The view from my veranda

150807 Iran, Maccabi Europe, Shira Banki, Duma fire, Andrew White

7th August, 2015
Shabbat Shalom dear friends.
This week I promised our wonderful friend Ron Carner, President of Maccabi USA, that I would dedicate an entire newsletter to the European Maccabiah. Held in the Berlin Stadium that the United States agree to remove two athletes from team USA because they were Jews. Marty Glickman and another Jewish sprinter, Sam Stoller, were taken out of the 200 metre relay team. 79 years later, Jewish Olympics held in the self same stadium and Nancy Glickman, daughter of Marty, wore his unused Olympic Uniform to the Games, the Jewish Games.
The Games went off with great success, not only Europeans, over 300 Americans came too! It was an historic event, deeply emotional, held in the place that no Jew was allowed to tread and thanks to Maccabi – they ran, jumped and leapt there this year!
I can procrastinate no longer. This has been a ghastly week. Fanaticism created an emotional earthquake here in Israel as a 16 year old girl, Shira Banki z”l, was stabbed to death for supporting her gay schoolfriends at a small Gay Parade here in Jerusalem. The perpetrator, Yishai Schlissel , was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his knife attack at the Gay Parade 10 years ago and the Supreme Court saw fit to reduce his sentence despite the fact he never expressed remorse for his actions. 10 years and 3 weeks afterwards, Schlissel took a long-bladed kitchen knife and attacked marchers. His crime is against Judaism, against all our ethics, morals and tenets. We do not have the death penalty in Israel, but he should be denied all rights as a religious Jew because he is not. He does not represent any aspects of a deeply tolerant religion.
The village of Duma is close to Nablus, biblical Shechem. It is normally a quiet village but this week it hit the headlines for the worst of reasons, terrorists threw Molotov cocktails into two houses, and in one a family slept. Eighteen-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha died in the resulting inferno and three members of his family are still in serious condition in Jerusalem hospitals. The first reaction of all Israelis, all Israelis of conscience which is 99% of us, was shock, horror and remorse. The Prime Minister, President and religious leaders all spoke out of their sadness that such a thing could happen. Israelis turned out in the thousands to demonstrate against such repugnant violence.
I was among those who felt despair that Israelis could possibly have committed the crime which is the ultimate antithesis of Judaism – In Judaism the loss of life is considered a failure, a failure to save, a failure to change. I admit to a sense of shame that someone in my country, my Israel, could have done this – what have we come to? Then I began to analyse the situation, because before I write to you I have to put things into perspective rather than give you knee jerk reactions.
Shootings, stabbing and arson are everyday events in most part of the world but here it is felt.
We took care of the family in Israels finest hospitals where they receive everything they need
We will never laud the acts of these fanatics or name streets for them. They will be hunted down and imprisoned.
No sweets will be handed out to children in celebration of their heinous crimes.
Our religious leaders, both Chief Rabbis, made a joint announcement condemning the acts
Our political and diplomatic leaders expressed disgust and fury at what was done
All our leaders, secular and religious, described these acts as terrorism.
So dear friends, do not compare us to our neighbours who laud such acts, or their religious leaders who call for death – we are a moral society which reached out and displayed regret not jubilation when a baby died. Think back to the Fogel Family – and the nightlong celebrations in the PA at killing those babies.  Do not compare us, do not think these terrorists represent anyone. I pray they will be found and incarcerated together with all the other terrorists and let them do what they will and leave us to live in peace.
Our problem is that these disgusting youngsters are clever. They remove all clothing use in the act; the refuse to speak or give names etc to the police and it is very tough to get the to make incriminating statements. The police decided to refuse them the right to a lawyer and are held on suspicion and so it will continue at six monthly intervals.
Even these foul acts brought a beautiful response as Rabbi and Palestinian peace activists held a solidarity meeting.
Yesterday, a car driven by an Arab man drove intentionally into 3 soldiers waiting at an official hitchhiking site. Two are in serious condition one has light injuries. The soldier with light injuries succeeded in shooting the attacker and injuring him. I doubt if it made the back page in the news media where you live!!!  Bassam Tawil explains it
The New York Times write that our relief at the release of Jonathan Pollard shows that we Israelis don’t understand the USA. Yeah well, maybe their dismay at his delayed release shows that the NY Times does not understand what espionage means, because according to this official definition, Pollard did not commit espionage. Espionage – The act of obtaining, delivering, transmitting, communicating, or receiving information about the national defense with an intent, or reason to believe, that the information may be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation. Espionage is a violation of 18 United States Code 792-798 and Article 106, Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Meanwhile, the Republican leadership debate took place last night, apparently dominated by the man who creates a birds nest on his head because he loves the camera, The Trump. I don’t believe that he is crazy, but Presidential Candidate? Not sure about that.  One thing I do appreciate it his desire to bring in a third political Party to the American system. It would possibly level the playing field and prevent the absolute power of either Republican or Democrat. Worth thinking about.
Last weekend at Kfar Maccabiah was gorgeous! Being in Tel Aviv enabled us to meet up with lots of friends and then on Shabbat the children spent the day with us revelling in the  two pools and the beautiful gardens. It really is a childrens paradise.
On Sunday Zvi, Eli and I went to the Yuri Shtern Holistic Center to meet with the founder, Lena Shtern. We had great news for her! In October the Choir is organising a national choir festival which will be held in Jerusalem. At Eli’s suggestion the choir is giving 150 tickets to the Center to raise money Eli says that I live and breathe the Yuri Shtern centre!!!
On Monday, despite the horrific heat, I braved Shouk Ramle – the once a week market that has just about everything you don’t need, very cheaply. I love the babble of voices, the yelling of the costermongers (yes it seems to be international that costermongers yell their wares) as you pass from children stickers to cheap dresses, bras, lighting, awful pictures, make up and so much more!!! I love it. Zvi says he always knows where I am between 9 and 10 every Monday morning because I try to get out before the crowds arrive!
Last night we went with friends to a gorgeous performance of Ha Gevatron – the famous choir from Kibbutz Geva in the North. It was a rare cool evening with a beautiful light breeze enhancing our enjoyment – such a relief to feel normal!!! The choir has been performing for over 60 years and incredibly some of the original sopranos still sing – beautifully – you can hear her stand out in this video. 86 years young,  Incredible 
When we got home the late summer moon was rising and what a sight!!! Suddenly I saw a huge bowl, orange and tipped sideways, rising from the horizon. It was breathtaking.
Tonight I am thrilled to tell you that my lovely friend Canon Andrew White is back in Jerusalem and at our table for Shabbat Dinner. Andrew just got back from Baghdad where he successfully underwent treatment and saw his beautiful community. We will have his favourite Gefilte Fish to start and then I made a, hopefully, delicious concoction which is as close as this Polish/Welsh girl can get to Moroccan Chicken!!!! Lots of onion, prunes, apricots, cinnamon, ground coriander and cumin seeds, garlic, pumpkin and of course chicken!! Salads and Couscous and then Andrew’s other favourite, chocolate cake, for dessert.Among the other guests will be Navonel Glick, who has also come back from Irbil, Iraq, where IsraAid is helping the Yazidi community – yes Israel goes to the places others won’t even consider.
Tomorrow we meet up for Shabbat lunch with a large number of Zvi’s friends from his youth, most of whom I am happy to say have become my friends too. I love hearing the stories of way back when…………. of an Israel I rely on their memories for rather than the incredibly modern, technologically advanced, green and beautiful country which has everything that I came to.
On Sunday 6th September the Israeli football team will be playing Wales at Cardiff City Stadium, to qualify for Euro 2016. It’s going to be a huge match, and we want as many Israel supporters as possible to be there on the day. We’re also going to give the Israeli football team the welcome they deserve. We’ll be holding a celebration of all things Israel-related outside the stadium before the match, with food, music and plenty of flags! Sadly, BDS bigots plan to protest in the city on the day, so we want to make sure that if they reach the stadium, they’ll be confronted by the sight they hate the most: hundreds of proud Israel supporters enjoying themselves! Coaches from around the country will be available, and tickets for the match will only be £20, so come and join us, fill the stadium with blue and white! For information,
So, time to set the table. I think we will eat indoors, although I haven’t quite decided. I am afraid it will be too hot, even if three of the guests have just come from Iraq where the temperature reached well over 50 degrees!
I dedicate the first song this week to my incredible grandson Sammy, Samuel George, who taught us all the real meaning of love. Yaacov Shwekey I Can Be
Nearly 20 years ago I sat in the Rotunda in Washington for the opening of the American celebrations of Jerusalem 3,000. Despite the vast number of famous faces around me I was so excited to find my self sitting next to Cantor Joseph Malovany, arguably the finest Chazan of all time. He stood and sang Hatikva in the Rotunda and I was transfixed. Here he sings niggunim for Shabbat.
Wishing you Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. This is the most beautiful city and it is a city of peace, as her name suggests – Ir Shalom. It really is amazing!  Just before I go – Stanley, Stanley Roth – I succeeded in saving the lemon, orange and pomegranate trees and most of the herbs!!! In fact the pomegranate tree is flowering afresh! I am so happy but next week will go and replace all the dead myrtle bushes – not a problem, life goes on. The veranda will be even more beautiful afterwards – everything happens for a reason.
With love

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

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