Apr. 20, 2018
The Red Mailbox – Jonathan Davis
In 1971 I was a young, lone soldier who had immigrated to Israel from California. I lived in Jerusalem in a building where I did not know my neighbors at all since I was in the army most of the time. They were all much older, from the FSU and especially from Georgia, and they spoke little to no Hebrew.
When I came back from the 1973 Yom Kippur War after not being home for two months, I noticed that my mailbox was painted red. I turned to an elderly gentleman who usually sat at the entrance of the building. He seemed to be some kind of leader who took care of the building’s affairs, and he wore a beautifully knit skullcap. I asked what the residents had against me personally so as to single out my mailbox.
He said that my return alive and healthy may well have been because of them. They knew I was away fighting for the State of Israel and the Jewish people and so they painted my mailbox red so that the Angel of Death would skip over my threshold – just like in the Passover story when our ancestors painted their doorposts red so that the Angel of Death would skip over the Jews.
It was at that moment that I realized that the blood flowing in the veins of these new immigrants, whose mentality I could not understand, was the same Jewish blood that flowed through mine. The simple fact was that we were all Jews in our Jewish homeland. I understood their love of their fellow Jew, their love of the Land of Israel and their love of the IDF. This is my Israel.
The writer is vice president for External Relations at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya. (Times of Israel)