DIVORCING A DYNASTY
R. PINKERTON (a/k/a "Sam")
The tiny, impeccably dressed man with the huge head, sitting in the expansive lobby of the expensive hotel overlooking the picturesque yet heavily polluted and astonishingly azure Mediterranean Sea, had just starting throwing out numbers:
"Surely five thousand a month for five years Sam..."
("Sam" being my chosen nickname for life in Israel, having replaced the oh-so Christian sounding "Robert," thinking it would help me to "blend in" (I couldn't have been more wrong)).
It took me a second to realize he was attempting to find "my price for my Two Boys, then aged 6 weeks and 3 years. I was momentarily speechless.
This was a mere month after I had voluntarily moved out of our mutually shared ex-wife’s mortgage-free million plus dollar home in the Tel Aviv suburb of Afeka.
Being honest and ignorant (Hi!) (the two traits, unfortunately, are not mutually exclusive and more often than not in life come as a 'two for one!" package deal), I had truly believed that my willingness to vacate said premises (our home) and forego outside lawyers and do a face-to-face in hopes of solving our problems peacefully - would be seen as a friendly, perhaps even magnanimous gesture.
But in Israel, a kindness...? The above gesture, along with allowing other drivers into the lane in front of you on ANY road to not eschewing obvious waiting lines of any sort and instead not immediately and aggressively pushing your way to the front - is considered a weakness.
And that weakness will forever brand you in future business as the Ultimate Israeli Fool (known amongst the Hebrews as being a "friar" (more on this phenomenon later)).
At least that was my experience looking back on my 19 years a Prisoner of Zion.
The odd thing was that in the previous years of dealing with Joshua Sherman, a/k/a 'little man with the huge head' slash ex-wife's financial adviser slash Legal Pit Bull, neither of us had ever so much as raised our voices towards one another.
Hadn't Joshua always been a monument of civility and deference to me? Or had I misunderstood these last seven years, with said "politeness" really being a thinly veiled hatred for the perceived parvenue (me), the fourth of six children of the career Army Sergeant who married the deaf daughter of a Welsh Coal Miner?
What were we Pinkertons when stacked against the near five hundred years of banking genius known as the Warburgs?
Whatever our mutual history, the Harvard Lawyer slash author slash financial wizard slash child haggler Joshua Sherman was sure in a hatin' mood now:
"Get a life Sam!" the now bellicose would-be boy buyer barked at me as I began my exit.
"I have a life," was my retort. I was on top of my game.
We were now face to face (well actually, the top of his head barely reached my chin) and I paused, struck by a sudden epiphany:
"This guy's not a pit bull - he's a fucking chihuahua."
Now flooded with adrenaline, I barked back:
"And I'm not selling them!"
..a wave of violence crashed over me...
...a distinct thought now dominating my brain:
"I could choke out this puny childless weakling with one hand..."
Fortunately, the thought didn't go much beyond that.
His startling starting offer for the purchase of my sons had hit me square in my solar plexus and shaken my paternal foundation, so out of left field had ANY offer at first seemed. Who the hell sells and buys children?
I quickly found out.
His first (and only offer I allowed him to make) had been in the low Six Figures,. The brutal suddenness of my quantum leap to an eight digit sum seemed to startle him, causing his plastic and condescending smile to disappear, revealing his true persona – that of an uber-trusted Harvard Lawyer who serviced only two clients, and two clients only:
Sir Isaiah Berlin, the premiere British philosopher of the 20th century and my ex’s grandfather, the late Sir Siegmund Warburg, arguably the most influential banker of the 20th century and a prominent member of the most prominent German Jewish Banking Family in the world, the Warburgs.
(Sir Siegmund also being the man who had bequeathed my ex-wife her fortune and, eventually I'm told, that of my two sons (I have long believed I will never live long enough to see them receive it as my ex-wife, it's executor, would rather see all of us live lives of longing and suffering rather than one shekel of the proverbial "pot of gold" rolling our way, such being the price for successfully escaping her clutches (after only 19 years!) and returning to America where we met, where my oldest son was conceived and where we were first married and where, through two years of twice-weeekly "Couples Therapy" I learned all her deep dark Warburgian secrets and where we mutually planned our future - which she eventually totally reneged on)
I exited into the phenomenally loud, traffic-clogged Israeli street with absolutely no awareness that by refusing to negotiate the sale of my children and returning sans-children to America a "rich man," I had instead assured myself of spending my entire fifth decade of life - and more - in various family - and criminal - courts, destined to follow an unfeeling whimsical heiress around the world on her own Magicl Mystery Tour.
To say I'm not tremendously bitter after the loss of all those precious years would be a lie. And not to regurgitate a platitude but I did indeed take lemons and turned them into lemonade.
I learned to enjoy my bitterness by turning it, in part, into comedy.
I boarded a No. 5 bus and smiled to myself, realizing that I too had a bit of a fighting dog within me.
“Get a life Sam.”
Right then and there I got a life - staying a hands on father.
NEXT STOP: SCOTLAND
1 9 YEARS A PRISONER OF ZION...
It is far from uncommon, once you are in Israel, to be forbidden to leave Israel. It is how they do "business."
During much of a DIVORCE that went on for OVER A DECADE, I was legally locked in the country by my ex-wife (which is ironic given the fact that at the ONSET of our divorce she offered me a ton of cash TO LEAVE the country - and my children - behind.
*See: "NOT FOR THIRTEEN MILLION DOLLARS!" below.
So brutal were my Israeli opponents that when my 90 year old mother died in California in 2014, I was legally forbidden to leave the country and "pay my respects" to her (more on that later).
***W) make about percentage of fatherless children and drugs, crime, etc.
**w)You hear a lot - a whole lot - about how fathers abandon their wives and children. But you never hear much (If anything) about the father's point of view. In my case, I was offered a fortune to leave my children and go back to America:
(See CHAPTER 2: "Not For $13,000,000:)
I couldn't do it. For the longest time, ALL I EVER WANTED - was a family.
I'll tell you as simply as possible how I lived as A TOTAL STRANGER IN A TOTALLY STRANGE LAND (at least to a Westerner) - for 19 YEARS (16 in Israel and 3 in Scotland), traveled TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MILES (six international moves), was cheated by a corrupt Israeli legal system, harassed, jailed, made temporarily homeless, lost my friends, my family, my culture, my language, my chances at employment JUST to stay in my children's lives.
Which I did.
You see, when most people have problems they can work it out - eventually - because of the finances. You just can't keep going to court paying lawyers and moving back and forth.
But in my case, the mother of my boys, my ex-wife and her family were inheritors to a fortune some say is equal to the Rothschilds: Castles on the beach (Rocomare), Wimbledon Estates, Scores of Millions of Dollars of apartments in Israel, Secret Swiss Bank Accounts, Art Work ...and her mother was heiress to TWO Banking Fortunes.
(See CHAPTER 3: The Picasso)
On my wedding night my ex mother-in-law gave me a Picasso. She just pulled it out of a cupboard and handed to me saying:
"My father bought it from Pablo."
Shortly after our marriage things got hectic - very hectic. Then, when I decided to move out of our very humble million dollar home in the northern Tel Aviv suburb of Afeka (started the purchase on a Monday, by Thursday my ex mother-in-law and wife owned it), I moved my belongings piecemeal (piano, etc.) and inadvertently left the Picasso behind. When I finally remembered it they refused to give it to me.
What could I do? I did at numerous points hire a lawyer in Israel - but that failed. How can you defeat someone who can spend unlimited amounts on lawyers - in any part of the world, in any language?
Fate, as it invariably does, stepped in: One late afternoon in 2001 when I was walking home from my "office" near the predominantly Palestinian port city of Jaffa, I walked as I did every day past a place/nightclub called "The Dolphinarium."
A few hours after passing by it's front door where most every night scores of beautiful young girls lined up to gain entry, an angelic young Palestinian showed up with a bomb inside his coat.
21 young people, mostly beautiful young girls thinking of not much more than 'partying down,' were murdered - their guts splattered over the building's cement exterior.
I remember walking around my neighborhood of Afeka the next day. There was a strange phenomenon I began to notice during my time in israel - whenever there was a bombing, the entire country became much - MUCH - calmer.
And on that day, when the victims were so young, precious and innocent, I heard more than the usual number of people sobbing in their homes..
This was the moment that for my ex and her connected-at-the-hip mother, it became possible to leave Israel.
Next: SCOTTISH JUSTICE
SCOTLAND: 94% of Glasgow divorces Wife gets kids/Within 2 yrs 70% lose COMPLETE CONTACT WITH FATHER
My two boys stand in front of gaffiti that you'll be hard pressed to find outside of Israel..
Bloody & Chaotic best describes my near two decades TRAPPED in "the Land of Milk and Honey"
With reportedly more cars per square mile than most any other place on the planet (due to a relatively affluent population and an astounding lack of space), combined with a total ABSENCE of vehicular courtesy, people who choose motorized scooters to get about the cities of Israel are truly asking for it...
THE WAILING WALL: When you're WALLED into Israel (as I was due to a commitment to Fatherhood) there are, in this understandably most VINDICTIVE of countries, UNLIMITED REASONS to WAIL...
When I'm asked by the curious where I'm from and it's revealed that I've lived in almost 30 cities around the world, a common response is:
"...C.I.A. ...or MOSSAD?"
...bli safek, Sharmoota...
Th Very First Time I took my boys to an incredibly over-crowded Tel Aviv Beach (usually), a Bulbous Coal-Black "Creature" was spotted "surfing" the tiny, lapping, azure Mediterranean waves. Eventually, it washed up directly in front of my two sons and I.
Said creature, which did not growl but may have been created by "a growler," has come to forever be known (euphemistically) in the Pinkerton Household as "The Black Bear."
With millions of gallons of untreated sewage sporadically flowing out to sea from Gaza, a whole lotta "Black Bears" can be seen floating northwards, towards the shores of scenic Tel Aviv... (now there's your real terrorism)...
A man in Israel, in terms of divorce, has the upper hand in that the Rabbinate (pronounced "rabin-ooot" by the locals) doesn't like Jews to divorce.*w)
I gave my ex the "gat" (*explain) as an act of kindness (please see "friar" mentioned in Chapter ??) and yet, she still screwed me.
..it's a cultural thing, not giving in to kindness...
On top of the rabbinate I had also to deal with the Warburg's Envoy, a brilliant little man who, up until this time, had been quite friendly with me...