The story of Yosef Mendelevitch is inspiring indeed. Yosef was one of the famous refuseniks, who took on the Russian Empire and won. In 1970, together with several others he conspired to hijack a Russian plane and fly to freedom. Unfortunately, the group was imprisoned and several were sentenced to death. In fact, news of the death sentence prompted Shlomo Carlebach to write the famous melody Motzi Asirim.
Yosef was freed in 1981 and came to build a beautiful family in Eretz Yisroel. This past week, he returned to Russia for the first time since his incarceration. This reminds me of another famous refusenik, Anatoly Scharansky, who also went on to build a successful political career in Eretz Yisroel after gaining his freedom. When hearing the famous Safam song, "Mother Russia", he commented dryly...Why is the empire referred to as Mother Russia? No mother should treat her children this way.
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