Today's morning's news is filled with the death of Abie Nathan.
It would be easy to list all of the reasons I, as a proud pro-Jewish civil rights in Eretz Yisrael patriot, didn't like the late Abie Nathan. I'll leave that to others.
Chazal, our sages, teach us the importance of looking for the good in all, and besides having enjoyed the music his radio station broadcast every evening from 6:30-8pm, I have something else to say.
I once met Abie Nathan. It was in the late 1970's during one of his hunger strikes. My friend Rosaly had given me a call to come and counter-demonstrate. I joined her a a couple of others, all of us speaking foreign-accented Hebrew. One of Nathan's young groupies began to shout to all passers by:
"Don't listen to those ladies!. They're not
I confronted her.
"How can you call us not Israeli?"
"You're all new immigrants."
The conversation continued and she admitted that she had been brought to Israel by her parents when she was a baby.
"We're more Israeli, I countered, since we made the conscious decision to live here, and you didn't at all."
Her attitude really bothered me, and I had this feeling that considering Abie Nathan's story and idealism, though misguided, he may even agree with me. So I got up my courage, at the time I was just an ordinary young mother of three, and I entered his tent.
Abie Nathan was movie star handsome. There were bottles of mineral water near him, giving the impression that his hunger strike was more a natural health regime than a political protest. In those days, your ordinary Israeli didn't buy water.
I went straight to business:
"That young girl," and I pointed to her, since she had followed me in, "is shouting to passersby that my friends and I aren't Israeli, since we are immigrants. Do you agree with her?"
"No," he answered, and he told her very firmly to stop that shouting.
He was very gracious, and I thanked him.