Blue Covenant

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At the first meeting of the Restored Sanhedrin1, Kohen Gadol2 Simeon ben Abraham began writing events from Blue Star's history, in order to remember their Covenant with the Lord.


MOUNTAIN ASCENT

  Sweltering in the heat of the sun, the rocky landscape obstructing my ascent towards the summit, I traversed upon Mount Sinai's face where tourists, pilgrims, and holy men had traveled before. Perhaps on its peak I would find some inner peace, a sense of reassurance that has eluded my thoughts since the War. I had visited the Temple Mount3, the Masada Fortress4, and the archaeological ruins in Jerusalem seeking out spiritual truths to my deepest concerns. What is the purpose of this faith and identity? Is the Lord still present with his people, or have we been abandoned long ago?

  Endless questions, and no shortage of orators willing to peddle their distortions; those who reside in the synagogues and the Knesset5. They are more than willing to give their reassurances to the people, citing the Talmund6 or the Shoah7 to legitimize their actions. Yet when all is said and done, the Promised Land never seems to arrive, and we remain wandering endlessly for an answer to our sufferings. Not me, I was determined to find my answers here on this mountain.

  From its beginning, Israel was a nation born and forged in the fires of war; kingdoms crumbled before its tribes and armies fell before its Ark8. From the Patriarchs, to the Judges, to the Kings, and the Prophets, Israel had prospered under its covenant with our Lord, Adonai9, and suffered when it was transgressed. However, the days of a sovereign Kingdom of Israel had long ago ended, and the Jewish people have since been scattered in the Diaspora10.

  When the Zionist Movement sought to re-establish an independent Jewish state in Palestine in 1948, it stirred a hornet's nest that plunged the fledgling country into a war with the Arab world surrounding it: Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and soldiers in the Arab Liberation Army and the Army of the Holy War11 all promised to swiftly end its existence. Despite the odds set against it, Israel triumphantly prevailed in the end against its adversaries, and so secured the promise of Jewish statehood: the one nation against seven.

  I remember that day well, for it was also when an angry mob took their dissatisfaction with the outcome of the war and chose to burn down parts of my old neighborhood in Cairo, decrying my community as a fifth column that needed to be toppled. I had been too young to understand the geopolitics that had rocked our country, but my older sister Rebekah knew very well that our world had changed forever. In 1954, Israeli intelligence operatives recruited my sister to participate in covert attacks that could bring down the Egyptian President and perhaps usher in a more protective government for us. The clandestine mission failed, and the Egyptian authorities promised to inflict vengeance upon us and our community.

  We had no other choice, and so we fled from our home into this new nation called Israel. Rebekah's contacts in the Mossad12 gave me a job at the Israel Security Agency13, working in the Protective Security Department. There, I was tasked with protecting high-value individuals in the government, such as the Agriculture Minister Moshe Dayan. Minister Dayan and I became acquaintances quickly, and soon I found myself running special tasks for him around Tel Aviv. Rebekah and I rebuilt our lives in this city, and I felt a sense of security staying here.

  Of course, there were challenges adapting to the new culture: Karaite Judaism was not looked upon favorably by the religious authorities here — we were called 'fake Jews' for not believing in the Mishnah14. Nevertheless, I did not let their prejudices affect me; it was after all far less dangerous here than the mobs in Egypt. This peaceful state of affairs would not last for long; another war was on the horizon, and Israel would be the one to strike the first blow in this new conflict.


BRONZE SNAKE

I stumbled on some loose soil and fell on my knee, scraping the searing rocks that jutted out of the ground. My hands broke my fall, mostly. I heard a loud hiss, and looking forward, I saw a large snake of an unknown species watching me like a wounded animal with its two piercing eyes. It raced across the sand, lunging forward and striking its venom into my arm. Searing pain coursed through my body like thousands of molten needles plunging into my flesh.

Writhing on the ground, I felt a mix of shock and frustration at my situation. My thoughts returned to the events of the Six-Day War: the Arab nations around us sought justice for what they saw as the colonization of Arab territory. Fear was rising in the country of an all-out civilian massacre, and everyone felt vulnerable. I remember remarking to my sister, "Did we only delay the inevitable by fleeing here?"

Later that day, I received word that Minister Dayan was to become the new Israeli Defense Minister. Under his direction, Israeli forces launched a preemptive strike at the Egyptian military, a successful operation that decimated their air defenses, but that had also sparked a regional war. During this time, I was ordered to accompany Minister Dayan to the West Bank where a siege had been going on for East Jerusalem.

On our way to the field site, our convoy was attacked by enemy operatives on the side of the road. Waves of red mist scattered across the air, dyeing the vehicles and the asphalt with blood. I entered into a primal state of survival, firing my weapon half-blind by fear into the surrounding structures on the road, hoping that I would avoid the fate of my colleagues whose bodies were lying around me.

The battle likely lasted for mere minutes, but for me, it felt like an eternity. Through it all, Minister Dayan showed no fear in the face of danger; himself helping to drive off the assailants who were in-all-likelihood targeting him rather than the rest of us. When the smoke of war had cleared from the battlefield, Israel won the largest acquisition of territory in all its history: from the Golan Heights in Syria to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. The Jewish State was ascendant on the world stage, and like any other, it quickly began to develop its new powers. Security had to be established within the newly acquired borders, especially within occupied regions of Arab Palestine.

After the War, Minister Dayan began meeting with former Chief Military Rabbi General Shlomo Goren and former Mossad Chief Director Meir Amit to create a covert task force that could secure Jewish artifacts in the Sinai Peninsula and West Bank regions, with priority given to finding the mystical Ark of the Covenant, an artifact that had been lost to the Jewish people for centuries.


EZEKIEL'S VISION

  For weeks after that firefight in Jerusalem, I kept having nightmares of the attack; visions of bodies scattered around the ground haunted my dreams at night, as I felt the same sensation of fear coursing through me. In some, the battle was in the streets of Cairo instead of East Jerusalem. In one, I had been shot in the crossfire and was bleeding out on the side of the road when I saw the sun stand still over me, shining down a ray of light that healed my wounds. A loud voice came down from the sky, addressing me, "Find the life, son of Abraham."

  I made the decision to leave the ISA in order to begin a journey of spiritual self-healing, hoping that this would refresh my mind and take away those stresses I carried with me since Egypt. That fateful choice had now left me stranded and dying on the face of this accursed mountain. It would be hours before the next tour group would arrive here, and so I remained lying on the soil in excruciating pain, the sun setting over me. In desperation, I turned to my faith, and started to recite the Shema15: "Hear O’ Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One. Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever."

  In that moment, I glanced upward and saw a bright light—brighter than the Sun—flood the area around me. Thinking I was perhaps seeing the proverbial 'light at the end of the tunnel', I was awestruck by what I saw next: Above me, around 20 meters from the ground, I saw two wheels of fire, one within the other, and across the surface of the wheels were eyes surrounded by blue flames. In the center of the wheels I saw a platform floating in the air, and on the platform stood the visage of a man cloaked in a red and white robe. The man held out a scepter before me that was glowing purple, and upon the scepter was a bronze snake with its head positioned at the top.

  Suddenly, I started to feel my injuries heal; looking at the snake bite on my arm, I noticed the necrotic flesh around the wound began to return to normal. A booming voice flooded the mountainside, "Repent, Rise Up, and Judge, as I have judged Israel, son of Abraham." A flash of light blinded me, and my vision returned to darkness.

  I don't know if I had fainted or if it was all a fever dream, but soon I found myself conscious again inside St. Catherine's Monastery16. Standing over me were concerned-looking clergy-members and tourists, who had apparently found my body passed out off the trail. They had taken me in a stretcher down the mountain, and placed me on this bench to recover. As I gathered my belongings and thanked the tour group for helping me, I went outside and saw nearby a contingent of Israeli Defense Force17 soldiers arriving with an armored convoy. Stepping out of the Jeep, I was surprised to see General Goren who I ran to greet.

  He recognized me from Minister Dayan's protection unit — we had briefly met before during the private meetings Minister Dayan held under the codename 'Teshuva'18. I told him of my predicament and what transpired on the mountain. Half-expecting him to dismiss my experience as a fantasy, instead General Goren's eyes widened, and he brought me to a facility accessible near the monastery that turned out to be a secret military site. There, I was brought up to speed on what had happened with the clandestine force Minister Dayan had helped put together three years earlier.


BLUE STAR

  On June 11, 1967, a twelve-man special operations team was assembled from soldiers in the special reconnaissance division of the Israeli Defense Force, as well as a handful of embedded Mossad agents in Arab nations, designated Task Force Unit-36 ("Blue Star"). Control of Task Force Unit-36 was assigned to General Goren in order to avoid involving Israel's secular government in state-sponsored Jewish religious activities. Unit-36 operated extensively in the Sinai Peninsula, establishing a regional base at Mount Sinai, and fielding several expeditions to religious sites across the desert.

  Once I entered the facility, I was brought before a containment area where I saw a snake that resembled the one that had struck me the day before. General Goren said to me, "Is this the type of snake that bit you?" When I affirmed his question, he replied, "Impossible, everyone we've tested who has been bitten by this snake has died, and we have found no way to heal them."

  I answered, "I cannot explain rationally what happened to me, General, but I am a spiritual man and I know what the Torah says. Hope is not lost; the Lord has not abandoned us, he is still with us." General Goren nodded approvingly, "Amen, Simeon!" It was on that day that General Goren officially recruited me into Unit-36.

  Prior to my membership, the group had found and documented strange phenomena across the Middle East, both things that seemed Biblical in nature, and other anomalies that were more malevolent and mysterious. It became apparent that Unit-36 was also far from the only group of its kind in this region; other people, perhaps other nations were engaging in similar activities. One of my first missions after becoming a new member was the take-over of an abandoned facility near the Suez Canal that had belonged to an unknown organization called Monarch Security.

  Inside, we found dangerous anomalies that had been left behind: bombs that only damaged organic tissues; a tome that turned a soldier into a block of salt; and the mummified body of a human with strange images tattooed on its skin that gave illnesses to those who replicated the glyphs. These things that defied the laws of reality caused great turmoil among the operatives who hadn't previously contemplated or experienced the supernatural. The veil of the unknown was lifted from all of our eyes; a great fear and apprehension took hold of many among us.

  Unlike the rest, I and some other religious operatives weren't afraid. No, I knew in my heart that it was the Lord who appeared and saved my life on that Mountain, and He was still with us even in the unknown. I chose to take the last name 'ben Abraham' ever since that time, as Abraham himself did long ago.


NEW LEADERSHIP

  General Goren's decision to retire from the Israeli Defense Forces in 1973 in order to run for Chief Rabbinate of Israel also meant that he would step down as Commander of Unit-36. Following his retirement announcement, he said to me, "I am choosing you to be my successor. It is not that I agree with your religious tenets, Simeon. I value what the Mishnah and the Gemarra19 say in relation to understanding Judaism. Frankly, it is because I am afraid of the Kabbalist20 thought that is taking over the members."

  It was true, there was talk among some members of practicing occult rituals from the Zohar21 to protect themselves from anomalies. I replied, "I agree with your concerns, General. It is written, 'Go not aside unto necromancers, neither seek after wizards, for they defile you.' We would be wise to heed the commandments of Adonai."

   General Goren's proclamation that I would take over our organization was met with concern and disapproval from the Conservative Jewish contingency. They often taunted my Egyptian accent, and tried to use it to question my loyalty to Israel and Judaism. One of the members yelled at General Goren, "This man speaks Arabic better than he does Hebrew!" The hostility towards me was also because many of them wanted Meir Kahane to become the new leader.

  Meir was a new member recruited from the United States by General Goren, and he had a prior history of establishing Jewish defense groups in America. His zealotry and dedication to the Jewish people would be helpful in recruiting more members to the Unit, and his views were influential among the membership. Meir and I had personally spoken a couple of times, and while we both shared a similar belief in the importance of protecting Judaism, and not necessarily loyalty to the Israeli government, his views on non-Jewish people troubled me, as was his indifference to the Kabbalah issue.

  Despite the approval of General Goren, all the Conservative and Orthodox members threatened to walk away if Meir was not made the leader. A compromise was then struck: Meir and I would both be the new commanders of Unit-36, sharing power with one another. This compromise was received well enough, and more importantly, it ensured that Unit-36 would remain stable for the foreseeable future. One of our first moves was to create a pledge that all members of Blue Star were to sign saying they would forsake practicing Jewish mysticism unless specified otherwise; those who refused would be exiled. We lost more members than expected.

  Commander Kahane and I adhered closely to General Goren's model of management, and everything seemed to be running smoothly until the war broke out. The surprise invasion by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan into Israeli territory in the Yom Kippur War resulted in significant amounts of reserve troops being deployed to active combat duty, including those Israeli military operatives who were a core part of Unit-36.

  The twelve-man team which had grown to fifty operatives in the years after suddenly fell to less than five full-time members, excluding me and Commander Kahane. Three of our bases in the Sinai Peninsula, and two our of bases in the West Bank, were overrun by Arab paramilitaries from Egypt and Jordan. The tight security situation forced us to also abandon our bases in the rest of Israel and concentrate on protecting our main site in Jerusalem.

  We appeared on the brink of a total collapse, so Meir and I launched a massive recruitment effort targeting the ultra-Orthodox community. Members of that community were reluctant to join the secular military service, but they were willing to protect their religious identity through our group. Part of our messaging incorporated the Ark of the Covenant and militaristic language: We were holy warriors seeking to return what belongs to the people of Israel. The recruitment efforts worked tremendously, and many members who are a part of our organization today joined us from this outreach.


THE MERCENARIES

Over the course of the war, we were able to re-secure our Israeli bases and our command center beneath Mount Sinai, which hadn't been attacked by any paramilitaries. Our first combat target was the repossession of the former Monarch Security base in order to retrieve anomalous weapons that had been stored at the facility. To our surprise, the area was only lightly defended by Egyptian soldiers, who probably crossed the canal during the war. We figured these soldiers were a small contingent left over from that initial assault.

Quickly, our operatives stormed the base and overran their defenses, surprising the soldiers stationed there. They did not know who we were, and after surrendering, they told us they had been assigned there by the Arab League "to defend against the Mercenaries." We did not know who they were referring to. After letting them retreat from the area, we planned to continue up towards the Mediterranean to recover a second base located there when our lookout tower spotted a strange dust cloud racing towards us from the North. In hindsight, I should have readied out defenses, but I had been too focused on taking inventory inside the storage depot.

All of a sudden, an explosion rocked the base. Running outside, I saw a giant crater in the concrete, and the bodies of five operatives dead or injured around it. In the sky, I saw hurdling towards the ground what looked like a mortar round, but as it fell, objects and people near its trajectory were pulled forward before its detonation. A second explosion sent a piece of shrapnel embedded into my shoulder, careening me backwards onto the concrete. Getting up, I directed my men to prepare for combat and rescue the injured, while moving towards a barricade to give myself cover. Armed assailants began to storm the perimeter using weapons that were supernatural in nature. We were being suppressed with mini-gun fire; rounds ripped through the air and the walls, leaving behind a toxic white powder that seared our skin on contact.

Left and right, I saw my men go down, eerily similar to that attack back in the Six-Day War. The fear of combat returned to me, more potent than I had felt before. I tried to fend some of the attackers off, but it was as if my bullets weren't strong enough to pierce through their clothing, yet their weapons could shatter our flak armor like nothing. Our men began taking cover either inside the depot, or on the hills surrounding us. I managed to maneuver my way out of the perimeter in order to get a better vantage point at where our enemy was attacking from. I was about to order our forces to pull back and abandon the base when a round ripped through my leg and an explosion threw me back into the sand. Dazed in the moment, soon pain returned to ravage my body.

All around us, I saw limbs and mangled corpses, some blackened and charred to a crisp. Blood was dripping from my leg, coloring the desert glass red like wine, bones protruded from my wound. My collarbone had been shattered in the fall, and I struggled to breathe in the smoke-filled white air. Perhaps this was divine punishment of some sort, for some slight we had caused the Lord. I felt hopelessly alone in that moment, powerless in the face of this unknown evil, certain at that moment that the end was here for all of us. I attempted to speak, but only blood came out of my mouth. My throat stung and all I thought about was that vision on Mount Sinai. "Forgive me, Adonai for my shortcomings, for our failures to live rightly by your commandments".


VISION UNVEILED

   I closed my eyes, awaiting the final release of death. Then, I saw it again: A bright light that shone around me. I opened my eyes, and saw descending rapidly from the Heavens those wheels of fire, with eyes coating the surface in blue flames. Inside the wheel stood the visage of a man, with red and white robes, and in his hand he held a staff different from the one I saw before.

  A booming voice flooded my head, "Repent, Rise and Judge, son of Abraham. I judge you as I have judged the people of Israel. Gather together all the tribes and stripes of the Kingdom, and fulfill the Covenant delivered to your father."

  The veiled man pointed his staff towards the attackers and flames shot out towards the ground, shaking the Earth and incinerating the attackers below. Another flash of light, and the craft ascended upwards, and my vision faded into darkness. I woke up being dragged towards the base by our remaining operatives whose faces had a look of sheer terror. I could hear the men whispering Jewish prayers, and I knew implicitly that my vision had not been a mere hallucination. The Lord was always with me.

  The subsequent weeks of the war ended with another Israeli victory, but Minister Dayan lost his job in the political fallout from the conflict, as did my sister Rebekah. I arranged for her to join Blue Star in order to help us preserve communications with our undercover members in the rest of the Middle East. A week after we recaptured our bases, I received a message from former-Minister Dayan over an encrypted telegram.

  "This isn't the news I wanted to give you, Commander Simeon, but the war jeopardized this government in ways unforeseen when I had put together Unit-36. Given the circumstances we find ourselves in, I am issuing a directive to abandon and dissolve the organization. I hope you understand, and perhaps when things calm down, Blue Star can be brought back in a new form," stated the encrypted message.

  I deliberated with Commander Kahane before sending my response: "Thank you for the message, Minister Dayan, but there will be no abolishment of Blue Star. Not now and not ever, not until that day comes when the Third Temple22 is restored and we return our Ark to its rightful place inside it. I am prepared to make our group fully independent of government support. Our authority is no longer to this government alone, Minister Dayan, a Higher Authority now summons us for a new mission, Amen."

  There were no doubts in my mind on the viability of going independent. We had already made in-roads within all stripes of the Jewish community, and I felt assured of my mandate from the Lord, the one who saved me on that mountain summit and on the desert below. This was all a part of His divine plan; bringing me and Rebekah out of Egypt into Israel; connecting me with the Teshuva Commission; and saving me from my nightmare, the snake, and the Mercenaries. Unit-36 was the purpose to my life and faith.

  Hours later, I received a final reply, "Unit-36 has been disbanded from our records. Do not reply to this message." We were finally free from government oversight, and we quickly reconstituted our organization under our current name Blue Star on February 10, 1974.



Simeon ben Abraham finished writing the document, entitled "Chronicles of Unit-36". The document was approved by a unanimous vote from the representatives for Conservative, Reform, Hasidic23, Haredi24, Modern Orthodox25, Haymanot26, Samaritan27, and Reconstructionist Judaism.

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