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An FBI Lag B’omer

“I’ll be back in an hour. I have to go beat up an anti-Israel demonstrator.”

It was Sunday morning, May 28, 1967. International tensions were running high due to the situation in the Middle East. Arab leaders were beating the drums of war (the Six Day War would break out a week later).

Since it was Lag B’omer, there was no yeshivah, and my father a”h had bought tickets to the Mets game at Shea Stadium. My brothers and I had a great time at the game, and it was an enjoyable Lag B’omer for us all.

When I got home at about 8 p.m., I entered the dining room to find my parents sitting at the table, upon which lay about 15 copies of the Daily News, hot off the press. (In those days, there was an early edition that would come out the evening before.) I stared at the papers and looked at my father curiously.

“Why did you buy so many copies?” I asked.

My father proceeded to tell me about his day. And wow, what a day it was!

That year, the third-ever Israel Day Parade in New York City was held in our neighborhood, the Upper West Side. There was an amazing turnout — over 250,000 Jews showed up. My father hadn’t planned to go, as he was feeling a bit under the weather, but when he turned on WCBS radio, they reported that a few Arab protesters were trying to disrupt the parade. My father got up and put on a suit and a tie, along with his ever-present hat.

My mother asked him, “Where are you going? You’re not feeling well!”

He replied with one of the greatest lines I have ever heard: “I’ll be back in an hour. I have to go beat up an anti-Israel demonstrator.”

My father got into a cab and rode a few short blocks to the parade. When he arrived, he immediately heard the commotion from the Arab demonstrators. The main instigator was holding a megaphone shouting anti-Jewish rhetoric.

My father sized up the situation and started shouting, “FBI! FBI! Out of the way!”

For some reason, nobody doubted him. The police that had been stationed there in full riot gear moved aside to allow my father to take over. My father first knocked the offending megaphone out of the Arab’s hand, then grabbed the individual by his shirt and held him against the hood of the nearest vehicle.

He told the Arab, “You don’t fool around with the FBI. You have 30 seconds to grab your friends and get out of here, or you’ll be spending the next year in jail.”

Quicky, and unsurprisingly, they picked themselves up and left as fast as their legs could carry them. My father, having accomplished what he came to do, adjusted his tie, nodded to the officers around him, and went home.

Knowing my father, I wasn’t that surprised to hear this story, but it still didn’t explain the newspapers on the table.

He smiled and said, “Have a look at page 3.”

And there, on page 3 of the Daily News, was a picture of my “FBI” father, holding the Arab down, as the cops looked on or assisted. The caption on the image read, “Police hold pro-Arab demonstrator on hood of car.”

It’s been over 50 years since that Memorial Day, and not much has changed. We see it so clearly, now more than ever. —


Dovid Nachman Golding, a.k.a Ding, is a music producer and Mishpacha columnist.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1012)

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