The view from my veranda

140307 Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Boat capture, Purim, Welsh evening, PM in LA, Canon Andrew White

7th March 2014
Shabbat Shalom dear Friends. I hope this missive finds you well.
I am happy to start on a high note, as usual because we have a wonderful friend by the name of Canon Andrew White. Nothing stops that man, not war, illness nor cynicism. Andrew had a successful meeting in Cyprus which brought together Iraqi Moslems, Christians and Jews and a similar Israeli mix, just to talk. Talk and try to discover their similarities rather and accept their differences. Andrew, the only man who seems to be doing it right. Maybe because he comes from a place of love not from politics. Andrew is now in Jerusalem – I knew because the ambiance is a fraction lighter. Sadly the hope that Andrew engendered through this important conference is dashed when one remembers the absolute despair and carnage in Andrews beloved Iraq.
NYU, that bastion of freedom and high learning held a secret anti-Israel pro-BDS meeting. It is a distressing sign of the times whereby freedom of speech is thus abused to incite hatred. Pure and simple. Can you imagine a proud “hatefest” were announced against any other country or people?

It sounds dramatic, indeed it is dramatic, when the news media screams out the headlines “Israel captures boat with Iranian missiles bound for Gaza” but the truth is it represent many months of hard graft.

IDF intelligence has been monitoring the activities of the contents of the boat

from its source in Syria through the long and tortuous route to the Red Sea.

Shayetet 13 is the elite unit which took the ship without any resistance from the

Captain. They found several dozen advanced Syrian M-302 missiles, with a range

of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) and a payload of up to 170 kilograms (375

pounds). Even that is not the whole story, the drama is greater than it appears.

Israel and the United States Intelligence Services have been working closely

throughout and it was Israel’s decision to capture the ship and the Americans

acceded to their wish. So much happens beneath the surface. The cooling of

relations has always been at the political, not the military or intelligence level.

What strikes me as incredible is the convoluted machinations of the warmongers in their attempt to wreak havoc – a Panamanian ship, Turkish crew, missiles and a veritable arsenal of evil made in Iran, sent to Syria, through Iraq and Sudan into the Red Sea…………. and the fools demonstrating in NYU still think Israel is the problem!!!!

The new Crimean War has taken the headlines here in Israel. As Americas leadership is weakened Russia is becoming stronger and stronger. Rabbi Jeremy Rosen again hits the nail on the head.

As I watched the Sochi Winter Olympics, I thought of Putin’s long shadow was cast, malevolently, over the construction, the management, and the security of the event. I wondered what act of aggression he would get up to next. His smirking, self-satisfied, bullying presence thumbed a nose at the civilized world as he gloated over his support for totalitarian regimes in Chechnya, Syria, Moldova, and Georgia. His malevolent involvement in other countries and the blatant way he suppresses and imprisons opposition at home are chilling. His KGB nature reveals itself for what it is. Well, now we know. A leopard and his spots! “

The AIPAC Conference came and went. Vice President Joe Biden spoke before the plenum and many events took place, undoubtedly taking important decisions but without the publicity which usually accompanies the AIPAC events. Our wonderful friends David Efron and Kathy were very excited by events there so I am certain that it was simply a case of lack of publicity.

Apparently the cooling of Israel/USA relations is deeper than Presidential level and we have always known that the State Department (like the British Foreign Office) is cool toward their closest ally, but has taken a sinister turn with visas being denied for anyone who served in Israeli Intelligence.

When Ambassador Danny Gillerman left his position as Israel’s Ambassador to the UN I thought we could never do as well, let alone better, but I was wrong. Ron Prosor, former Ambassador to the Court of St James has done a truly phenomenal job as Israel’s Ambassador to that once august organisation.

Not only Syria! Israeli medical teams are not only helping victims of Syrian warfare (over 500 patients to date) but also in the Ukraine.

Alice Herz-Sommer did not just survive the Holocaust, saved by her exceptional musical talent, she endured unbearable tragedy and continued to smile, to exude love and to produce joyous music until her death in London last week at the age of 110. Her life and vivacious personality were her revenge. The film of her amazing life won an Oscar, surely the greatest and sweetest revenge of all.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “Bibi” had dinner with the gliterattti of Hollywood, of those who love Israel anyway. In an informal dinner at the home of Israeli businessman Arnon Milchan. Truly star studded it included Leonardo di Caprio, Barbara Streisand, Robert de Niro, Kate Hudson, Keanu Reeves and many many more. One must not underestimate the influence of these stars .,7340,L-4494923,00.html

Talking of the PM’s visit to LA – After the Oscar victory parties, another international star attended the world premiere of his latest film on Tuesday evening. The star was none other than Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the title of the television film is Israel: The Royal Tour. The PM, along with some 500 guests, attended the premiere screening of the film expected to significantly increase tourism to Israel. Get a preview of the movie here

Gosh, so much news that I didn’t leave much room for personal stuff!

Last Shabbat, since the children came late, Zvi and I went for a glorious walk in “Emek ha Matsleva” The Valley of the Cross. Zvi feels that I am more than a little over-enthusiastic , my excited photography at anything that seemed wild and colourful – shkediot (almond blossom), rakafot (wild cyclamen) and calaniot- wild anemones……….. and the most beautiful flowers of all, the children running around in delight at the wild flowers.

Sunday evening saw me driving to Netanya via my lovely friend Averil in Herzliya. Our purpose was to arrive in plenty of time to meet up with our past – our wonderful past as Welsh Jews. You can imagine the excitement of all concerned as we saw people who had somehow dropped from our lives over the last 20/30/40 years. Gerald and Mimi Rapport did us proud as Gerald paraded in his amazing Welsh Dragon Sweatshirt. The tables were set with Welsh Dragon napkins, daffodils and the walls festooned with flags. Imagine, a group of Welsh people, mostly religious, happily celebrating St David’s Day – the Welsh National Day. As I look for facts to give you about this Saint I found that he indeed came to Jerusalem because it was believed that if you came to Jerusalem all your former sins were dissolved.

I just got back from collecting the children from school and taking them home before Shabbat. As we neared Givat Zeev we suddenly saw a colossal flock of goats tended by small children. At first I was excited and then wondered why those children were not at school – apparently bettering oneself is not high on the priority list of their parents. So sad because I want everyone in Israel to have equal opportunities but without education…………

That’s it for now folks. I have to put the finishing touches to Shabbat, set the table and put the food out and of course get all the Purim goodies ready for the children. Masks to colour, boxes for their Mishloach Manot and goodies! Purim, truly a story of heroism over greed. The story of Queen Esther, her fine Uncle Mordechai, a rather stupid King and his evil Vizier who feared the Jews and wanted them killed (yeah yeah yeah – heard that one more than once eh?). Mordechais brains, Esthers beauty and the Kings love for her saved the Jews and taught the evil, greedy Vizier Haman a lesson. Where on earth are Esther and Mordechai today?

So dear friends. Let’s make this year into Purim, let’s stand up and speak out. We can either bow down to the king or be clever and woo him to understand the evil of his advisors.

For Shabbat I chose three very different songs, with the incredible voice of David D’Or. One is Amazing Grace which he sang for President Obama in our Presidents House the second is the prayer Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father Our King) and finally a very special version of the song which welcomes the bride of Shabbat. Lecha Dodi. Enjoy

With much love from wonderfully balmy, warm and beautiful Jerusalem, about to turn golden as we near Shabbat.


PS I want to brag about my nephew Steven and his beautiful wife Claire. They are not only invited to the Palace for a Royal Garden Party, not only won the award for the best display in Britain but…………….. have been recognised for their amazing works too!! Bravo to you – I love you!