Inured at this point to threats from Hezbollah, Hamas-Fatah civil war, Iran's ceaseless preparations to eradicate us nuclearly, I was nonetheless stunned to see the following on Channel 10 tonight (the story is from tonight's internet Jerusalem Post):
Aug 3, 2008 18:48 | Updated Aug 3, 2008 18:52
Home Alone, the Israeli Version
A three-year-old girl was forgotten at Ben-Gurion International Airport Sunday, when her parents flew to Paris with only four of their five children.
Just like in the famous movie Home Alone, in which an eight-year-old boy is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for a Christmas holiday, the two parents from Israel, who were on their way to an annual vacation in Paris, forgot their young daughter.
The crying child was found wandering the duty free shops with no adult supervision.
Police at Ben-Gurion noticed the wandering child among the thousands of passengers at Ben-Gurion Airport and managed to calm her down and identify her. After looking for her name in passenger lists, police realized that the parents' Sun D'or flight to Paris had already taken off.
According to police, the parents did not realize that one of their children is missing until the pilot of the plane was notified. The airplane staff counted the passengers and realized that one of the passengers indeed was missing. Eventually they informed the parents about their forgotten child.
The child was flown to Paris, where her parents were waiting for her, later on Sunday on an El Al flight. She was escorted by a special cabin attendant.
The parents will be questioned by police on their return to Israel.
"Home Alone" was supposed to be a comedy, but this isn't funny......"The parents will be questioned by police on their return to Israel"? I sure hope so. HOW do you misplace your child when leaving the airport for Paris, anyway?
Let's see--you bought 7 tickets, 2 adult and 5 children. This means you had to process and obtain 5 boarding passes. This also means that you presumably, after getting aboard the airplane, had to strap in and seat-belt buckle (or at least check) 5 children.
How the $#@% didn't you notice that your 3-year old girl wasn't there? (For the record, Channel 10 said she is four, but so what?)
The young female police officer who found and comforted the little girl was interviewed on Channel 10. She didn't describe the little girl as "crying" -- she described her as "hysterical."
I understand that. When we lived in Boston, I was three. We lived in a townhouse apartment complex in Brookline whose townhouses sat in a horseshoe shape around a large central yard. Behind our row of townhouses, there was also a park and a bicycle/walking path in the midst of what seemed, at age 3, to be a vast tundra. One day, I was playing with my two best girlfriends, and for whatever reason, I went next door to my home to get something. My parents weren't there. My parents were ALWAYS there. Maybe not Dad, because he worked, although not on weekends. But Mom was ALWAYS there -- and they were both gone. I looked out front. Not there. I went next door to my friends (their Mom was always home, too) and crying, explained that my parents had run away and left me. The two friends took me to the park behind us, and we looked all over, even by the woods, and couldn't find them. By this time (and I remember it clearly) I was hysterical -- that sense that only a small child can have that one's parents have forgotten you and left you all alone in the world. At three, you feel like your universe has just unraveled and you are alone and unloved in the world.
My parents came back, of course. They'd walked a block or two down the street to get an ice cream cone in one of their few moments of spare time together, knowing I was perfectly safe and having fun next door with my friends.
But that sense of abandonment, that uncertaintly, that moment when your trust in adulthood is shattered, stays with you forever. Your heart is broken, and while it mends, it is never without that scar.
And just how much information are the police going to get from a three-year-old girl after her parents and siblings and French relatives spend the next few weeks indoctrinating her so that she believes (1) its all her fault and (2) anything she says will get Ima and Abba in trouble so it's better if you say "I don't know" and "I don't remember."
There ought to be a law for people like this entitled Felony Parenting. I just hope a social worker is assigned and takes a hard look at this family.