My dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy used to beat us. Rather regularly. My older brother-duh-doc and me. And sometimes the beatings could be rather innovative. Now remember, this was post WWII when many fathers – and even mothers — offered demonstrative instruction to their children.
And looking back, with my eyes wide open, I can now meliorate some of the sociological reasoning for this. Men – as well as most of the country assisting in the war effort — had lost 4 years of their lives fighting the Axis powers. And my father, in particular, was an only child. His father was killed in an accident when my father was barely 16. And my grandmother died of cancer when he was 21.
So he was left pretty much alone to make it in a world that was catching-up on lost time; a world that had little time to spare to help others when they had already lost so much time saving the world. For time is the arbiter of everything. We are all punching a time clock… of sorts.
Was it fair? I mean the war, my father’s life, and his resulting tough temperament?
As my dear ol’ Pappy was fond of exhaling from one of his omniscient corn cob pipes: ‘The only ‘fair’ I know is the ‘fare’ I paid to ride the bus.’
But of course! He was tough because he had to be. And he meant to make his sons even tougher. For he knew the world could be mean. And mean people come to hate. And their passionate hatred only gives meaning and purpose to their empty lives. And that ‘the mean’ isn’t always just a mathematical factor, because often times ‘the mean’ of this mad, mad world just adds up to nothing but trouble.
It also didn’t assuage his disposition that he was Jewish, although not very religious. But still a stranger in a strange land. Even in America that felt it had paid its debt, rescuing them from the holocaust – although 6 million too late.
And meanwhile, many of my father’s wandering landsmen – also survivors of lost families — found their way to the Promised Land. And they called it Israel – a name that means many things.
Such as ‘G-d rules.’ ‘May G-d prevail.’ ‘He struggles with G-d.’ ‘G-d perseveres…’
What Israel really meant is that the Jews no longer had to be wandering. They found a home, as they were biblically meant to do, to toast life again. A state of more than mind. And their country was recognized in 1948 – except by much of the Arab and Muslim world which for some reason hated this sliver of a country that was formed by people who had no place else to go – but damn well meant to stay. And from the desert, Israel, like its name, ‘persevered, struggled and prevailed.’
And, by the way, bloomed… and prospered.
Yet the Arab and Muslim world continued to hate – like men possessed with a dire need to hate and destroy. A billion or more of them hating a tidy few Jews. It’s the old saw: Take away hatred from some people, and all you have is men without faith.
I recognize that in time we hate that which we often fear. And also, as dear ol’ Pappy said rather poignantly time and again: ‘If you hate a person you find something in him that you hate in yourself — for what isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.’
I think he must have been quoting somebody. For that was a tad profound even for him.
But of course!
I can’t say I loved my father. He was a hard man to love. But I certainly didn’t hate him. And, indeed, I respected him. But mostly feared him. Especially when he would utter those inimical words: ‘Remind me tonight that I owe you a licking.’
And of course, you reminded him. Because if you forgot, his strap became even more strapping.
In others words, with my father, as with Israel: Justice is punishment for the unjust. And just because my father and Israel may be, or had been, less-than-perfect, doesn’t mean either one cared about delivering perfect justice. Particularly to people who just don’t seem to ‘get-it.’
Like me. And my brother.
Because G-d will sort it out. Because, in the end, ‘G-d rules!’ – as the word ‘Israel’ dictates. In other words, life is never fair, and perhaps that’s a good thing for most of us that it is not.
Which brings me to Israel – and more than just the last four weeks of the hell in Gaza. After all, hell is what war is all about. It is where death feasts. Madness reigns. Innocents are killed. Homes are destroyed. Revenge is sworn. And nations suffer under the control of haters and the inveterate anger of fools.
It is also where the telescope ends and the microscope begins – especially in the world examining Israel’s actions once more. And while not absolving the Israelis, I’ve have got to wonder where the hell the world has been the last 66 years! Or have your memories been over-circumcised also.
From day one in 1948 most of the one billion Arab folks have been at war with Israel. Just 18 years after the fledgling Jewish state had been recognized by the UN an Egyptian-Syrian-Jordanian alliance — all countries which had kicked out their own brothers, aka as the Palestinians, but only since Israel was born — marched over the Golan Heights and the Gaza behind tanks and divisions.
And to their humiliation in what became known as the Six Day War they discovered that the only thing chicken about the Jews is our soup.
Yet despite peace accords and UN resolutions Egypt and Syria led another surprise Arab assault six years hence in the abominable Yom Kippur War. And when Israel snatched victory from imminent defeat, the Arabs ran crying to the UN to save them.
Since then there has been the PLO, Black September, the Hamas, the jihadists with suicide bombs strapped to their waist… and more.
And for what? All are not bent on establishing a Palestinian State but on the total incineration of Israel. And 9 years ago when Israel handed control of Gaza back to the Palestinians, what happened? They didn’t make the Gaza bloom and prosper. They destroyed what was there and dug tunnels to continue their hatred and killing and assault on Israel.
And now the world wants to condemn Israel for what they consider ‘over-reacting.’
So please lend me your ears so I can remind you again: Israel has asked. Pleaded. Indulged. Endured. They even implored. Indeed, they came in peace. But now they are ‘peaced’ off! And as I had well learned from my father: Beware of the wrath of a patient man. Especially when it comes down to personal or national security.
The winds of war eventually come screaming down on your mistaken impertinence, insolence, petulance and downright entrenched hatred. Hatred always destroys the hater. And the Israeli’s are making war so that they can live in peace.
Peace. You know, give it a chance. It’s a thousand mile journey that begins with a smile. It is not something that can be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. And only when you are at peace with yourself.
So, let me give you my two-cents – and you can give me back the change: If you want peace, you don’t talk with your Jew-hating friends. You talk to your so-called enemy. That’s how my mother made peace with my father. She told him she could ‘always divide by two.’ I don’t recall if she was holding a chainsaw at the time. But I do know that the shortest distance between people is open, and honest, and truthful communication.
And from that comes peace and understanding. Because the truth exists; only lies are invented.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony….