Daddy! How Can I Leave You?

What's going on, Daddy? For the life of me I can not fathom the political situation and the total disintegration of the prime minister's mind. Last night, on the radio, I heard the prime minister say that he will throw out anyone who will refuse to be expelled willingly. This means, Daddy, that Mommy and I are going to be thrown out of our home if we refuse to go willingly.

Isaac Kohn,

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Daddy:

You've been gone now for over two years. The day, the minute, is as clear today as the moment it happened. The murderers waited for you behind the olive trees in the grove on the side of the road. You remember the grove? The one the IDF was determined to uproot after Miriam was murdered on the same road, but the Israeli Supreme Court disallowed it? And you, Daddy, promptly paid the price. In the dusk of the approaching night, they waited for you. Your car never made the turn. That orchard was finally uprooted. But too late for you, Daddy. Too late for me.

I know, Daddy, that up there, in heaven, you hear everything that is going on down here. You know, of course, Daddy, that our town, our home, is slated to be turned over to the same murderers who destroyed our lives and the lives of so many others. The Prime Minister, it seems, has decided that Israel as a nation has come to the end of the road. He's tired, I guess, unable and unwilling to continue the struggle for survival. He says that by turning over our home to the murderers, Israel will have a better chance to defend itself. How, Daddy? How will his retreat, his surrender, accomplish that? The way it did before 1948? Before 1967? It's so confusing.

Remember the stories you told me about the Holocaust? About the Nazi stormtroopers, the SS, the Gestapo, the frenzied crowds of Hungarian peasants, the hordes of Rumanians, Lithuanians, Polish... Oh, there were so many, I forget some of the names. In a deliberate voice, you told me about the Jews being forced out of their homes, into the streets and onwards to the gas chambers. Out of homes that were built over generations, towns soaked with the memories.... Emptied of their Jewish residents. Emptied because they were Jewish. I remember the fiery anger in your eyes and the sudden gentleness as you caressed my face and smiled. I remember the words with which you would always finish the stories: "Never again, child. Never again will Jews be forcibly expelled. Never!"

Daddy? Were you wrong?

What's going on, Daddy? For the life of me I can not fathom the political situation and the total disintegration of the prime minister's mind. Last night, on the radio, I heard the prime minister say that he will throw out anyone who will refuse to be expelled willingly. This means, Daddy, that Mommy and I are going to be thrown out of our home if we refuse to go willingly. Sounds like the Nazi command you always imitated. "Juden, Raus!" I believe were the words you used. I heard him, Daddy. We will have to leave, whether we like it or not. Gadi says that he also heard the same. And so did David and Chagai and Moshe. Why, Daddy, why?

We discussed this in class and....

They would never do this to the Arabs living in the village across the road. The teacher said that the world would never tolerate an expulsion of Arabs from their homes. The world would consider it 'ethnic cleansing and inhumane'. I vaguely understand what those terms mean. And if that is so, why is the world not protesting my expulsion? In fact, said the teacher, the world is cheering on and pushing the prime minister to complete the cruelty he contrived. Why, Daddy?

Daddy, my Daddy, I miss you so. I remember how they spoke about you. "Eulogy", they called it. They put you into the deep, black hole in the ground and covered you with the dirt that was piled up on the side. My head was spinning and my eyes were blurred. A gentle hand touched my shoulder. I looked up into Rabbi Ephraim's teary-eyed face. "Kaddish," he whispered, and I began to say the words; I knew not what they mean. We went home. People came and people went, but you, Daddy, you never returned. I would visit your grave (as I do now) up on the hill. I would bring you my homework and sit there telling you about school. I felt your closeness, though my heart ached to see you again. I promised you, that some day, I will build my house, there, on that other hill so that I will forever be close to you. I promised, Daddy.

And when they force us to go, Daddy, what will happen with my promise to build that house on that hill? And Daddy, will you remain here, on the hill, alone? Who'll come to visit you, Daddy? Oh Daddy, how can they make me leave you?




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