And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won’t forget to put roses on your grave.
Even at a Sunday afternoon dance recital, Israel is never far from my mind. While watching the tiny dancers and earnest teenagers show grandparents and parents the payoff for all those lessons, my mind—I’m being honest—strayed.
While serving as a booster seat for my niece, Lauren, who was straining to see her dancing heroes, I looked around and then down.
I saw them. The bouquet of roses. This led my mind down a wooded path in which the Rolling Stones were into their country thing, back in the halcyon days when the boys were closer to Johnny Cash than disco. The song, “Dead Flowers,” probably refers to drugs, but just like everyone else, I can twist the meaning to fit my own reality. For me, the lyrics perfectly describe Israel’s seemingly precarious position in today’s world.
The weekend’s promised violence from those who simply don’t like Israel is a dead-ringer for the person in the song that strives to send dead flowers to an adversary. One presumes the adversary in question is in some way in a position of some weakness, lashed to a post of whippings and harassment.
Certainly, the Jews have been harassed for millennia, but we are living in the days of the miracle of the Return. My father grew up in the days when Jews were herded into ghettos—Warsaw, et al—and I grew up in the shadow of Entebbe and the Six Day War. Think of that, the Jews went in one generation from the Holocaust to the astonishment of a hostage rescue in the heart of Africa. They are more than a legend in their own time, they are what Herman Wouk said of the hero of Entebbe, Jonathan Netanyahu…Israel is an ember of sacred fire.
So if people see Israel and don’t like it (“Nakba, anyone?”), they menacingly send the Jewish state dead flowers every morning, dead flowers in letter bombs, and dead flowers to religious celebrations.
But a powerful truth has emerged, one that pulsates with biblical prophecies writ large: Israel will outlive all her enemies, and she will in the end certainly not forget to put roses on their graves.