“Lansky,” the Meyer Lansky biopic starring Richard Dreyfuss, wasn’t much of a film, which was disappointing because the famed Jewish mobster was such an interesting character. But one jarring scene from the film (the trailer’s above) stuck with me: A young Meyerle happens upon a gang of Polish villagers as they attack an elderly Jewish man, stomping and kicking him until one of the villagers grabs a nearby ax and ends it all.
Considering Poland’s history of anti-Semitism the circumstances Lansky was born into in 1902, a story like that wasn’t necessarily apocryphal. And if it was for Lansky, it no longer would be for a 7-year-old Israeli boy who yesterday was attacked in his West Bank village by an ax-swinging Palestinian. Yair Gamliel, whose father was among three members of the “Bat Ayin Underground” convicted of attempting to bomb a Palestinian girls’ school seven years ago, was only injured. Sixteen-year-old Shlomo Nativ wasn’t so lucky.