The view from my veranda

150618 Baruch Ivcher, Denis MacEoin, Syrian Druze, London, Wales


18th June 2015

Shabbat Shalom from sunny London! Yes it is sunny! Not only is it sunny but I have had the best food in every restaurant and pub and of course my daughter in law cooks the yummiest meals. Pub food is always the best, fresh, sometimes simple but always delicious and sitting outside in the gardens with the gentle British sunshine is a special treat. I am not comparing anything with Jerusalem, just telling you that British food is terrific!

I travelled down to Wales to see my siblings and families. Wales, “How Green is my Valley” is the most evocative of Welsh stories because the green if the fields is so bright, the frequent rain creates its own miracles.

And so to news, we’ll get back to my trip later.

Denis MacEoin is a lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University in northern England, and an expert on Islam and Shari’a Law. Fluent in Persian and Arabic, he has a PhD in Persian/Islamic Studies from Cambridge University. Denis is also a strong proponent for Israel. He wrote this fascinating article concerning the dreadful situation in the worlds university campus’  The Upside-Down World of University Human Rights – Open Letter to the UK National Union of Students

I am deeply distressed, offended and angry at the desecration of the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha, President Reuven Rivlin with Father Gregory Collins, head of the Order of Saint Benedict in Israel. “I was shocked and saddened to learn this morning of the fire at the Church at Tabgha. Such terrible desecration of an ancient and holy place of prayer and an attack on the very fabric of life in our country, where people of different faiths seek to live together in harmony and mutual tolerance and respect.”  I sincerely hope that those responsible will serve many years in jail.

The current situation in Syria and the fact that the rebels are closing in on the Syrian Druze villages has aroused old fears in the hearts of Israel’s Druze community and the Israeli government has responded by preparing to absorb those fleeing their imminent death by Islamic rebels. Of course the Telegraph had to write that Israeli Druze and those on the occupied Golan Heights – afraid of a compliment to Israel are they? Even this apparently level headed report form India mentions it. As if every other country immediate gave back land won in war!!!!

I was involved in a rather hot discussion on Disqus concerning the Israeli cartoon mocking the foreign press coverage of Gaza. The incredibly racist comments about a short and funny, incredibly truthful little video were of course what I expected. It is quite acceptable to be racist if it is anti-Semitic! In fact, when fighting these comments, or journalists, don’t way anti-Semitic, call it what it is RACIST, RACIST not politically correct.

There is lots of good news too!

We have a friend, Israeli, who went to Peru and in addition to a bedding business, set up a radio station. Nothing special in that, however, Baruch Ivcher is no ordinary man and his story is not either. Baruch believes in free speech and despite the radio/ TV station being blown up and his life threatened when he revealed that both the President and the security services were involved in drugs and corruption he refused to hold his silence. Ivcher is so much more than a businessman, more than the owner of a TV station he is a fierce and determined fighter for free speech and the freedom of the little man. Baruch never lost his love for his homeland and this week Baruch and his wife Neomy dedicated the Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Centre. The plethora of dignitaries at the ceremony were well deserved, recognising his generosity and love for Israel.  Zvi was thrilled to be there and to cheer his old friend on.

A Swedish chain of supermarkets has backed out of an attempt to boycott Israeli goods, fighting back against a major newspaper campaign. The Israeli Ambassador to Sweden chose to fight back by stating it was wrong to pick on one country.,7340,L-4669991,00.html

Matan Ben-Canaan is a young Israeli artist and won a major award this week – from the BBC no less.

Israel hosted a plethora of major stars recently, wonderful performances, fantastic shows.  The most recent to announce a visit is Bon Jovi. Jon Bon Jovi  dismissed as utter lies reports in the western media that the group considered boycotting Israel, saying Israel is “the one place they want to play” and they “couldn’t care less about boycott calls”; The star is looking forward to their Tel Aviv concert.

American comedian Jay Leno returned to Israel and quipped “President Obama has declared the month of May Jewish American Heritage Month. He is calling it an opportunity to renew our ‘unbreakable bond with the nation of Israel.’ And he knows it’s unbreakable because he’s been trying to break it for the last several years.Well I thought it was quite funny!

Back to my trip. I came to be with family and have seen very few friends, and thoroughly enjoyed my time with family. Since I don’t have a car here those I see came to visit, except for my foray into Wales. This trip down memory lane was enhanced by our newest family member – Sebastian, son of Carly and James and grandson of my nephew Steven and Claire. Little Sebi is the fourth generation Welsh Silver and he really does us proud! Wales,Jews who were not seduced by the “Goldener Medina” (the Golden Country as America was dubbed) or the metropolis of London, came to Wales because of its similarity to their native Polish villages. They began selling household goods “on tick” (payments) and many built themselves up to big business so that their children could enter the professions. These small communities then died out with the fall of coal mining and moved to Cardiff, the Welsh Capital city which became the springboard to greatness for a surprising number and its innate Zionism meant that out of the 3,000 Welsh Jews 500 made Aliya to Israel.

Wales is known as the Land of Song and I couldn’t decide which song best portrayed that love but Rugby had to win. Just absorb the beauty of the Welsh Voices  of course it was just before a game where Wales beat England 30-3!!!!

Apart from Wales, my lovely cousin Lynne and Mike came up from Oxford, Valerie and Martin from Reading and the Ryde Family who used to be from Reading by now live nearby. It is always fun recounting the past and learning of the present and of course we did that, but I have to admit that my conversations with Stephen Ryde give me so much pleasure – I love Victor, Jacqueline and Gaynor too but Stephen is such an enthusiastic and passionate proponent for Israel, he makes me proud.

Tomorrow I will see my Jill, to hug her and remind her of the wonderful love she and Victor z”l shared.

Other than that, I am enjoying every single second with my children and grandchildren Sammy, Olivia and Zachary and relish their antics and excited stories of school, tennis and running club. Of course I am thrilled to realise time and time again what an excellent Barrister (no not Barista) my son Gideon is.

It is good to remember how good, delicious and healthy, food is in the UK although I am horrified at the cost of fruit and vegetables, although I found greater appreciation of the abundance of seasonal fruit at home. The trouble with this modern family, spread over the world, is that while  loving the ones I am with I always miss the ones who are not beside e. This week I won’t be collecting Yosef, Talia and Ayala from school nor will I get my freshly baked challah from Rachel, nor see the panorama from Nebe Samuel, however, tomorrow I will watch the children as we light candles, Gideon will sing the Kiddush and we will all break bread together as we say the blessing over the challah.Tradition eh?

Here the Kinderlech – Children, sing Shalom Aleichem to welcome the Shabbat.

Shema Yisrael from Micha’el Ben David

I want to wish my Moslem readers a blessed Ramadan, my Christian readers a blessed Sabbath and Jewish readers Shabbat Shalom.

I leave you with Bless This House by Welshman Harry Secombe – a fine man indeed. May your house be blessed

Shabbat Shalom



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

Sheila’s blog

Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv