Imagine a group of sailors from a foreign county, adrift in the middle of the ocean. They have been in the water so long they can no longer remember how many days they have been without food or water.
Along comes a sailboat, full of Jewish sailors. Before the lost mariners can cry out for help, the Jewish boat overturns, spilling the entire group into the sea. Within moments the sailboat has sunk beneath the waves, sending out an SOS as it disappears from view. Now the two groups bob along in the ocean, side by side.
On shore, the Israeli navy receives the Mayday call and sends a patrol boat rushing to the Jewish sailors’ last known location in order to rescue, if possible, any survivors.
The boat arrives at the scene. Some of the Jews, delirious from dehydration, do not realize that they are drowning and resist the Israeli Navy’s rescue efforts. Although they were sent only to rescue the Jewish sailors, once they had reached all the Jews who would climb aboard, the crew begins to save the foreign sailors as well. Soon the boat was packed with foreigners.
The foreign sailors, however, seem to be totally unaware that the boat was only sent in response to the plight of the Jewish mariners. Apparently unaware that the Jewish sailors and their rescuers speak the same language, the foreign sailors begin to urge the rescue ship to return to shore.
“If we were supposed to rescue those other sailors, they would have climbed aboard!” They cried. “They had the same chance we had! We’re tired and hungry and we want to get home.”
To their consternation and frustration, the boat continued to circle the drowning Jewish sailors, throwing life preservers to them and sending launches out to rescue the dying men.
“We’ll go home when the last Jew is aboard,” the Captain of the boat tells the foreigners. “And not a moment sooner! When all the Jews have been rescued, we’ll get you back to shore.”
The foreign seamen shake their heads in bewilderment. The boat came for everyone, they reasoned amongst themselves. Everyone has to get on the boat if they are to survive. These Jews are no different than us. Thank God the boat happened to come by! If it hadn’t, no one would have been saved!
And so the sailors waited for the Captain to save the Jewish sailors, though it seemed that no matter what the Captain tried to do, the Jewish mariners would have none of it. Unaware that saving his fellow sailors was the heart’s desire of the Master of the ship, the foreigners grumbled about the dawdling Captain.
Soon the foreigners reasoned that there were many other sailors lost and drifting at sea. The rescued sailors urged the Master of the boat to move on and focus on others who needed their help, and leave the Jewish sailors in the ocean. The Master of the ship would not be deterred, however, and continued to circle the drowning mariners.
As for the foreign sailors, most of them sat on the deck , frustrated and bewildered; never lending a hand to save the men whose terrible plight made it possible for them to have escaped death.