The view from my veranda

140822 Shabbat Shalom from Sheila. Deif, Rockets, Glasgow, James Foley

22nd August 2014
Shabbat Shalom dear friends
The fighting didn’t start again, it never stopped. Except for a few rare days the South of Israel, especially Sderot, has suffered rocket and missile attacks for 14 years.
This week brought no surprises. Riots in  an American town after a policeman shot and killed a suspect captured more attention than the utterly horrendous beheading of an American journalist who was forced to demand that his President and country leave them to their heinous ethnic cleansing. I feel the West has lost its moral compass.
The other unsurprising aspects of this week were in the form of over a hundred rockets on Israeli children by Hamas.  The surprise is that the world hasn’t twigged that Hamas is ISIS is Islamic  Jihad is … gigantic threat to our way of life.
A rocket in Sderot or Tel Aviv is just a prelude to bombs and attacks near you. When a theatre refuses a Jewish Film festival; a city proclaims itself Israel free and Jews are beaten up for being Jewish it is no different to the Yazidis,  Assyrians or Anglicans persecuted raped and murdered,or the foul beheading of a beautiful photo journalist. Wake up time has passed
We cannot sit back and calmly accept, we must react.  G-d forbid,  I do not mean physical action but vocal and legal responses and initiatives. Now.
After Bradford and Edinburgh we now have Glasgow. Glasgow decided to fly the Palestinian flag over the Municipality, claiming that they do not support Hamas jut the Palestinian people. Yeah. Happily an American Conference decided to cancel after the flag incident. Excellent.
Western leaders in general and President Obama in particular keep telling Israel that they must adhere to proportional response is essential. On the “Contentions” website, Evelyn Gordon reminds us about a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009. It found that, of the victims of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq from March 2003 to March 2008 whose age and gender could be determined, 46% were women and 39% were children. By contrast, according to the UN, 12% of all Palestinians killed in Gaza were women and 23% were children, far lower than the percentages killed in U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.
Israel may not get world sympathy for its lack of victims and injured in this war of attrition but when you spend all your money on defence it also teached parents to defend their children – any children. A brave father saved the lives of all these children at a birthday party.
My friend Yleem Poblete, former right hand woman of Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen, wrote an outstanding synopsis of what is truly happening in our region in particular and Gaza in particular. Please read. The Gaza conflict has again revealed that Hamas is not alone in its campaign against Israel. It has a vast and diverse terrorist network that supplies it with the resources it needs to carry out its destructive objectives. This web of terror must be targeted. It is the only way to prevent Hamas from rearming and thus ensuring sustained calm 
Our friend, our dear friend, a major correspondent for a large media company, while sitting on our veranda, relaxing after time in Gaza City, painted a picture of what he saw in Gaza
1. When in Gaza in the safe area IDF promised that they would not shoot toward the area but the journalists heard the loud whoosh of early morning missiles launched next to hotel.
2. Gaza city is intact but the surrounding former camps are virtually destroyed – the main rocket launchings were from there.
3. One cannot identify Hamas soldiers because they take off their balaclava helmets and green bandanas and pretend to be civilians the moment rockets are launched
4. Many journalists were threatened by Hamas and those journalists who spoke out about Shifaa hospital and rockets in schools, mosques and so on got out immediately.
5. Sadly he saw dead children, a fact that distresses us too
6. This is not necessarily related to Gaza but very important – when American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan use drones for targeted killings they declare all the dead in the vicinity of the site as terrorists irrespective of age or sex. That changes the percentages dramatically.
In the Muhammed Deif targeted killing, his house was destroyed yet all adjacent buildings were intact. There has been no official announcement of his demise, maybe he got away in his armoured car and didn’t have room for his family!  Another three leaders were killed in targetted killings this week, including the organiser of Gilad Schalits capture.
Not everything is bad news. I always tell you that life in Israels hospitals is a microcosm of what life is really like here. For Dr Ahmed Eid the most annoying question is whether it is difficult for him to heal and save soldiers of the IDF. He sees no difference, he sees a human being not a Jew, Moslem, Christian, Druze or any other “type”.
We spent most of this week in Eilat with Zvi’s boys and their families. Apparently the rest of Israel decided to spend the last week there too!!! It was fun, it was hot (imagine 42 degrees celcius/108 Farenheit at 10 o’clock at night) it was an interesting anthropological exercise, the full gamut of Israeli society seemed to take advantage of the last weeks of school vacations.
For a reason I have yet to discover, we went down to Eilat on the bus. It was efficient (both the boys had cars there) it was good timing, air conditioned, comfortable and full of 14-16 year old teenagers on their first foray without their parents. Noise – oy gevalt!!!!
On our return journey I had time to think and observe the surroundings. Firstly, Eilat and Aqaba are virtually twin towns. Israelis cross over to shop and to pick up their tours to Petra and Jerash. As we pulled out of Eilat we had a good view of the beginning of the wide plain which typifies the Syrian African Rift Valley. A wide dusty plain between the mountains of Jordan and those of Israel. Not a wall in sight, barely a fence. There is no need. Agricultural experts from Israel shared knowledge with Jordanian farmers and from sandy nothingness suddenly, on both sides of the plain, one sees large expanses of Date Palm plantations, greenhouses growing incredible tomatoes, well shaded from the searing sun. We may not be the best of friends but Jordan and Israel have both chosen to benefit from peace rather than suffer from war.
The Israeli mountains on the left of the road are short – that is the Israeli part is short – just a few short miles to Egypt. although there is a clear border there we enjoy a basically quiet relationship with Egypt, one of common understanding, of recognition of a common enemy. Driving north, it is strange to realise that the Israel/Egypt border ends and the Gaza/Israel border begins. We can’t see it, it is much further toward the sea and we are quite inland, but then nothing is far from anything in Israel!!!
Passing Yotvata and its delicious chocolate milk,  the magnificent Massada, as impressive and its history, Ein Gedi, glorious kibbutz on the Dead Sea and then the climb, the ascent to Jerusalem. All this time following Jordans bank of the Dead Sea.
And so to Shabbat in Jerusalem. This morning Zvi collected my beautiful friend Arlene and her Milty to take them to Mahane Yehuda for a unique experience. The full rainbow of Jerusalem life is there buying fresh produce, meat, delicatessen and fish for Shabbat. Fish, well actually carp, is so fresh that it is still jumping! Really! I don’t know if that is why I don’t like carp, or is it the very grey fishy smell to it!!!!
Zvi bought fruit for our guests tomorrow, bright red water melon, crunchy and juicy – without pips of course; bright yellow melons; dragon fruit both magenta and white; passion fruit, big and fragrant; mangoes, it is the season for the yellow and orange ones and their scent fills the house; and finally marvellous green and purple grapes – seedless of course. I will do a huge platter of cut fruit to go with the wonderful smelly cheeses – a perfect marriage!!! He popped into Tsidkiyahus for  olives – the best in town!!!
Arlene and Milty came back with Zvi for a quick lunch, which is why I took a hiatus in my writing and just got back to tell you that they enjoyed my “speciality”- fried fish balls! Arlenes favourite!
So Jerusalem is yet again preparing for Shabbat. Everything continues as before, we are aware that there are differences but life must go on. I am thrilled that Arlene and Milty came and to be absolutely honest – don’t quite understand why so many cancelled. My friend Andrew Stone came, Canon Andrew White came, Elaine Brazil came and we’ll see her next week together with her lovely family – indeed I can’t help feeling that if people just stopped to consider that if someone is murdered in Miami one does not refuse to visit Aventura!  There are murders almost every day in New Jersey but you never stop going to the Mall!!!! Every person that cancels a trip to Israel is putting a smile on Hamas face.
I wish you a Good Shabbes – Shabbat Shalom – from our home to yours. Sadly for a community in Ashdod it will not be a good Shabbat – a rocket just seriously damaged their synagogue, injuring two people, just before Shabbat.
Now for your reward! The music!
My big sister Eddie sent me this amazing music video – old songs get a new sound!
Steve Linde, the Editor of the Jerusalem Post sent me this video and I am in love with it!!!! Just wonderful – and HAPPY!!! Adon Olam as you have never heard it before
With much love

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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