The view from my veranda

150219 Herzliya,Benny Gantz, Politics, Daniel and family,

19th February 2015
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. For a change I am not looking at the view of Jerusalem from our veranda but rather the stormy waves of Herzliya.With the impending snowstorm hanging over Jerusalem we came a day early to Herzliya, where I undergo minor surgery tomorrow.
This has been a turbulent week in an ever less stable world, but for me it has been a glorious week as my eldest son Daniel, his wife Karen and their two amazing children came to visit us in Jerusalem. Seeing our city through the eyes of a 7 year old child and watching all the children of our now extended family playing together was absolutely amazing. Children manage to cross language barriers so much more successfully than we do. I will tell you about our adventures and visits later but I owe you a short description of our upcoming elections before the sweet dessert of talk of small people.
Actually, I am beginning to think that all politicians are small people too. They don’t have the verve and elan of children but they don’t seem to have learned how to put the brakes on their tongues either.  This election is about dirtying the reputation of ones opponents rather than informing us of what they intend doing.  As a Brit I learned about Party Manifestos, the intentions and plans of each party set out clearly so that any choice will be educated rather than rumour driven. When the accusations are flying about profligate spending in the PM’s house I assumed it was more politicking but apparently it was already in the works.
Then one comes to the international interference in the Israeli electoral process. I always try to stay out of the politics of other countries but sometimes they don’t stay out of ours which demands a response. At a time when it is fashionable to kill people for being Jews and even more fashionable to demean and malign Israel it does not behoove an American President to allow his White House press briefings to contain strong condemnation of the Israeli Prime Minister. There is not another country in the entire region, and possibly further afield, that has given such unconditional support to the United States and the current slap in the face is unwarranted.
Mr Netanyahu has stated clearly and unequivocally that he does not wish to electioneer but rather to express his deep concerns about the current policies concerning Iran. Iran is of clear and present danger to Israel and also to other American Allies in this region and I cannot begin to quote Shimon Peres yet again about countries where many citizens are willing to become hangmen. This is a time for all Allies to work together, to listen to each other and to speak out very clearly against evil regimes and the horrors that are taking place in the world as I write.
Sorry, I know I tend to “bang on”about this particular situation but it is devastating when ones greatest friend and ally hits the headlines of popularity at ones expense.
As you know, I am not particularly right wing – nor left wing actually – but rather a pragmatist, an intensely pro-Israel pragmatist, but pragmatist I am. My girlfriend Sheila Zucker (some of you New Yorkers will remember the SheilaShow) is probably right of my thoughts but we have the same convictions as to our right to live in peace in our own land. Sheila wrote this piece in 2004, but it rings true today – even more so.
The fact that we wake up and switch on the news, then watch or listen to news every hour on the hour is not a matter of obsession but rather of the need to know what is happening. We are a happy people that wants to be informed……….. just in case.
To my own amazement I am about to give you a link to the Guardian newspaper. Yair Lapid wrote a very interesting article about the 700 second class artists who signed their evil pact to boycott Israel.
Another lady who is not for turning is Maureen Lipman, outstanding actress and wit, and proud Jewess, she gives her honest opinion about the boycotting actors, especially the Jewish ones.
I am not certain that the Supreme Courts decision to overturn the Election Committees ban of two electoral candidates, Haneen Zoabi and Baruch Maazel, extremists from the very opposite side of the political map, is a good or wise move. Both are dangerous, both have taken their right of free speech to places outside democracy.
This week we have all been racing to show Joshua (my grandson) everything possible in Jerusalem without disturbing his baby sister Callie. We went to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, a huge and beautiful zoo, so big and beautiful it really impressed my NYC family with the sheer variety of creatures in natural settings; then we went to the Bloomfield Science Musem which he adored, the Herzl Museum which set him thinking and which he also loved. Inevitably we went to the Kotel on the new shuttle bus from the First Station and as we were leaving that incredibly spiritual site we saw two big black cars arrive, Israeli flags aflying alongside the IDF flag and out stepped both Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkopf – the outgoing and incoming Commanders in Chief of the Israel Armed Forces. After their official ceremonies they both came to the Kotel for the swearing in ceremony – where else? Soldiers have their passing out parades here and it is the one place on earth where to swear an oath – especially a Jewish oath to protect the Jewish State – is right at the very core of our faith. Joshua was so impressed, as were the adults!  May G-d bless our new Commander in Chief and give him the wisdom to make the right choices. Benny Gatz talked to Christiane Ananpur on CNN, a brilliant man
My favourite part of the entire week was watching the children playing together. Watching them enjoy each other and seeing my daughter Rachel soaking up her time with big bruvver. I admit to being whacked but it was fabulous and Rachel actually hosted them and also their cousins Sagi and Ditty and the children and making them home-made pizza, felafel, tehina, and all the amazing goodies that she makes so beautifully.
I would love to continue – there are so many events that I missed this week including seeing my hero Malcolm Hoenlein and joining the Conference of Presidents Jerusalem conference and hearing Khaled Abu Toameh speak –  but actually, I am going into hospital for minor surgery tomorrow so am conserving my energies!!!!
As I told you I am writing facing the window of our hotel, watching the stormy sea lashing the sands, sands that are more used to laughing tourists than powerful rollers crashing on the unsuspecting shoreline.
Hopefully by this time next week I will be writing to tell you that it is all behind me and will be back looking at my favourite view – the View from our Veranda.
I wish you Shabbat Shalom with this song Shabbat Menucha – Shabbat Rest.
One of my favourite songs of all time is “Tishmor al ha Olam Yeled” Guard the World Child – sung by the Israeli counter tenor David D’Or. words are so important that I give you those too. The song tells that we, our generation has done a poor job of saving our world so it is up to our children. 
So I wish you Shabbat Shalom, with all our love from Herzliya, with our hearts in Jerusalem.
With love

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

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