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Passover & Easter: The Story of a Miracle

By Shlomo Maital  


  Christians and Jews are about to celebrate Passover and Easter. They always fall together, because the Jewish calendar is lunar and Easter is always determined according to the lunar calendar.

   Both Passover and Easter cause us all to reflect about miracles – in the case of Passover, the miracle of the people of Israel, abject slaves, fleeing Egypt and becoming a strong, free independent people.

     The story below was sent to me by a friend. It too is about a miracle, involving Jews and Christians.   Each of us, all of us, can literally save the lives of others, even those we don’t even know… This story is confirmed in Elmer Bendiner’s book, The Fall of Fortresses. *

*Sometimes, it’s not really just luck.*

  Elmer Bendiner was a navigator in a B-17 during WW II. He tells this story of a World War II bombing run over Kassel, Germany, and the unexpected result of a direct hit on their gas tanks. “Our B-17, the Tondelayo, was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. That was not unusual, but on this particular occasion our gas tanks were hit.  Later, as I reflected on the miracle of a 20 millimeter shell piercing the fuel tank without touching off an explosion, our pilot, Bohn Fawkes, told me it was not quite that simple. “On the morning following the raid, Bohn had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of unbelievable luck.

     The crew chief told Bohn that not just one shell but 11 had been found in the gas tanks. 11 unexploded shells where only one was sufficient to blast us out of the sky. It was as if the sea had been parted for us. A near-miracle, I thought.

     Even after 35 years, so awesome an event leaves me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn. “He was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused. The armorers told him that Intelligence had picked them up. They could not say why at the time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer. “Apparently when the armorers opened each of those shells, they found no explosive charge. They were as clean and harmless.

     Empty? Not all of them! One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it was a scrawl in Czech. The Intelligence people scoured our base for a man who could read Czech. Eventually they found one to decipher the note. It set us marveling. Translated, the note read:

    “This is all we can do for you now…

      Using Jewish slave labor is never a good idea.”


China’s Miracle

By Shlomo  Maital  


                                                                            1970                        2001

CHINA adjusted for inflation   (rmb b.)                  

Gross domestic product (GDP)    Q           225.3                        9,593

   Exports of goods and services   X            4.1                          2,478

   Imports of goods and services  IM         4.2                          2,246

   Household consumption expenditure   C  142.6                  4,409

   General government consumption expenditure   17.5       1,314

   Gross capital formation  Ig                            65.4                          3,638


  I’ve been reviewing macroeconomic data for China, 1970-2001.  And the numbers are astounding.  The world’s most populous nation has moved from a country disconnected from world trade, with almost no exports or imports, and abysmal poverty, a Cultural Revolution in which millions starved, in which backyard furnaces tried and failed to make steel – to a nation that has grown by an average of 10% yearly.  GDP has risen by almost 45 times, doubling five times..and then some.  Exports have risen by 600 times, which is 8 doublings!   And investment (capital formation)?   That rose almost 60 times, or almost 8 doublings!

   This has never happened in history. No country has come close, let alone with the world’s most populous country. 

   How did all this happen?  A leader named Deng Xiao Ping was placed under house arrest, during the Cultural Revolution, and had a lot of time on his hands.  He looked around the world, saw countries that were rich and growing, and countries that were poor and stagnant – and decided that ‘rich’ was better than ‘ideology’.  The rest is history.

   Lots of people seem to believe the ‘bubble’ will burst, and even wish it would, complaining about civil rights, human rights, etc.  China will soon be the world’s biggest economy. We all should wish China well – because if China’s growth slows, so will all of Asia, and then all of the world.  Ask not for whom the bell tolls…..

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital
September 2019
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