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What a 12 Year Old Shouldn’t Have to Overcome

Have you ever read something that reached deep inside of you and made you cry, made you so angry, made you want to get on a plane and fly somewhere and shake someone?

I want to fly to New Haven, Connecticut and I want to yell at a woman who did one nothing wrong…

Her 12 year old son was brutally beaten while the attacker yelled “kill the Jew”. Her son was kicked and punched in the stomach, slammed into a locker, knocked to the ground. Her name is Orit Avizov. I’m taking a guess here. I could be completely wrong. But I’m guessing she is Israeli…or her parents were and chose to move to the US. I could be wrong, and perhaps it doesn’t make a difference anyway. They didn’t beat her son because maybe she (or he) is Israeli but because he is Jewish. I hurt for this little boy and I hurt for Orit and I wonder why…why you’d stay in a place where your child has suffered an attack that he never should have suffered.

You say your son is afraid, and he’s right to be afraid. What a horrible, scary thing that is, for a young child to be attacked and beaten. And yes, that he was hearing someone yelling “kill the Jew, kill the Jew” while he was sustaining those injuries makes it so much scarier.Orit_230 May. 31 21.22

You say he was humiliated. Here, you have to tell him that he did nothing wrong. All he did was to be born into a people who have been attacked brutally for thousands of years…but we stood up, we fought back. We became stronger and we beat those bullies, and we keep beating them every day. Bring him to Israel and let him see the land of his forefathers; a land that defies logic and the odds. Every. Single. Day.
This is what you have to tell him. Perhaps once the Jews were weak; once they put us in ghettos and attacked us at will; today, no one puts us where we don’t want to be.

Teach him – show him, that to be a Jew doesn’t make you weak. We have the strongest army in the region, one of the strongest in the world. Show him our soldiers – so beautiful, so strong, so proud. I wish one of our soldiers could have just five minutes alone with the boy who beat your child…our child. He would never dare to touch a Jewish child again…

Your son said he doesn’t want to go back to that school and you told him that he was going to be strong, that he was going to beat this. And while I understand that you need to send him back there because that’s the life you have built, I want to tell you that I don’t want you to send him back.

You are sending a 12 year old boy to fight a battle that has been fought throughout the centuries and across many continents. Why? For what? So you can live there?

You blame the school administration for “not doing more to prevent such incidents.” How many incidents like this have there been? How many times has a Jewish parent told their child to be strong and go back?

There are things that a child should not have to overcome. They should not be beaten and they should not be forced to go back. In 1974, when terrorists held over 100 of our children in Ma’alot, Prime Minister Golda Meir announced, that Israel would “not conduct wars on the backs of children.”

You’re not going to want to hear my answer, but I’m going to say it anyway. Twenty-four years ago, on this very day, my husband took an El Al flight – the first of our family to come home. We met him two months later and have never looked back. Bring him home, please. Bring your son here so that we can show him the pride you want him to have, the strength you expect of him that comes so naturally to our sons. Come to Israel…come back to Israel…come home.

Yes, I know – every time I write this, I annoy a whole bunch of American Jews who say they are home, they love America, it’s a good place to live and they are proud to live there. Well, that 12 year old boy isn’t too proud. He’s scared and humiliated and that brings me to tears because I am helpless to help him, here so far away.

The school is terming the attack “bullying.” Orit properly identifies it as a hate crime – anti-Semitism. But the next step is the hardest. Give your son the chance to grow up in a place where he isn’t the minority, where he isn’t perceived as weak or a target, where a child isn’t beaten to cries of “kill the Jew” because two seconds after those words would be spoken, it would be the attacker on the floor, and not the Jewish child.

No 12 year old should have to overcome, prove he is strong, in this way. The answer may not be to run away, but it is certainly to run to…he and you should run home. The home you defend there isn’t really yours, but the child is. Bring him to his people and this land, where he will quickly learn the strength and courage you expect of him now.

Please, please bring him home to Israel – where we raise children to grow in the sunshine of love, in the shadows of the mountains and hills of Judea, protected, sheltered.

About the author

Picture of Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern is the CEO of WritePoint Ltd, a leading technical writing company in Israel. She is also a popular blogger with her work appearing on her own sites, A Soldier's Mother and PaulaSays, as well as IsraellyCool and a number of other Jewish and Israeli sites.
Picture of Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern is the CEO of WritePoint Ltd, a leading technical writing company in Israel. She is also a popular blogger with her work appearing on her own sites, A Soldier's Mother and PaulaSays, as well as IsraellyCool and a number of other Jewish and Israeli sites.
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