Bamba’s Baby’s Bequest
David WilderDavid Wilder was born in New Jersey in 1954, and graduated from Case Western...
So it was that Israel chose the ‘Bamba baby’ to symbolize this nation at the 2012 London olympics.
For those unaware, Bamba is a national pastime. Ask any child who can mutter the word Ema (Mommy). Bamba is the 2nd or 3rd word in any baby’s vocabulary. A tasty, munchy, peanut-flavored snack, this nibble is a favorite amongst all ages, religions, and nationalities. (It is rumored that “Bamba packets” were discovered during archeological excavations at several ancient tels in Israel (together with empty soda bottles.))
And so it was that the inevitable decision to leave the ‘bamba baby’ at home in Israel this summer was made. The kids cried, and the company wept, but the parents cheered. After all, should the tidbit’s picture appear all over the place, surely the tot’s would demand more and more. This could cause a social revolution amongst the younger generation.
So Israel’s Olympic committee had to go back to work, to find a suitable replacement to embody the Jewish state at the Olympics. Not an easy task. How to follow in the footsteps of the adorable doll? What could better exemplify Israel amongst the nations of the world?
I began pondering this predicament and suddenly, out of the blue, had a brainstorm.
Perhaps the ‘Bamba Baby’ is first on Israel’s list of national heritage treasures. But, this having been struck down; so what could be number two? Of course, the Kotel, the Wall in Jerusalem, is the most important place in Israel, in the world. But there is a place, of major major significance which actually preceded Jerusalem. That is Machpela, the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron. What could better represent our people, especially in London, this summer!
What is the significance of London to Ma’arat HaMachpela? Actually London symbolizes British leadership. It was the British who appointed Haj Amin el-Husseini as Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921. Later a Nazi, meeting with and working with Hitler during World War Two, he incited and initiated the 1929 riots in Israel. British decision-makers abandoned Hebron’s Jews to their horrid fate when, during Arab riots that summer, a British officer watched as Jews were raped, tortured and butchered. Then, only three days later, the survivors were forcibly expelled by those same British, who determined that the Jews and Arabs could not continue living together in Hebron. Being that the Arabs outnumbered the Jews, it was simpler to remove the Jews. (So was told to me by a survivor of that calamity.) In 1931 Jews returned to Hebron, only again to be thrown out in the spring of 1936, following continued incitement of the Mufti, being told that they could no longer be protected. Thus, leaving Hebron Judenrein until its liberation in June, 1967. For the first time in almost 1,000 years.
So what could be more fitting than to have all Israelis, representing Israel in the 2012 Olympics, wearing charms of Ma’arat HaMachpela, the tombs of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, in London.
This holy site is literally the source of Monotheism. The belief in one G-d begins in here. What could better epitomize our national heritage than the roots of Machpela?
At present, there are others claiming that the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs is not a Jewish holy site, that it has nothing to do with Jewish heritage. What better a way for Israel, as a country, as a people, as a land, to exclaim, at this international happening, loud and clear, with no uncertainty or doubt: Ma’rat HaMachpela, the first holy site in Israel, represents us amongst the people of the world!
The implications are mind-boggling. Perhaps those who never have heard of Machpela, might become curious and visit. Tens and hundreds of thousands of people from around the world might join the already 700,000 people who visited this site last year.
Thus, justice would be served. The very nation that turned the Jews out of Hebron would have, at the least, indirect responsibility for an ingathering of peoples, Jews and gentiles, into Hebron.