President Reuven Rivlin met yesterday with twelve passengers who travelled on the famous Exodus refugee ship, in 1947, marking seven decades since the iconic voyage to the Land of Israel. Speaking with President Rivlin was Yitzhak Rosman, son of the late Mordechai Rosman, leader of the passengers seeking entry into the Land of Israel, and Dr. Zvi Hatkevitz, who presented President Rivlin with a copy of the his father David’s diary written while aboard the ship.
The President remarked, “The Exodus is a symbol. This ship was a turning point in the attitude of the whole world, in the global political dispute, to the morality behind the idea of establishing a state for the Jews in the Land of Israel. This was a decisive event in the decision taken on 29 November. You were refugees from the Holocaust, who came to your country and your homeland out of a clear determination that there was no other way but to come to the Land of Israel.”
Dr. Hatkevitz told the President, “Seventy years ago this week, the ship arrived at the Haifa port after a night battle during which British soldiers took control of the ship. The passengers of the Exodus
disembarked from the ship, and were immediately removed from the Land of Israel on three British deportation boats. We, the passengers of the Exodus and our descendants, came together to raise awareness of the story of the Exodus on the 70th anniversary of the journey; the story of the ship, and the story of the deportation, the story of the heroism of 4,554 passengers, survivors and refugees from the Holocaust in Europe and North Africa, who were aboard the ship.”
Yitzhak Rosman said, “On the Exodus, there were children, women, and men who had lived through the Holocaust in Europe with one great hope to reach the Land of Israel… The story of the Exodus must not be forgotten. It is a story of determination, heroism and courage, a human mosaic of people who lost all most precious to them in the terrible war.”