Thursday, December 14, 2017

Place of Birth

Twenty-eight years ago our first sabra, native–born Israeli, was born. His brit took place on Chanukah and after the holiday my husband made his way to the American Consulate to register our little boy’s birth. Once there he had an unpleasant surprise. The clerk informed him that he had to scratch out the word Israel on the application form. It was written right after Jerusalem and a comma in the space designated for place of birth.

To say my husband was displeased is an understatement. He was even more annoyed when the clerk explained that Jerusalem’s status was disputed. The supervisor was no more helpful than the clerk. After several conversations with other American parents living in Israel who had had children born in Jerusalem we realized we weren’t going to be able to change the wording on our son’s birth certificate. As far as the United States was concerned his birthplace was a city without a country.

Despite the fact that America did not recognize Jerusalem as being the eternal capital of our country, we did. So not only did we travel to Jerusalem to visit the Kotel, we also did all sorts of errands there. That is why I found myself boarding a city bus with my son when he was six-years-old.

“I hope this bus doesn’t blow up,” he exclaimed in a voice loud enough for all the passengers to hear.

I cringed at his words. Why did my young child have to know so much about Arab terror? With five older siblings he overheard many conversations about the news. And, sadly, the news had too many stories of suicide bombers blowing themselves up on the city buses.

Thankfully that bus did not blow-up but the terror didn’t end. When he was twelve-years-old one of the boys from our neighborhood whom my son looked up to was murdered at a Jerusalem bus stop while waiting to go home. When he was thirteen-years-old Avigdor, the head of Shilo security, was seriously injured in a shooting attack on the road to Jerusalem. When he was fourteen a classmate was gun downed at a bus stop on the Jerusalem highway. And so it continued.

This week, on my son’s birthday, there was a shooting some ten kilometers or so from our house, about fifty from Jerusalem, at the same site where Avigdor had been attacked. Miraculously, no one was injured. Some journalists were quick to point out that the shooting took place just four days after President Trump made his announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as if that was the reason for the terror. That implication is an outright falsehood. Terror has been going on ever since my son was born and years before that. Finally, America took a giant step and put the brakes on placating the criminals threatening acts of terror.

We are now in the midst of Chanukah, a holiday of miracles and new beginnings. In my eyes the fact that the United States has recognized the importance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people is a major miracle. All I can say is “Thank you, America”. I pray that this new beginning will lead to true peace. I pray there will be many, many healthy babies born in Jerusalem. I pray that all the American ones will be able to have Israel written as their place of birth.
The Knesset, courtesy of Times of Israel 

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