I wrote this post on Tisha B’Av.
On Tisha B’Av, I was watching Gush Katif videos. It’s a fitting activity, music or not, because the expulsion of 8,600 Jews from their homes, and literally cutting off a limb of Israel, is one of the tragedies that led to tragedies of our time. (You can watch the videos, too.)
On the one hand, this is not exactly an activity for children. On the other hand, these are his brothers, this is his country, and he will probably grow up friends with some of the expellees’ siblings. The children who were expelled from their homes were traumatized much worse than this video will ever traumatize Shlomo.
On the one hand, this is not a video for children. On the other hand, how can I tell him it is only for adults?
I let him watch with me. The first one he saw with me, last night, he thought was hilarious. I’m not sure why, but it could be a combination of the hour, the music, and the lack of narration. He thought that the menora on top of a roof was a plane. Today, when Shlomo watched with me, he told me halfway through, “I don’t want this video, I don’t like it.” I told him that he didn’t have to watch with me, but that this is what I was watching. He stayed.
And I felt like it was inappropriate to simply let him watch, without giving him any explanation for what was happening and why. After all, one of the sentences that he had heard, and repeated, was, “How can you take children out of their homes?” He needed to know why and how it had happened, at least so that he would not live in fear of it happening unexpectedly to him.
I told him that the place where the woo-woos come from is called Gaza. That the person in charge of Israel right now is called Bibi (he thought that was a funny name), and the person in charge when the video was taken was called Ariel Sharon. All these people, the imas and abbas and children and teenagers, lived in beautiful homes in Gaza. They protected us from the woo-woos even though they sometimes got hurt. They went to gan and played and are nice people. But the bad people kept trying to hurt us, and one day Sharon said that the bad people had told him, that if we gave them all of Gaza and took all these nice people out of their homes, then they would stop hurting us and we would have shalom (peace). Sharon believed the bad people, and that they wouldn’t hurt us, if we took these people away from their homes. So that’s what happened. They took the people out of their houses.
Shlomo thought the soldiers were hurting people, and I told him that the soldiers tried very hard not to hurt anyone, because they are our brothers and they love us. Just like Jack is Abba’s brother, and he loves us. Just like the nice soldier who shared her falafel with him. The soldiers are nice. I pointed out that the soldiers were also crying, that they didn’t have a choice. I told him that all of the woo-woos (air-raid sirens) have come from Gaza, because the nice people aren’t in their homes anymore, protecting us. Now that bad people are using their homes to make woo-woos and hurt people.
And my beautiful, smart boy said a single, brilliant sentence: We need to put them back in their homes.
I told him that many, many people agreed with him, and praised him for his creative, clear thinking. I told him that we also want that to happen, but that Bibi and the other people in charge don’t want to do it. I told him that now that the bad people are using the land, it’s very hard to get it back. I asked him if he thought it would be safe or dangerous for soldiers to go to where the bad people are and take the land back. He said dangerous. He said that Yitzchak, Tova, himself, and I, should get into fighter planes and fight the woo-woos and break the woo-woos so that we will be safe. I told hiim that Yitzchak and I aren’t soldiers, that he might be, but that I hope that he won’t have to be. He didn’t care, he wanted to get into a fighter plane and fight. And then the nice people could go back to their homes and there would be no more woo-woos.
Bibi, I think you should take Shlomo as your advisor. All you need to do is give him cookies, cereal, and building toys to make planes, buses, and trains with, and he will tell you how to keep Israel safe.