Aaron Lipkin smiled eagerly as he gazed through a tiny, dusty window of a dark green Israeli Defense Force (IDF) helicopter. It approached the mountaintop and struggled to find a place to land as the mountain was littered with more boulders and dirt than the aerial map had indicated. Israel’s mountains were known for their steep and barren peaks, apt to repel human visitors. The propellers kicked up so much dirt in the line of sight that what was anticipated to be a simple landing intensified quickly into a no-landing situation. The IDF pilot yelled through his mouthpiece to the passengers that the landing would not be possible, and they would need to try again on a day after a heavy rain to help lessen the dirt and debris.
Aaron Lipkin’s chest rose with indignation. He had waited much too long for this moment and replied to the pilot in a roar, “We have direct orders from the president to land this helicopter on this mountain this day and build a city. We will be landing, and we will begin. You were born for this, Lieutenant, and were trained to fly by the best air force in all the world. I have faith in you and order you to land now!”
The pilot responded, “With all due respect, sir, I cannot afford to put our lives in danger by landing under such conditions.”
“With all due respect, Lieutenant, you cannot afford to not land this aircraft!” Aaron replied. “Our forefathers risked their lives to restore this land. Now it’s our turn. We must land.”
The helicopter made a sharp hairpin turn and landed with a jolting thud into enemy territory, shaking the bodies and minds of the four passengers. Aaron and Ruth Lipkin disembarked slowly, shielding their eyes and ears from the dust storm with light blue-and-white, linen-blended scarves, and surveyed their new home. The couple assisted the co-pilot with unloading the disheveled cargo of camping supplies, clean water, and government food rations.
After all contents were on the ground, the co-pilot saluted Aaron and rejoined the pilot in the cockpit. They lifted the helicopter in the same manner with which they had dropped it—quickly. As the helicopter departed, a faint woosh, woosh, woosh was the only sound that could be heard through the mountainous terrain of the hills of Samaria. Without the cooling breeze from the swift propellers, Aaron and Ruth coughed uncontrollably. They found their canteens and gulped water to relieve pressure from their dust-filled lungs. They looked at one another and, for the first time in years, laughed jovially. They embraced and stood contentedly, knowing that they had made it. They had made it to the mountain.
Aaron gathered his wife in his arms. Now physically still, though hearts pounding, they smelled the fresh land. There were no fruit trees to produce the familiar smells from their childhoods or sounds of car horns, sirens, and shuffling people as in the bustling city they had just left. Ruth held her memories and braced her delicate weight against Aaron’s strong and gentle stature.
As Aaron stood atop the mountain, he pointed to the east and said, “My darling, over there will be the hospital.”
Turning slightly, he pointed a little to the left of that space and said, “And over there will be the university.”
Pointing a little further left of that space, he said, “And over there will be the industrial park. This is my vision. Everything that the people of Tel Aviv have, the people of Gibeah will have, too. We will make a place for them to raise their families, be educated, and invent and manufacture the finest creations earth has yet to know. Together, we will bring the Jews home.”
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