Little Children In Arms

“Abba”, asked my lovely, precocious seven-year old daughter gingerly. “What’s the leader’s name?”

I turned to look at her. “Which leader, sweetheart?”

“You know. The leader of Iran.”

“Why honey, his name is Ahmadinejad.”

“Yes, that’s the one, Abba. Are there children in Iran?”

“Well yes, there are.”

“Do the children like what he’s doing? Sending men to blow up buses with young people on them?”

“No, I don’t think so. He’s a very bad man, this Ahmadinejad.”

“Ah,” said my daughter.

(“Ah” in the Arabic language, at least the one spoken by Arabs in Israel and Yemen, can mean something like “I see.” We spend lots of Sabbaths in Rosh Ha’Ayin, where immigrants from Yemen like her grandmother [my mother-in-law] still speak the Jewish Yemenite dialect of Arabic. My daughter learns quickly from everyone between the ages 3 and 93.)

“Abba, do you the children in Iran also dress up like … murderers?”

“Did you mean ‘terrorists’?”

“Yes, that’s the word. Terrorists. Do they also dress up like terrorists?” she inquired.

“What do you mean, honey?”

“Well, Rivka showed me a picture on the computer of children dressed up with swords and things ready to kill Jews.”

“Do you mean children from Gaza?”

Yes, that’s the place! They are …”

“HAMAS.” I completed her sentence for her, spitting out the word the way that movement’s leaders describe their organization when being interviewed on Israeli TV and radio.

“Yeah, that’s right. Hamas. Do Iranian kids dress up like Hamas kids do, with swords and things?”

Oh, sweetie – I don’t really know.”

I wiped away a tear as I brought my daughter to brush her teeth.


Dear readers – how about you? Do you know what the Iranians teach their little children?


About the Author
Yisrael Rosenberg is a former New Englander who made aliyah 30 years ago. He lives with his wife and four children in Jerusalem.