The view from my veranda

150227 ISIS Nineveh, Obama-Netanyahu, Rubio, BOG Gantz, IsraAid, Purim

27th February 2015
Shabbat Shalom dear Friends. I hope this missive finds you well.
Just as I think we cannot be more deeply offended by the vile behaviour of ISIS by any other name, something else happens. The sheer inhumanity of their slaughter has gone beyond our worst nightmares exceeded by their determination to destroy history lest it contradicts their invented present was seen in Afghanistan and now in Mosul, ancient Nineveh, the destruction is recorded to prove their superiority.
I stay out of mudslinging and personal views of the American Administration. I care only that the administration makes decisions that are best for America. The highly personal row between an American President and the Israeli Prime Minister has become filled with unbecoming rhetoric. Deeply personal criticism by John Kerry, snidely suggesting that Mr Netanyahu doesn’t know what he is talking about offends me deeply. Believe you me Mr Kerry, for us the enemy is not many thousands of miles away and our SecretService has been doing this for longer than yours. The nuclear devices may hit us on their way to Washington and New York – and head for Washington they will. It is not Mr Netanyahus speech that will affect the outcome of the Israeli elections,  most are ready for change anyway, but the derision with which the White House treats the PM may just cause the Israelis to vote for him!!! Senators Rubio and Ayotte say it best.
An American jury reached an historic decision regarding the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority for terror attacks, specifically during the 2nd Intifada. The precedent was set by the Lockerbie decision  making Libya liable for compensation to the families of those killed and other Libyan initiated attacks. Targeting civilians was “standard operating procedure” for the Palestine Liberation Organization, Fatah and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, plaintiffs’ attorney Kent Yalowitz told jurors when the trial began. Yasser Arafat, the PLO’s longtime chairman and the PA’s president, controlled all those entities. Arafat’s handwritten consent appears on PA documents detailing payments to terrorists and their families that were later seized by Israel. Those records became key evidence showing the PA’s knowledge and support for the bloody wave of terror attacks. One 2002 report sent to the PA’s General Intelligence Service chief praised a West Bank squad for its “high quality successful attacks.”  The PA claims they don’t have the money – so where did all that aid go?
The US Consulate in Jerusalem asked New York City Councillor David Greenfield to remove his Kippa when visiting Ramallah “for security reasons” and found nothing odd in their request. I am proud to say the Councillor Greenfield refused.
This week the Board of Governors Meetings of the Jewish Agency took place in Jerusalem. Zvi did not manage to go to all the meetings, busy taking care of me, but he managed to go to several. The speaker that impressed him most of all was  former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, for the first time wearing his “civvies” rather than his IDF uniform. Gantz outlined the major issues before the assembled leaders from around the world explaining that he leaves Israel with many problems but that his successor Gadi Eizenkott is more than capable of dealing with any danger that presents itself.
1. The Iranian situation. Gantz said he has nothing against Persians but their regime invokes deep concern
2. In countries to the North of Israel,  2 evil entities are fighting for control, religious control – the Shiites and the Sunnis. They are not armies but rather ideals which is a problem that NATO did not recognise for many years but now they do.
3. The aim of ISIS, clear in their name, is to make the entire ME ( and world) one Caliphate –  “The End of Sykes-Picot”, from the 1916 secret agreement between France and Britain that split the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. They do not recognise any other entity.
4. Our internal problems can only be dealt with by encouraging social solidarity, not divisive policies.
5. Your role. Our role. Diaspora communities and the relationship with Israel must be nurtured. It is now of paramount importance from every aspect. Only by combatting ignorance with knowledge about this area in general and Israel in particular can we influence others. Learn and disseminate.
Finally, Lt General Gantz spoke of the lone soldiers. Boys and girls who volunteer to make Aliya and enlist in the IDF while their families are overseas. He asked us all to take care of them.
The Diaspora issue is addressed by Yair Lapid in this excellent letter to the Guardian Newspaper concerning the hundreds of artists who signed a petition condemning Israel.
IsraAid, founded and run on a shoestring by the amazing Shachar Zahavi, is the jewel in the crown of Israels outreach to those in need. While governments ponder, IsraAid acts. You already know about Haiti, Phillipines, New Jersey, and so many other places in turmoil but this latest IsraAid project deserves more funding and more publicity.  Relief for the Yazidis of Northern Iraq
Charlie Chaplin was not known for his politics, rather for his portrayal of the little man who proved to be our hero. Never more than in this video, the final speech from the movie The Great Dictator
If you ever have doubts about Israeli behaviour in Operation Protective Edge – just watch this
Almost Purim. What is Purim and what do we celebrate? That’s not so difficult – Wicked Vizier, weak King with an eye for a pretty lady and an overpowering wife, decision to kill Jews, wisdom won through and yet again we eat at the end.  Why do we dress up? Once upon a time we dressed up as Queen Esther or Mordechai and the bad boys were Haman. Why do we get Tipsy? So we won’t be able to differentiate between friend and foe thus not hate anyone. One needs to be either blind deaf or dumb – actually all three – not to recognise the similarities between today and those days of yore. I saw the similarities but Rabbi Jeremy Rosen recognised another similarity – between now and Munich. 
Israel is awash with “Hamantaschen” Pastry triangles alternatively called Hamans Ears,  Hamans Hats, Hamans Pockets in fact almost anything that relates to Haman! These delicacies can be traditional, filled with either dried, spiced fruit or poppy seeds, or with just about any sweet or savoury delicacy the conditory can invent including Green Tea!!!
We haven’t had a Hebrew lesson for ages, so now is the time for a spectacularly Israeli phenomenon. The MAKOLET. Makolet, convenience store, corner shop, neighbourhood grocery and general meeting place. In most countries the makolet has given way to large conglomerates and supermarkets but here they are a growing business, rather than closing down they are thriving!!! Our makolet owner is Oren and he knows everyone by name. If someone is missing a carton of milk or a pat of butter he will have one of his people pop it round in a jiffy, or one can make large orders – all free delivery and one can pay tomorrow or the next day. The young men who work with him, Itzik, Bar and Uzi, are equally fun and Orens fruit and vegetables are the very best in town. When you go to the makolet for HALAV (milk), BAYTZIM (eggs), SHOKO, a delicious chocolate milk shake which traditionally came in individual plastic bags that children successfully bite off the corner and drink; for YERAKOT (vegetables) or PAYROT (fruit) you will find everything from simple potatoes and onions to crispy asparagus and long white leeks straight from the ground. Peppers,PILPEL, juicy red, yellow, orange and green or tiny multicoloured sweet peppers not to be confused with the fiery PIPEL HARIF (hot peppers) or three types of courgette – in fact everything is so diverse including the shapes because we don’t necessarily eat the evenly shaped ones – we sell them to you!!! I always choose the Siamese twin bananas, the bulbous cucumbers or the piggy back peaches just because that’s how nature made them, not straight and tasteless but strange and scrumptious!!
If you doubt for one minute that Israeli food is the freshest and best just read this!
That’s it! Time to make my final touches for Shabbat. Zvi has been absolutely phenomenal this week, taking care of me, cooking, tidying and entertaining visitors. He really proved his nurturing side! My neighbour Shoshana came bearing food and the other neighbour Michal baked a cake but other than that he took on his role with great good nature.
It may sound strange but last Friday, waking from the anaesthetic I looked up at both Zvi and my wonderful eldest son Daniel and felt great gratitude and love wash over me- Dan, you are such a special person, you and your beautiful family. This week our second eldest grandson Samuel was 10 years old. Sammy, you have taught us all the meaning of absolute love, absolute trust and fine dining!  I am the luckiest person in the world that all three of my children and both of Zvi’s and their partners in life, exude love and are really good people. Lucky, lucky, lucky.
Tomorrow Steve and Shuli Daren are coming to visit and various other friends- I am so much better but haven’t managed to get out for a whole week! Unfortunately that meant that I haven’t seen Rachel and her family this week since they have all been struck down with flu – real flu and not very nice at all. Wishing them better soon.
Shabbat Shalom everyone.  Hope you have a wonderful Shabbat filled with love, contemplation and peace.
This week I realised once more how fortunate I am as I lay in bed absorbing the view of Jerusalem from our window – The View from Our Veranda!

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

Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv