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Saturday, December 9, 2023 - 26 Kislev 5784
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Swords into Playgrounds
The “Sarafand” army base, part of the Tzrifin camp in central Israel, was established by the British in 1940, when British troops were deployed to the area during World War II. Many Jews were drafted into the British army and trained in the camp in the tough British style before being sent to the front to fight the Nazis, may G-d obliterate their names.

Before the establishment of the state of Israel, the camp was captured by Haganah forces and served during the War of Independence as a base for organizing various units before going out to the front. After the war, the base became the central training area for new IDF recruits. Over time, more and more bases were added to the main camp, until the area became one huge military conglomerate.

Seventy-five years is a long time. Anyone passing the area became accustomed to the site of the rows upon rows of wooden barracks which stood since the time of the British. It may have seemed they would stay there forever.

However, recent visitors to the site are amazed at the transformation: the western side of the base has been completely cleared of military apparatus and has become a huge public park! A beautiful garden has been planted, and at the foot of the ancient military eucalyptus trees, new grass is sprouting. Goldfish swim peacefully in a large pond that is adorned with tropical plants. Playgrounds and sports fields are scattered throughout the former military base. At any time of the day, children can be seen frolicking in the park, without giving a thought to the miracle that has transpired before their eyes.

Our sages say, “The recipient of the miracle does not recognize the miracle,” but it’s appropriate to make note of miracles occurring in our midst, simply for the sake of giving thanks to the One who has allowed us to witness this wondrous time. We are beginning to see the fulfillment of the prophecies of old, particularly the prophecy of Isaiah – “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”

In other news, it has recently been reported that the Israeli defense budget has been cut yet again, to the chagrin of the Chief of Staff. We believe it’s all for the best. As part of the miracles of Redemption, G-d will settle scores with our enemies without involving us or our soldiers at all. In the meantime we can use the budget savings to build more parks and invest in education and infrastructure, in peace and security.

The Lubavitcher Rebbbe has stated that the world is moving towards a state of global peace and security, as we have been promised thousands of years ago. We await the final miracle, when all Jews will dwell safely and securely in our land without fear, with the ultimate redemption with Moshiach.


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