saw in the past and see in the present that the protest will be strong and complete, with no difference whatsoever whether they settle one area or the entire border.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though they are even considering this plan, and it has already been decided, and the main thing is that this is what is actually being done, to act as they did in the past. After each victory – all of which were supernatural – whether after the Yom Kippur War, the Six-Day War, or the Sinai War, etc., they did half a job, or better put, they were willing to accept only half of what they were given from Above, the victory, and they did not make a resolution with the greatest strength, and did not finish it once and for all. Naturally, this in itself invited pressure. Furthermore, they sent delegations to announce that not only would they not take advantage of the victory and conclude, they would concede a significant portion of what they already achieved. They saw the results: not only did this not bring peace, but it brought the opposite – terrorist activities and attrition and war, r’l. This scenario has repeated itself three times already.

I don’t know if your view is what they call hawkish or dovish, but after they saw the results of the conduct I mentioned after all the wars in the past, to the point that the source of the threats and pressure now are apparently the results of this – in my opinion there should be no difference between a hawk and a dove. The only difference is relevant to the decision whether they should act the same way they have until now – for various odd reasons, deluding themselves and everyone under their influence with false hope that although the behavior will not change, perhaps, nevertheless, there will be opposite results. At least they should try a new approach one time, which simple logic and past experience prove are worth trying here.

If this is also your view, and certainly you who live in Eretz Yisroel know the situation from up close, you will certainly make a great tumult, for very many groups are influenced by you, and perhaps they will also listen to you.

Although it would have been preferable to do all this immediately when they settled the first area, it’s still better now at this late time than continuing taking two steps back and one step forward. And I deliberately change the order, because unfortunately they are even afraid of the approach of one step forward and two steps back.

May it be G-d’s will that finally the promise will be fulfilled of "and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem as waters cover the sea," and as an immediate result, all the fear of what the nations of the world will say and whether certain conduct will find favor in their eyes, to the point of fearing the sound of a trembling leaf if there is a possibility that it trembles from the breath of a non-Jew – will dissipate. One doesn’t go on at length about something painful, and Hashem will surely give strength to His people to walk upright and with appropriate strength.

We will conclude with a selection from the above-mentioned sicha:

In these final moments of Galus, Hashem will lead all the Jews (the Jews in the Diaspora and the Jews in Eretz Yisroel) upright, "b’koma z’kufa."

This will be the preparation for "He made an end to darkness." Hashem will make an end to the darkness of Galus:

[Through Jews (spreading the light by) building places of Torah and prayer throughout the territories, [the places of Torah] which are called bayis gadol, which comes as an extension of beis ha’melech, Dovid Malka Meshicha; by building mikvaos throughout the territories, which is a preparation for ("Hashem is the mikva of Yisroel," and also for) "and I will throw purifying waters upon you;"] until the darkness will be transformed to light, and night will illuminate like day, and very soon, Moshiach Tzidkeinu will come and build the Mikdash in its place and (after that) gather the outcasts of Israel, until "he fixes the entire world, to serve Hashem together," as it says, "For then I will transform the nations, [to speak] a clear language to have them all call in the name of Hashem and worship Him with a united resolve," and we will merit the fulfillment of "and kings will be your nurturers and their ministers will be your nursemaids," "and kingship will be Hashem’s."


R’ Shlomo Maidanchik suggested that they copy the sicha and distribute it to all members of the Knesset and government ministers especially Begin.


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