Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What Did Rabbi Hutner Do When He Was Captured? How Did He Conduct Himself? Did He Assist Fellow Passengers? Did He Act As A Gadol Would?....And Should We Care?


Allenby Bridge across the Jordan River, 11:30 AM. A lone U.S. embassy official walked up to the Allenby Bridge, an unimpressive, steel and wooden structure spanning the Jordan River at a narrow point between Israel and Jordan. He carried a box marked "special foods for [the Red Crescent] Amman." Inside were canned Israeli goods and a note that read "Kosher food for Rabbi Hutner."

TWA Flight 741

TWA Flight 741
TWA Boeing 707 Volpati-2.jpg
A TWA Boeing 707 similar to the hijacked craft
Hijacking summary
Date 6 September 1970
Summary Hijacking
Site Brussels, Belgium
Passengers 144
Crew 11
Injuries (non-fatal) none
Survivors 155 (all)
Aircraft type Boeing 707–331B
Operator Trans World Airlines
Registration N8715T
Flight origin Ben-Gurion Int'l Airport
2nd stopover Ellinikon International Airport
3rd stopover Frankfurt International Airport
Destination John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport
TWA Flight 741 (type Boeing 707, serial 18917/460, registration N8715T[9]) was a round-the-world flight carrying 144 passengers and a crew of 11. The flight on this day was flying from Tel Aviv, Israel to Athens, Frankfurt am Main and then to New York City, and was hijacked on the Frankfurt-New York leg. In an interview for the film Hijacked, Flight 741's purser, Rudi Swinkles, recalled, "I saw a passenger running toward first class. I ran after him, and when he came to first class to the cockpit, he turned around, had a gun in his hand, and pointed the gun at me, and said, 'Get back, get back.' So right away, I dove behind the bulkhead first class divider, and I hid behind it, over here."[10]

It landed at Dawson's Field in Jordan at 6:45 p.m. local time.[11]

Hijackers gained control of the cockpit and a female stated, "This is your new captain speaking. This flight has been taken over by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. We will take you to a friendly country with friendly people."[5]

Yitzchok Hutner[12] and Tova Kahn and her children were also on the plane.[13]

Two days earlier, the American embassy in Amman learned that Rabbi Isaac Hutner, "a strict adherent to the dietary laws of Judaism, has refused to accept food which he believes to be not kosher." (In fact, eight other hostages, including me, were doing the same.) The embassy asked other U.S. embassies in the region to "obtain canned kosher items and forward [them] to Amman as soon as possible for relay to the captors." The next day, the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv offered to do so. The Amman embassy advised it to deliver the food in "inconspicuous packages" to the Jordanian police at the Allenby Bridge and request that it be turned over to the ICRC in Amman. Despite a day-long effort, the Amman embassy could not reach the ICRC to alert it to the possible arrival of the food.

Now the official walked across the bridge hoping to find someone on the Jordanian side willing to accept the package. Finding no one at the Jordanian end of the bridge, he walked about a kilometer into Jordan where he finally encountered a group of Jordanian soldiers. The corporal in charge was sympathetic but had no clue what to do; he phoned an officer. Instructed not to accept the parcel, the corporal suggested that it might be possible to deliver it in a couple of days, perhaps on Sunday. So, the official returned to the Israeli side and entrusted the parcel to the bridge commander, one Captain Ilan, who agreed to hold onto it until new arrangements could be made.

The food never reached Rabbi Hutner.


The Hijacked Rosh Yeshiva

In a lecture on rabbinic biographies for Torah in Motion, Orthodox rabbi and history professor Marc B. Shapiro says: “I think the [Nathan] Kamanetsky book was too voyeuristic in those areas. There are times when it is going to be rough to tread.

The story of the famous rosh yeshiva who was involved in a hijacking. His behavior on the airplane was very questionable. He separated himself. He got his family there to convince the hijackers that he’s special and that he should be separated. His students in America thought they could raise money to ransom him.” ( Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky said it was forbidden to pay ransom for him....)

According to Wikipedia on Yitzchok (Isaac) Hutner (1906–1980): In the late 1960s he began to visit Israel again, planning to build a new yeshiva there. On 6 September 1970, he and his wife, daughter, and son-in-law Yonasan David were returning to New York when their airplane was hijacked by the PFLP Palestinian terrorist organization. The terrorists freed the non-Jewish passengers and held the Jewish passengers hostage on the plane for one week, after which the women and children were released and sent to Cyprus. The hijacked airplanes were subsequently detonated.

 The remaining 40-plus Jewish men – including Rabbi Hutner, Rabbi David, and two students accompanying Rabbi Hutner, Rabbi Meir Fund and Rabbi Yaakov Drillman – and male flight crew continued to be held hostage in and around Amman, Jordan; Rabbi Hutner was held alone in an isolated location while Jews around the world prayed fervently for his safe release. The terrorists tried to cut off his beard, but were stopped by their commanders.

 Rabbi Hutner was reunited with the rest of the hostages on 18 September, and was finally released on 26 September and flown together with his family members to Nicosia, Cyprus. On 28 September Rabbi Hutner and his group were flown back to New York via Europe, and were home in time for the first night of Rosh Hashana.”

"Among the documents that the hijackers discovered were precious handwritten manuscripts of seforim that Rav Yitzchak Hutner had painstakingly compiled over years. The terrorists confiscated the manuscripts, claiming they contained secret plans for espionage. Years of efforts to retrieve those manuscripts proved fruitless — they were probably incinerated when the planes were blown up. The terrorists also discovered in his possession documents relating to the purchase of two apartments in north Jerusalem, one for him and one for his daughter. The terrorists were enraged by his plans to buy apartments in territory that had been “stolen” from them. “It’s ours! It’s ours!” they shouted repeatedly."