by: Annelize Williams, BFP Staff Writer
Ever since I set foot in the beautiful city of Jerusalem, I have been absolutely fascinated by the variance of fatherhood in Israeli culture versus the western norm. From the very beginning I watched fathers in their daily routine and their diverse roles intrigued me greatly. Israeli fathers seemed somehow different to me than any other fathers I have ever encountered, even perhaps different than my own father. Now having lived in Israel for some time, I can identify the striking facets of Israeli fatherhood that are so special to observe.
Present and Attentive
The few times I have seen dads back in my home country all by themselves with a fragile little baby, they looked utterly distressed, as if they wanted to ask: “Has anyone perhaps seen my wife?!” Never before have I seen a dad strolling around by himself with a colorful baby-carrier strapped to his body or wheeling a double stroller with two newborn babies, looking completely comfortable and confident as I have in Israel. This warmed my heart, since coming from a Western culture where divorce rates are quite high, I am used to absent fathers and tired-looking, struggling mothers. Mothers wheeling enormous strollers around by themselves; mothers and their close friends getting together to play with their kids in parks by themselves. In Israel the involvement of a father in a child’s life is so prevalent from a young age. Dads actively and lovingly participate in the rearing of their children. You can tell just by watching them that their role within the family is very important, not only to the father himself but to the rest of the family. From this a respect is born for his leadership and authority over his household.
SOURCE: Bridges for Peace