Harry Truman’s Wartime Passover Message

In 1945, two days before Passover began—and less than two months before Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies—then-Vice-President Harry S. Truman delivered an address that was broadcast to Jewish soldiers, sailors, and Marines. Stuart Halpern describes this remarkable speech:

“Since biblical times,” Truman began, “people of the Jewish faith have made great contributions to the moral code of mankind.” He then described how, for centuries, the Jewish faith has served as an ethical beacon for humanity. “From the revelation of the Ten Commandments by Moses to the philosophical teachings of modern Jewish scholars,” he continued, “there has been a constant search for a better way of life for the benefit of all.” Fighting against the worship of “pagan idols,” the Jews “preached eternal faith in one God—the God in whom we all put our trust.”

Truman then turned to Hitler and his hateful dehumanization of the Jews. Hitler, Truman said, sought their destruction as a means to “pave the way for his plans for world domination.” Yet, he added, Hitler did not “reckon with the courage and endurance of a race hardened by centuries of oppression, and strengthened by a firm faith that ultimately another Moses must come to lead them out of their modern bondage and into the Promised Land.”

Identifying the American worldview with the desert aspirations of the liberated ancient Hebrews, Truman expressed the collective seeking of a “Promised Land, where intolerance and bigotry do not exist.”

Read more at Tablet

More about: American Jewish History, Harry Truman, Passover, World War II


The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7