Just Be Nice

On Wednesday, September 18 of 2013, minutes before 4pm, a father jumped off an 11-story building in northern Tel-Aviv with his two kids, a son age 5 and a daughter age 4. At 3pm, he entered his separated wife’s home, beat her senseless and kidnapped the two kids. At the time, he had a restraining order against him due to numerous accounts of violence and threatening his wife’s life. By the time the police found his location via a cell phone signal and less than an hour after he had kidnapped the kids, all three were dead. He was angry and bitter because his wife had left him.

On Wednesday, June 11 of 2014, around midnight a man with bloody hands entered the police station in Ramle and said he had just murdered his kids. A 14-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy who had just landed back in Israel that very afternoon. The children’s mother who divorced him sometime before, was court-ordered to send them from the USA to their father for the summer. His family, friends, coworkers and neighbors all were in awe. He seemed so “normative”, they all said to the news and the police. Throughout the next day, pieces of information depicting an abusive husband and a bitter divorcee started popping up in the news.  It seems like the father’s ego was shattered by the divorce and he murdered his kids to revenge his ex-wife.

On that same Wednesday of June 11th, around noon, I was “beaten” in family court by my bitter and angry ex. I am to leave our house by August, without any promise he’ll pay me my half and without the economical ability to move or rent an apartment elsewhere, while our girls are to stay in the Kibbutz’s school. On that day, I was added to the list of court-ordered mothers to leave her home without any regards to the security of her children and herself.

On the next day, upon hearing of yet another man murdering his kids to revenge his ex-wife, I remembered all the times the social worker assigned to us from Child Services, telling me not to anger my soon-to-be ex-husband. “Just be nice” she said. And I wish I had asked her “why”? Is it because we all know what angry and bitter men are capable of?

Sadly, throughout the past year and a half since I have left my husband, I come across some sort of a new “ism”. It might be a different kind of Feminism – a prejudice against females. Since fathers, for too long, have been assumed less worthy or needed in their kids’ lives upon divorce, the law and social services have turned the tables. Today, fathers are looked upon as victims, victims of independent women who no longer want to be chained. Mothers, on the other hand, are survivors who will rarely murder their kids for revenge.

Isn’t it time that we change our view of this problem? I believe it’s a societal disease caused by centuries of men’s sense of entitlement over women. Women are no longer men’s property and slowly but surely, we can survive and even thrive on our own. It’s time not only men realized it, but the law, order and social services acknowledge it as well. I am done just being nice!

About the Author
Michal Bruck is a working mother of two amazing girls at the age of six and nine. Michali uprooted her family three years ago and moved back to Israel after 25 years in Los Angeles to settle down at her husband's kibbutz. She has a B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley. Writing, photographing and sewing are a few of her creative passions. Cooking, on the other hand, is not.