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Purity of Arms

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Yossi Harel, Commander of the “Exodus” – “A moving statement”  E-mail

 

The words of Yossi Harel, Commander of the “Exodus” on meeting Jewish orphans who were to be passengers on his ship:

One camp had the children’s homes, that is, the orphans were housed there.  When I arrived they arranged a line-up so that I could see how they had organized things in preparation for the voyage, the date of which was still a secret. When the whistle was blown, all the children, who were between 5 and 15 yeas old, ran and stood in a line.  I walked down the line and studied them and they looked at me as if I were a giant.  They were looking at me as if I was the last thing on earth they could believe in and trust.  Suddenly, it struck me what Aliyah Bet really did mean!  This was what was left of 6 million people.  This was my responsibility – to lead them safely and soundly to Eretz Yisrael.  I saw this job as something that was holy, and there was nothing in the world that I would not do for them.  When I saw them I was also convinced that nothing in the world could stop us. Upon my return to the ship the only image that remained with me was the look in those children’s eyes.