Ariel Sharon & the Rebbe MH"M
(The Rebbe’s Letters translated by Rabbi Zushe Kohn)

After 28 years of outstanding military service and 25 years in the political arena, Ariel Sharon has been elected Prime Minister of the State of Israel. * How a family tragedy led to a warm relationship and a decades-long correspondence with the Rebbe MH"M. * Sharon’s life saved by a miracle. * Exclusive to Beis Moshiach. * Part 2 of 3
(Click here for Part 1)

In an interview with Kfar Chabad magazine, Sharon provided additional details of that first yechidus: "I was very surprised that a religious rabbi, a Rebbe, could understand military matters so well. The Rebbe looked at me with his piercing gray eyes, and I felt warm. I remember that I asked him to exert pressure on the Soviet Union. This was at a time when the Russians were trying to obtain economic support from the United States. I figured that the only ones who could do it were the Rebbe and his Chassidim. Weren’t they the only ones who had maintained the connection with Soviet Jewry after the Russian revolution?

"But the Rebbe refused my request. He told me that it wouldn’t take long until the gates of the Soviet Union were opened. We have to be very careful with the Russians, he said. At that time, Russia was going t0hrough a very difficult period under Brezhnev. One can never predict how the Soviets will react, the Rebbe explained. I remember thinking that what the Rebbe was saying sounded impossible. But evidently anything is possible, and the Rebbe was right as always.

"One of the most important areas in which I have been influenced by the Rebbe is his concern for Jewish education around the world. Even though I wouldn’t define myself as a religious Jew, I am a Jew, and to me that’s the most important thing. The Rebbe told me how much he worries about the Jewish people. To me, giving children a Jewish education is very, very important."

Another account of this yechidus is found in an article written by R.M. Rodnitzky in the Israeli newspaper She’arim, dated August 8, 1968 and entitled "The Admur and the General":

"The first thing General Sharon did upon returning to Israel was to visit Kfar Chabad, where he personally conveyed the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s greetings…

"The general had met with the Admur during his recent visit to New York. In order to be given an appointment for yechidus, it is often necessary to wait a long time. The Rebbe is extremely busy and rarely sleeps even three hours a night, due to the sheer number of people wishing to see him. Nonetheless, the general was given preference and allowed to enter. It is said that the two had much to talk about, and their meeting continued well into the early hours of the morning. When they parted, it was with a feeling of close friendship and strong emotion.

"When the general was in Kfar Chabad to convey the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s greetings to his Chassidim, he related an interesting anecdote. As Sharon was about to leave 770, the Rebbe had asked him not to board the plane he was supposed to take back to Israel, but to switch to an earlier flight. The general did not understand the Rebbe’s intention, but he did not wish to refuse his request and he agreed.

"A few days later, after Sharon was safely back in Israel, that same plane – the one he was originally scheduled to be on – was hijacked to Algeria. All of its Jewish passengers were taken captive, while the non-Jewish ones were allowed to leave. According to some women who were released, the Arab hijackers were looking for ‘someone important,’ and they were angry when they realized that he wasn’t aboard. As was later revealed, the entire incident was a carefully planned operation to kidnap the most reviled object of hatred of Israel’s enemies, General Ariel (Arik) Sharon, whose military exploits have long been a thorn in their side. Unaware that he had already returned to Israel, they had hoped to snatch him off the hijacked plane.

"The Chassidim of Kfar Chabad were astounded by the story, even though they are already used to hearing about the Rebbe’s miracles…"

A slightly different version of this story is recorded in issue #685 of Kfar Chabad magazine. A few days after the hijacking Rabbi Yehoshua Kling, chief rabbi of Lyons, France and later of Nice, had had a yechidus with the Rebbe. As he related to the magazine, he had asked the Rebbe why, if he had known in advance that the plane would be hijacked, he hadn’t warned everyone else to avoid the flight, too.

The Rebbe had answered that when Ariel Sharon was with him in yechidus, he did not know about any future hijacking. He had, however, noticed that Sharon kept looking at his watch, and when he asked him why, Sharon replied that he was in a hurry to get to the airport. "Is there only one plane?" the Rebbe asked him. "Why don’t you stay with me a little longer and take another flight?" The Rebbe then explained in characteristic humility to Rabbi Kling, "I was the emissary of the Holy One, Blessed be He."

The Rebbe had also added, "When a Jew is with me in yechidus, all of me is given over and connected to him. When I told Sharon to stay, I was prophesizing but did not know what I was prophesizing. During a yechidus, I say what I am told from Above to say. Thus in effect, I didn’t know why it was so important to me for Sharon not to board that flight…"

* * *

After the Six-Day War, the public debate began over what to do with the territories that were now part of Eretz Yisroel: Yehuda, Shomron, and the Gaza Strip. Leftists and rightists argued over whether or not these areas should be settled by Jews, as a means of preventing their future recapture (G-d forbid) by Israel’s enemies.

In an interview with Kfar Chabad magazine (issue #935) Sharon described a yechidus he had with the Rebbe around that time: "The Rebbe mentioned the situation in Yerushalayim, Yehuda and Shomron, and Nachalat Chabad in Chevron. I had asked the Rebbe to send his Chassidim to settle there, but the Rebbe (and Chabad in general) didn’t like mixing into things that were liable to cause tension and dissent among Jews. Aside from that, the Rebbe had recently sent me an interesting line in a letter: ‘What would happen if a fight were to break out between a Jewish boy and an Arab boy – whose side would the government take?’ You have to remember that the situation then was not the same as it is today. This was 30 years ago, right after the Six-Day War. No one imagined that we would ever arrive at our present predicament. Except for the Rebbe, who foresaw it clearly."

The letter Sharon was referring to actually covers a wide array of topics relating to Israel’s security, diplomatic relations, and internal politics. Although written 32 years ago, every word is as valid today as it was then:


(Printed in Volume 25 of the Rebbe’s Igros Kodesh, page 169)

In response to your letter: As we discussed at length when you were here [to see me], I am of one mind with you that the territories that were freed [from Arab possession during the Six-day War, must not be returned]. To my regret however, I do not agree with you that the small reaction on the part of the Israeli public against such returns will affect any change in the position of the authoritative government bodies [who maintain that they should be returned]. According to the information I’ve received – from sources that have thus far been reliable – there hasn’t been any practical change at all, in the position of the above mentioned groups. If only the small reaction on the part of the Israeli public would at least affect these groups to change their position – which although unofficial is nevertheless being implemented – on maintaining the Arab character of Yerushalayim’s Old City [by forbidding Jews from settling there]. (They explain their position by claiming that it is important to maintain the status-quo and keep this part of the city [empty of Jews], just as it had been at the time of its capture last year. To utilize the conquest to impose something upon the inhabitants, would be "unfair and unjust," they claim.) The obvious consequence of this position [is that the Old City remains uninhabited by Jews]. This state of affairs is reinforced by the government’s opinion that they are fulfilling their responsibility to the Jews, by allowing them to settle near the [Old] City.

Obviously, I write these words to you in an unofficial and personal manner, for I normally do not speak disparagingly of the Jewish people, especially not of those who are able to accomplish great things in the above-mentioned areas, but for various and bizarre reasons not only do not do so, but do quite the contrary.

It should be quite obvious that my intention in writing this letter is not to blame anyone, for that would accomplish nothing. Rather, it is to express my pain – at least in writing – to you and anyone else whom you think would benefit from being informed of the content of my words.

Now, if the government so adamantly refuses to allow Jews to settle in the holy city of Yerushalayim, how much more so is this true of Chevron, in which only Arabs live, and upon which the Holy Temple never stood, and upon which – according to reports – the Arab settlement is already firmly established, developed and orderly.

Notwithstanding all of the above, I inquired repeatedly about the possibility of establishing a yeshiva and the likes in Chevron. The government’s very clear response was that I’d be "better off" looking into establishing a yeshiva in Yerushalayim. Obviously (and despite the governments position), there are, in fact, some Chabadniks among Chevron’s Jewish settlers. (Some are there openly and others secretly.) Certainly, you are aware that the plight of these settlers is almost akin to that of prisoners. The government’s explanation for this state of affairs is once again that "we must be ‘fair and just.’" The common basis for all of these negative phenomena is the government’s fear of "what will the great big world out there say if we allow Jews to settle in the newly conquered territories?" We spoke of this when you visited me.

[In light of the aforementioned, how can I possibly encourage my followers to settle in Chevron?] What if, for example, a fight breaks out between an Israeli lad and an Arab lad, and the Jew, who would presumably be outnumbered, gets beaten up or worse, G-d forbid? On whose side would the Israeli military police stand, in your opinion? Especially if the Arab mayor (who, incidentally, I believe was involved in the Chevron riots [of 1939], may G-d spare us), comes along and makes a loud fuss about Jewish provocation, and so on!?

[My awareness of the government’s position also explains why] when you were here I asked you for an explanation as to why Jerusalem’s Old City was conquered last year in a manner which caused many of the finest Israeli soldiers to die in battle.

Incidentally – or maybe not so incidentally – you still owe me a reply (for when you were here you said that you would investigate the matter and provide me with an answer), regarding the question of whether or not my sources of information – which have been reliable thus far – were correct in stating that the order for this [inept manner of conquest] came (unchallenged), from "the top." If only this report would turn out to be untrue.

I wish to add, that I did not, G-d forbid, ask my question about this very painful subject out of curiosity, but rather to demonstrate the thinking pattern of those who gave this order. Many of them are still in charge, and to our regret and shame, their perspective has not changed in the slightest. [Last year,] when they gave this order, they knew at the outset that it would result in a greater number of casualties. The same inference (i.e., that they are aware of the dangers) can be derived regarding the current situations in Chevron, Yerushalayim, and so on.

It is self-understood that I do not despair of a change occurring in this state of affairs, but until then, the suggestion that a person of influence issue a call for Jews to make aliya and settle in Chevron, cannot possibly be considered. This is especially so regarding persons whose influence is likely to not only generate a certain thinking pattern, but to bare concrete results, actually causing people to make aliya. Were this to happen, it would clash with the above-mentioned position [of the Israeli government] and lead to sharp disagreements, as well as harsh decrees against the people making aliya. Such developments would eventually become public knowledge – not only among other Jews, but also among the gentiles. Everyone would see that the [Israeli government] is restricting (to put it mildly) the settlers and the new Jewish immigrants. This would be very degrading and encourage the hate-filled spirits of the enemies of the Jewish people.

Notwithstanding all of the above, I do not despair of a change occurring in the government’s position, but it is not the slight reaction on the part of the Israeli public that will bring it about, but rather the mistakes of the Arabs and their supporters. As we saw last year, it was the mistakes [of the enemy] that finally forced the "pursuers of peace" to agree to defend Eretz Yisroel, and consequently, to launch an offensive war. If only in the future the government would realize its erroneous perspective in a trouble-free manner – without spiritual, physical, or even financial harm befalling any of our Jewish brethren, wherever they may be.

It is amazing to what extent the term "stiff-necked people" – conferred upon the Jewish people by our holy Torah – applies even nowadays. The problem is that [the stubbornness] is being utilized in a manner that is antithetical to Torah and the vital interests of the Jewish people. Take, for example, the recent hijacking by the Algerians, of an El-Al airliner. Although the world’s reaction – even of those who are supposed to be friends of the Jewish nation – was clearly pathetic, [the Israeli leadership] nevertheless felt it necessary to thank the gentile nations for the [so-called] solution they had come up with, calling it a "moral victory" and so on. Even if it were true that [the Israeli government] had to agree to the blackmailing (in order to save lives, etc.), who forced them to credit specific individuals with being "ethical," "perfectly righteous," "role models," and so on? But then again, one cannot question the behavior of a stiff-necked people. Indeed, the stubborn insistence on clinging to this despicable faith in the beneficence of the gentile nations has become so intense (despite the forewarning of our prophets and seers, that "the kindness of the nations is sin," for as explained by the Sages, "they do kindness and charity only for their own self-glorification") that even the Czechoslovakian invasion did not weaken or budge it. Although the Czechoslovakian issue does not appear to have anything to do with this letter, it is, in fact, connected, for it demonstrates the attitude of those in charge of things in our holy land, an attitude that expresses itself in painful and regrettable actions that bode ill for the future (at least until such time as they rid themselves of their [false] perspectives).

To end on a positive note: Thank you for extending my warm regards to the people of Kfar Chabad upon your visit there. I was told that the words emanated passionately from your heart, inspiring the people and strengthening them. Everyone needs inspiration and strength, and the people of Kfar Chabad are no exception. This is especially true of these tumultuous days, and of Israel, which on the one hand is the "land that G-d’s eyes are upon from the beginning of the year to the end of the year," as our Torah states, yet on the other hand, is surrounded by enemies who day by day notice more and more points of weakness in the way the Israeli government handles them. They see that the Israeli leadership treats them with silk gloves and takes unnecessary precautions not to annoy them, to the extent that if there is an argument between an Arab and an Israeli, they react to the matter only after verifying how the various governments of the world are going to react to their decisions. This is why, every so often, the enemy takes the liberty to raise the level of rioting and disturbances, which leads to terrorism and so on.

In anticipation of the approaching new year, let me paraphrase the traditional prayer: May it be G-d’s will that the current year with all of its negative occurrences should come to a total and absolute end, and in the coming year, as in the final days of the current one, the blessings should begin, which include a major transformation in the above-mentioned position [of the Israeli government]. May such a transformation takes place before undesirable occurrences force it to do so. The [Israeli government need not be afraid to do the right thing] for they have seen the miracles that G-d Alm-ghty has wrought [on behalf of Israel] in the recent past, and He can certainly perform miracles again in the future – in a visible and revealed manner, to quote the traditional saying.

Attached, you will find 4 clippings of newspaper articles.

With honor and blessings that you and yours be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year.

As I mentioned above, due to the particular nature of the painful contents of this letter, I have written it as a personal letter to you. If, however, you think there might be an advantage in communicating its contents to certain people, you may do so. Let me conclude with the hope that just as my letter to you is openhearted and relatively lengthy, you will reciprocate in kind, by responding to all of the points therein in the same manner. This, in addition to replying to my abovementioned question [concerning the inept manner in which Yerushalayim was conquered last year] and my other questions regarding which you had hoped to investigate and answer upon your return to Eretz Yisroel.

(Click here to continue.)


General Sharon (at left) at a bar mitzva celebration for the children
of fallen soldiers in Kfar Chabad


Lieutenant Colonel Chaim Bar Lev (second from left) with General Ariel Sharon (second from right) and General Yeshayahu Gabish (far right), on the second day
of the Six-Day War.




The Rebbe asked him not to board the plane. The general did not understand the Rebbe’s intention, but he did not wish to refuse his request...





"During a yechidus, I say what I am told from Above to say. Thus in effect, I didn’t know why it was so important to me for Sharon not to board that flight…"





As we saw last year, it was the mistakes [of the enemy] that finally forced the "pursuers of peace" to agree to defend Eretz Yisroel, and consequently, to launch an offensive war.





May it be G-d’s will that the current year with all of its negative occurrences should come to a total and absolute end.


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