The view from my veranda

150501 Shabbat Shalom, Wendy Sherman, Nepal, IsraAid, Government, Hezb-Allah, Lindenfelds.

1st May, 2015
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Gosh it has been quite a while since I wrote and so much has happened, both here and in the big wide world.
I don’t know if you realised but Wendy Sherman led the nuclear negotiations with North Korea, negotiations so successful that they now have nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles which threaten South Korea and the world. She also claimed that South Koreas claims for nationhood. Wendy Sherman is now responsible for the nuclear negotiations with Iran. Frankly, it scares me. 
Our hearts and thoughts are with the people of Nepal. When a massive earthquake hits it is not the firmly built rich houses that fall, usually, but rather the flimsy, poor homes that crumble, but this earthquake was so immense that it took the ancient along with the modern, the rich along with the poor.
Many countries sent money, aid, to help the Nepalese Government fight the hunger, thirst and destruction, but this chart shows how little Israel sent people. 
Due to our unfriendly neighborhood and our desire to help around the world, we have IDF field hospitals at the ready, which have proven themselves in their efficiency and speed numerous times. IDF tent cities are flown out and set up within hours of any disaster and already saved many lives and saw the joy of new births in the midst of disaster. 
I am so proud of you! I am so proud of your response to my appeal for IsraAid. Thanks to your help Shachar Zahavi has been able to send teams of volunteers to even the most remote sites. Two other young people I know also swept into action, Gilad Yakir, from Jerusalem didn’t panic, he acted. He went to a wealthy Buddhist monastery where they gave him a car loaded with medical equipment and he drove with some monks into the remotest areas and dealt with the worst of wounds and injuries, hoping against hope to avoid the inevitable infections that occur when no clean water can be found. He didn’t rest, as soon as his equipment ended he drove back through the treacherous roads and took more. Another young friend is Ariela Guttin, who lives in Nepal and is working hard to raise money and do what she can to help in Nepal.
I have to mention Rabbi David Greenberg and his amazing Temple Shaarey Tefila, in Bedford, NY. The moment I sent out the appeal he motivated his community to send a generous gift to IsraAid. You never let me down David, you and your amazing team. I am not going to mention anyone because i don’t want to miss a friend but you know who you are and who I love!!!!
Hezb-Allah decided to lob some missiles over Northern Israel, indeed right where we visited last week, perhaps they thought we were too busy with saving Nepal to notice!!! Since we met some of the Irish UN soldiers when up north I believe that they will do their best to stop them but just in case – we responded appropriately.
After an extension from President Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu is coming close to forming a government. Kulanu, the centre right and very socially aware party led by Moshe Kahlon who promised that he will bring social reform in cheaper housing and fair wages, is a definite. Also entering the government is the United Torah Party, representing the religious sector, although the price was putting the bill demanding equality in obligation to this country. Other negotiations are ongoing but they are very tough. I am personally very sad that the Labour Party (or Zionist Union by any other name) has not come to an agreement with Netanyahu, nor Yair Lapids Yesh Atid.  It is a shame that his natural partners have both chosen to stay outside, undoubtedly with the sole intention of bringing this government down from oppostition. My greatest complaint about the Israeli electoral system, and I have many, is that the official opposition parties do not prepare themselves by forming shadow governments and coming up with alternative policies, they simply work toward bringing down whoever is in power. I am still praying for compromise but then we all know my middle name is Pollyanna!!!!!
Yesterday, in response to a disgraceful incident and a prolonged grudge, Jerusalem saw a very angry demonstration take place in the centre of the city. Young Israelis of Ethiopian descent were demonstrating against their ill treatment by Israeli police, not shooting like in Baltimore, but police bullying. It came to a head when a video reached the television stations of two policemen physically harassing and shoving a young soldier of Ethiopian descent on his way home from duty. It really broke the camels back and a normally quiet and dignified sector became very angry and rightfully so. Mayor Nir Barkat chose to enter the fray, literally, he stood in the middle of the crowd then sat on the kerb and invited the leaders of the demonstration to come and talk. He patiently listened to anyone who chose to engage in dialogue ensuring that he would use his influence to change the current situation. His actions calmed the youngsters more than any other.   policeman, controlling the demonstration, who came under most verbal abuse was a young Ethiopian policeman. Interesting.
After Passover we spent a glorious 10 days with wonderful people. Our dearest friends Helene and Martin Lindenfeld decided that they wanted to show their friends Lee and Lusillo what a gorgeous country this is – and succeeded!!!
They began in Jerusalem, arriving on the eve of  Yom ha Shoah, they walked the Old City, visiting Jewish and Christian sites, went to Professor Gabby Barkay’s sifting project where we heard the siren of Yom ha Shoah and sifted through buckets of soil and stones taken from the Temple Mount and recovered by Prof Barkay. They went down to Massada and the Dead Sea while I prepared Shabbat Dinner!
Friday night they came to our home for Shabbat Dinner together with their lovely guide Eva Yaron and her husband Eli, Zvi’s beautiful Kiddush (sung in harmony with Martin and Eli) setting the scene.
Over the next week we saw Crusaders Fortresses, climbed up to the top of the Golan Heights where we overlooked Syria and Lebanon and had coffee in a restaurant called Coffee Annan (in Hebrew meaning Coffee in the Clouds). We slept in Mitspeh ha Yamim, a health spa cum farm in Rosh Pinah, we travelled the north of Israel and saw Nazareth, Metullah, Akko (Acre) which is truly magnificent, cavernous Crusader castles and citadels have been uncovered and opened to the public in a truly wonderful manner) Tsfat, home of Kabbalah where this wonderful song, the prayer Ana-Bekoach was written about 2000 years ago by the Holy Master Kabbalist Rabbi Nechunia ben Hakanah z”l., Caesaria with its aquaduct and enormous amphitheatre where Zvi stood and sang an operatic aria to the thunderous applause of a visiting group of Dutch Christians!!!!! So many other places finally ending up in Tel Aviv where Martin, Zvi and I paid tribute to Felafel Gabbay, the wonderful felafel place on 300 Dizengoff Street with the big sign “Soldiers in Uniform Eat Free”. Of course we were treated to special service because we are friend of Itchko (Yitzik Lev). Tel Aviv was more relaxed although one special treat was visiting the Independence Hall on Yom HaAtzma’ut – Independence Day, sitting in the very hall where David Ben Gurion declared the founding of the Jewish state by the name of Israel.  From there we went to Old Jaffa and after walking through the streets we stood in the port and proudly watched the fly-past of generations of Israeli aircraft. Our hearts filled with pride.
Eva was amazing, the Lindenfelds truly magnificent friends and our new friends Lee and Lusillo were sheer joy. We were so proud to show them our country, to impart our understanding and to learn new things from Eva. It was a rediscovery of how truly miraculous Israel is.
We ate gourmet and street, we drank fine wines (all local) and freshly squeezed fruit juices on the street; we laughed, cried, learned and watched and it was good – very good.
On our last day, when Martin, Helene, Lee and Lusillo had already left, we sadly packed our bags and went down for breakfast in the hotel gardens. We sat beside a couple, who looked very friendly and began to chat with them. They are lovely, they are friendly and I am happy to say that they are coming for Friday night dinner tonight!!!!! Dale and Steve Hoffman are staying in the King David, enjoying touring and rediscovering Israel after a 20 some year break. Tonight they will see the View from Our Veranda – along with other delightful Israeli friends and Zvi’s cousin Debby Gutverg who is on a course for a select group of Mexican Jewish teachers here in Israel. The course was initiated by Danny Liwerant who recognised the importance of the connection between the community and Israel.
After a week of history, reminders, memories and fun. A quote from the New Testament on a Coptic Church sums up the current atmosphere  – They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.
I am not that pessimistic though. Who could have imagined that we would come back after 2,000 years of dispersion to form a country that within 70 years has come from the Middle Ages to a 21st century powerhouse? This country is beautiful, productive, innovative, giving and hey…….. it’s my home!!!!
This week I was reminded of my roots and my future – having met very special friends from my Welsh past, Andrew, Jennifer, Madeleine, Sue, Averil and Jill and enjoyed the company of new friends. That is how we spend our lives here – meeting, greeting and learning from others.
Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat, one in which you have time for yourself yet are surrounded by loved ones. I pray for those who are sick and remind them that I need them, they are important to me and to us.
Shabbat Shalom dear friends, be well, be strong, know who you are and love what you are.
With all our love from Jerusalem, beautiful, spiritual, enjoyable city – with 9/10ths of the worlds beauty. Next week we celebrate Jerusalem Day, in celebration of the reunification of the city in 1967 after 19 years of Jordanian rule on the Holy sites. This song reminds us of Jerusalem’s importance as Yossi Azulay sings King Davids words, written in this very city in this language 3,000 years ago

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

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