Against All Odds: Israel Survives chronicles the incredible stories of miraculous events surrounding Israel’s rebirth as a nation, especially the accounts of soldiers, spies, military commanders, and guerrillas during her wars and various conflicts with the surrounding countries that have had a history of aggression toward the Jewish state. To help you gain a better understanding of the history of Israel and her neighbors, a brief history, as well as some statistics, are presented for Israel and her neighbors.
View Bill McKay’s interview with Pastor John Hagee:
View The Trailer:
1: The Assignment
The opening episode follows the decision of investigative journalist MICHAEL GREENSPAN to accept an invitation to accept an assignment to research the stories of incredible occurrences in Israel in the twentieth century, particularly during its major wars – stories that defy logic and reason in their outcome. The episode features the dramatization from the Yom Kippur War of tank commander DAVID YANIV’s Golan experience, when a mysterious wind came out of nowhere to expose thousands of mines in the field where they were stranded, saving their lives only meters away from passing Syrian tank convoys.
2: Miracle At Michmash
Michael travels to Michmash to investigate two stories that history records happened there 2,000 years apart. The episode dramatizes the story of British major VIVIAN GILBERT, whose brigade was sent by Allenby to rout out the Turkish garrison at Michmash, in preparation for the assault on Jericho during World War I. But the night before the battle, Gilbert read the Biblical account of Saul and Jonathan, who in 1050 BC. were camped in the same place as the British were now – and faced a garrison of 30,000 Philistines at Michmash. Gilbert is inspired to follow Jonathan’s unorthodox battle plan and experiences a similar, some would say ‘miraculous’, victory against all logic for its success.
3: Shula – The Girl Who Became a Spy
Michael meets 85 year old SHULA COHEN and the episode dramatizes her amazing story of becoming a spy for Israel in 1948 in Beruit, where her wealthy husband and her acceptance in Lebanese / Syrian social circles gave her unprecedented access to secret intelligence information. In a story reminiscent of Queen Esther in the Bible, she risks her comfortable lifestyle and social life to help her people, but unlike Esther, Shula pays a high price for her choice. Imprisoned in 1960, she endures seven years of torture and abuse before a secret prisoner exchange after the Six Day War, allows Shula to come home to Jerusalem.
5: A Boy Named Ezra
Michael meets Ezra Yakhin and the episode dramatizes his story, when as a 16 year old teenager, Ezra joins the Irgun freedom fighters to resist the British occupation of Palestine. Unable to dissuade young Ezra from his decision, his mother instead prays a blessing over her son, that he would never be seen by his enemies. To his amazement, time and time again he is unseen when there appears to be no way he could have avoided being caught – and likely executed for terrorism – by the British. The episode also explores the incredible obstacles that stood in the way of Israel’s road to rebirth in the years before 1948 under the British Mandate.
6: The Miracle Of ‘48
Michael meets war veteran SHAYKE GAVISH and EITAN HABER, both freedom fighters in the War for Independence. The son of legendary documentary filmmaker NATHAN AXELROD, shares his personal memories and narrates moments from his father’s priceless film collection. The episode dramatizes AMOS HOREV’s account of how he helped discover a back road to Jerusalem when it was under siege by the Jordanians, a route that would become the famous Burma Road. After the War for Independence, David Ben-Gurion’s chief of staff, YIGAL YADIN, an atheist like Ben Gurion, wrote across his personal file from the war “THE GREAT MIRACLE”. He had witnessed an achievement beyond human explanation, he later recalled. The episode dramatizes the account of IRA RAPPAPORT, whose surrounded platoon on Mt. Zion faced hundreds of Jordanians with only 25 bullets between them. Preparing themselves to die, they saw the Jordanians suddenly begin shouting “Abraham! Abraham!,” and running away. Years later, Ira met one of those Jordanian soldiers, who told him they ran away because they had seen a vision of Abraham defending the Jews in the sky above the young Israelis. Michael visits with Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, ISRAEL LAU and historian GERSHON BAR KOCHVA, who provides the facts that added up to a war against all odds for the one day old nation of Israel in 1948. The episode includes an inspiring visit to the grave of patriarch DAVID BEN-GURION.
Michael investigates the incredible military achievement of 1967, and the inspiring stories associated with the return of Jerusalem to Jewish hands for the first time since the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70AD. Commander DAVID YANIV tells (and the episode dramatizes) an account of Abraham appearing in the sky above a platoon of soldiers outside Jerusalem’s walls, reminiscent of the Ira Rappaport experience of ’48. Paratrooper YORAM ZAMUSH takes Michael to the Kotel and recounts his personal story (and the episode dramatizes) his men being the first Jews to touch the wailing wall as a part of Israel since the Jewish exile from this land nearly 2,000 years ago.
8: A Warrior Named Kahalani
There are few living war legends in Israel as known or more beloved as AVIGDOR KAHALANI. Michael visits Kahalani who shares his remarkable stories of escape froma burning tank in the Sinai campaign of 1967, and a faceoff wth Syrian tanks in 1973, against all odd. Kahalani’s own son, DOTAN, plays the role of his famous father in the re-enactment of these two legendary war stories. Veterans of both wars were emotionally moved by the similarity between father and son as they witnessed the filming of this episode. American television journalist BILL McKAY discloses a secret exchange between GOLDA MEIR Meir and then U.S. President RICHARD NIXON that turned the tide in Israel’s favor at a moment when almost every leader in Israel was predicting annihilation for Israel. The episode climaxes with a moving visit by Michael to the Memorial Wall of Remembrance at the Armored Corps Museum at Latrun.
9: The Miracle Of Survival – Pt 2 The People of the Book Come Home
The miracle of millions of people pulling up stakes in their homelands to come to a desert wasteland and start their lives over is almost unimaginable. But such is the story of the exodus that repopulated the reborn nation of Israel. Rabbi Israel Lau describes the sense of coming home, with his own story of survival from the Holocaust. Russian Jews tell their story of escape from the tyranny of Communism and others describe what it means to be in Israel, the land of their forefathers. The episode includes a tribute to Hebrew language pioneer ELEAZOR BEN-YEHUDA, whose modern Hebrew dictionary formed the foundation for a modern nation restoring the everyday language of its ancient forefathers.
10: A Place Of Miracles?
Michael takes his investigation to the streets of Israel and talks with people from all walks of life about miracles in Israel. A visit with leading television news anchor Yaacov Elon sheds a contemporary insight on the people of modern day Israel. Clarence Wagner takes Michael on a look back at the remarkable fulfillment of ancient biblical prophecies in the land of Israel today, and chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, Israel Lau takes us on a unique view of Israel as a living land of the Bible.
11: Miracles: Echoes of the Bible
Myths or Miracles? Michael investigates two stories, beginning with one told by 90 year old Margalit Zinati, her family’s presence in Pekiin since the fall of the second Temple, legendary. She claims her grandfather’s account is true, when marauding Arab terrorists one night attempted to wipe out the Jewish community and instead faced a group of strange beings wielding flaming swords, who scared them away, to the shock of the village rabbi who witnessed the event. AVINOAM GRINBERG is but one of the villagers in Yavne whose parents recount an incident in 1917, when the largest plague of locusts anyone had ever seen descended on their farms, threatening to destroy their livelihood forever. But they awakened the next day to find their fields covered with thousands of storks, so many the fields appeared covered in snow, at a time of the year when storks never come to Israel, devouring the locusts and leaving the fields richer than any in the Galilee for years to come.
12: Miracle At Entebee
If there is a story that defies all the odds, it is the rescue of the passengers of Air France flight 139 from Arab terrorists at the Entebee airport in 1976. Michael visits with former hostage SARAH DAVIDSON, whose family endured the nightmare, and with veteran pilot CHICKI SHANI, who piloted the Hercules plane that brought a crack team of Israeli soldiers to Entebee for a daring resue mission that had little hope of success. In a moment by moment recounting of this nightmare turned miracle, Entebee is shown as a dramatic demonstrations of Israel’s commitment to its citizens in their hour of need – wherever in the world they may be.
13: In Search Of A Miracle
On Michael’s last day in his investigative trip to Israel, he looks back on all the men and women he has met and the stories they have told him. Ending his visit on the eve of Shabbat, Michael visits a synagogue for the first time since he was a boy, and just before returning to America, draws his final conclusions about miracles in this ancient land with its modern people. It is an inspiring climax to this unprecedented television series.