The view from my veranda

141106 Tram attack, American elections, US decide Passport Jerusalem, 19 years Rabin, Bet Shemesh, Choir to Ein Gedi

6th November 2014
Shabbat Shalom dear friend.
As I was writing this letter yesterday my daughter Rachel called me to turn on the TV news “Mum there has been a pigu’a” another terrorist attack on the Light Rail line”. Yet again an Arab used his  vehicle as a weapon racing down the light rail tracks ramming into cars and pedestrians on a main road in Jerusalem. Why? His family will get a stipend for life from the Palestinian Authority. After ensuring they live in poverty and disillusionment, hopelessness, the PA gives them one possibility of ensuring the financial future for their families – to kill Israelis. Sadly the Border Guard Officer who stopped and killed the assailant, saved the lives of others but lost his own. Jidan Assad, 38, from the Druze village of Beit Jaan. Jidan, father of a 3 year old and with a pregnant wife, died of his injuries and 14 others were hurt, three of them seriously. 
Later in the evening another Arab driver ran down a group of soldiers in Gush Etzion. This is horrific.Wake up world. Stop claiming that the victim is the perpetrator.
So the donkey got a huge kick from the elephant in the American mid-term elections. I don’t understand American politics, but one thing is very clear, the people of the United States are deeply dissatisfied with the current administration. Why? Because the President misread both situations overseas and internal policies and failed to fulfill promises
The United States Supreme Court held a special session to decide if a child born in Jerusalem can have his place of birth on his American passport. An American court can decide if Jerusalem is in Israel let alone our capital city, the only place on earth this is in dispute while the capital cities of many autocracies and murdering tyrannies are not even in question!!!,7340,L-4587662,00.html 
There were two major anniversaries this week.
The 2nd November 1917 saw a British Prime Minster agree to and sign the Balfour Declaration on the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine.
The second is the 19th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzchak Rabin. My friend Carol Gould, a fine journalist, found this article I wrote for her some years ago, for her website Current Viewpoint. It says all I wanted to say  about the man, the leader, the friend.
I would be remiss if I didn’t refer to this weeks hearing of Ehud Olmert which has shocked and torn the country apart. As a friend of the former Prime Minister it makes me very sad. If all the allegations are true then things happened around us that in our naivete we could not even imagine. We only know of a wonderful Mayor of Jerusalem, who brought international support and friendship to Jerusalem which overlapped into his term as Prime Minister. Ehud Olmerts personal friendship with world leaders attained important diplomatic gains. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister has not yet had his day in court I am sad. Sad that the allegations against him suggest that while at the acme of political attainment, it was not enough. It is hard to see friends fall but if, and please remember it is still a case of “he said she said”, they cause their own downfall they must face their legal fate.
Egypt created a buffer zone on its border with Gaza for clear security reasons and razed about 800 houses – although Israel was denied the right to do the same. The silence of the media prompted Stephen Spencer Ryde to write to newspaper editors – here is an extract. “No country could tolerate the uncontrolled violence coming out of Gaza.  It is violence that has many sources, wide ranging agendas and multiple backers.  It’s steeped in terror and whipped up in a fervour of religious extremism.  It is non negotiable and impossible to navigate. It is chaotic terror that the international community play down and more recently the international community started to give ill thought credence to. But here in Europe, the attitude is “if you are Israel, it’s your fault and you should know better”.  However, “if you are Egypt, you are taking suitable security measures with your own and there’s nothing particularly untoward”.  One rule for Israel and another rule for the rest.  Hmm, where have we heard that before.” Bravo Stephen – one by one, letter by letter we can make a difference.
That well known friend of the West in general and Israel in particular, President Erdogan of Turkey has pulled in his country’s financial belt but hardly his own. He opened his new palace – 1,000 rooms and about $500,000 dollars worth! He gives new meaning to “Let them eat cake”
We tend to think of Australia as strong and impervious to Moslem fanatics. After the attack in Canada despite the leadership of Stephen Harper, we now see this video of Australian Moslem Fanatics and their brainwashed children
Speaking on behalf of UN Watch, Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth during the recent 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council.  “ISRAEL IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE MIDDLE EAST WHERE CHRISTIANS LIVE IN SAFETY
Last Friday we went to the site of Jewish towns and villages, built 3,000 years ago. Mostly situated above the Ayalot Valley (Valley of the Gazelles) near Bet Shemesh, where David and Goliath had their fateful meeting. There were many surprises including a small rounded stone which our archaeologist guide said was like the one that David used in his sling. When David volunteered to face the giant Philistine, he may well have gone down to the stream below us to choose the stone that ultimately killed Goliath. The other surprise was that apparently Goliath was smaller than Zvi!!!!
How we know that these were Jewish villages? Well, their outer walls are built in an oval rather than rectangle and they have double walls. A sure sign is that, in accordance of Jewish law, the cemeteries are outside the walls.  
This weekend we are going down to Kibbutz Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea with Zvi’s choir. Early on Friday morning we will wake Amit and Gili (Zvi’s little grand-daughters) and set off southward. We will drive past the neighborhoods that are in the news and head towards Ma’aleh Adumim, down, down, down past the sign telling us that we passed sea level and the ever patient camel waiting for riders at the sign, down past the moonscapes until we reach Massada. The little girls are so excited that they will ride on the cable car up to that most symbolic of sites. After walking around the fortress atop Massada we will go to the Kibbutz and relax until Shabbat. Our Shabbat meal will be special as we sing Shabbat songs together with the choir and watch the little girls joy reflected in their faces as they light the Shabbat Candles then we will all chant the age-old blessings over the wine and challah.
On Shabbat we will walk through David’s Stream (Nahal David) yet again following in the footsteps of King David. The last time I walked through Nahal David was in 1963, on my first visit to Israel, the visit that caused me to fall in love with this incredible country. It will be so exciting to walk it holding hands with Zvi, singing the songs of King David (Psalms) as we walk. Only in Israel!
So I can’t tell you about my menus for this Shabbat because I am not cooking!!!!! Really! It feels very odd but we are going to have fun instead.
I know that you are worried about what is happening in Jerusalem, and your concern is deserved because it is not criminal violence, it is specific, racist, religious, but understand that even with these scary events Jerusalem is still very safe. It is just because violence is so rare in Israel that it hits the headlines.
So Jerusalem is still beautiful, still beckoning, still fun, still ancient and modern, and has the best restaurants, hotels, pubs and clubs in all Israel!!!
I wish you Shabbat Shalom, that greeting of peace which has become banal yet profound.
I leave you with two songs –
Shir la Shalom – the Song to Peace, sung by Miri Aloni who sang beside Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres on that fateful night 19 years ago
Finally – Steve Lawrence‘ rendering of “Where can I go?” the story of our yearning for Israel. Now we have where to go.
With love
If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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