With the recent rise of terrorism in many parts of the world, it is hard to be optimistic; indeed, it is only natural to wonder whether we’re approaching a very dangerous period in history. This concern is especially pertinent in our advanced era of technology and communication, which turns our world into a global village. The faces of terror have become so diverse and the acts of atrocity so creative and bold, and all the while they are striking closer and closer to home, making us wonder: “Are we truly safe anywhere? Are the forces of evil gaining the upper hand? Is our world headed for disaster?”

As illustrated by the following anecdote, the Rebbe strongly emphasized that the ultimate victory is in the hands of the righteous, not in the hands of the physically strong. As history has proven time and again, goodness and justice do prevail.

On June 27, 1976, an Air France plane en route from Paris to Tel Aviv was hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists and diverted to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. The hijackers separated the Jewish passengers from the others and threatened to kill them if their demands were not met. Israel’s government offered to negotiate in order to stall for time. A week later, the world awoke to stunning headlines. The hostages were safe and sound and back in their homeland after a miraculous, death-defying raid by Israeli Special Forces, 2,500 miles from home.

At a public address two weeks later, the Rebbe spoke about the lessons that could be learned from this spectacular rescue operation:

From time to time, we are granted the opportunity to actually see in this physical world how quality can prevail over quantity…. This brings us to the recent astonishing event which shook the entire world. We refer, of course, to the miraculous rescue of dozens of Jewish hostages from death to life and their safe return to a civilized land.

There was no natural way of seeing how it could be done. And yet we saw with our own eyes how quality prevailed over quantity. The enemies greatly outnumbered the rescuing forces—both at the airport itself, and even more so, if you count all the enemy forces in all the countries that had to be flown over in order to rescue the hostages and then again on their return to the Holy Land.

And in the operation itself: it wasn’t quantity that won; it wasn’t the number of weapons or men that determined who prevailed. On the contrary, the force with fewer men and weapons was victorious; it was the quality of the liberators that prevailed over the quality of the captors.

Moreover [regarding] the rescuers themselves, their own “quality” prevailed over their own “quantity.” In terms of quantity—that is, their physical considerations—there should have been no way for people to allow themselves to participate in such a mission. What they did goes against the body’s nature, the basic instinct for self-preservation, which would normally prevent a person from getting involved in this whole [operation] from the start. However, since spiritual considerations prevailed—and not just spiritual considerations but the spiritual instinct that transcends all consideration—they allowed themselves to do what they did.1

While the media consistently reinforces the image of a world that is falling apart, where brutality and strength prevail, it is important to remember that goodness—no matter how tenuous and fragile it may seem—has the power to triumph.