The view from my veranda

150814 Shee Zvi 25 years, Zvi Yechezkely, Special Olympics Israeli medals

14th August 2015
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Today may be a short letter because last night three of our Israeli grandchildren came for a sleepover and I am somewhat tired but I can’t promise!!
They were amazing, I loved every second, played a funnnnnny game with them where we each had to mimic someone in the family and the others had to guess who it was. Cousin Steve was easy – I just went brrrrrroooom broooooom and Uncle Gideon even easier – they just ate and said it was delicious! I can’t wait for them to come back – just to give me a week or so to recover!!!
I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired about the scapegoating of Israel when I know for a fact that in most countries in our region, and throughout Africa and most of South America, the idea of human rights is so far from their social and political ambitions that the multiple resolutions against Israel have become an international folly of the first water. Indeed it is so negative to democracy and justice that one is forced to question motives – even of our greatest allies. Europe and the USA unwittingly (????) give money for Palestinians to build illegally on disputed territory and remain silent on their terror yet reprimand, castigate and lecture Israel on a relatively few buildings in a contiguous Jerusalem.
Israel reaches out to the world, provides both education and aid to so many countries I lose count. The official governmental MASHAV a Childs Heart and so many more. We give and give, yet are found lacking when  compared to a non-country that takes and takes.
Last night, the excellent journalist Zvi Yechezkeli went into Jenin to talk to ordinary people. Jenin is flourishing although it has not received a penny of the aid YOU pay for – Israeli engineers and civil management experts have assisted in building and rebuilding the city that is more Israeli than Palestinian even though it is in the so-called disputed territories. Indeed I saw that for myself when Dr Malcolm Hoenlein took me to see the beautiful new centre and we spoke to Salam Fayaad, the only Palestinian leader who knew that they had to change and build a financial and physical infrastructure – which is why he was thrown out!
Gaza, Gaza is still a big bomb site – despite the infinite funds given by the USA and Europe, UN – the squalor and poverty levels rise – despite the vast amounts of basic foodstuffs and utilities that Israel provides – why? Because we have recently discovered that all the money has gone into building hundreds of more tunnels!
Now to your country, wherever you may be – even Australia and Canada who really try to keep a level playing field. Worth reading Douglas Murrays excellent article concerning  Anjem Choudry to truly understand watch Yechezkely’s Allah Islam – . As I have told you a thousand times –  this phenomenon is international – it has no boundaries and relies upon our values of freedom of speech, creed and democracy to grow. Men like Choudry who openly told Yechezkely that if the Queen didn’t convert to Islam she should leave Buckingham Palace which will become a Mosque, are replicated the world over. It has already affected the Los Angeles Gay Community – indeed the Beverley Hilton owned by the pro-Sharia Sultan of Brunei where Sharia law has been enforced.
And now for something entirely different!
Israel has a bobsled team for the Winter Olympics! Before you fall down laughing – remember the Jamaican team in Cool Runnings?
Israel’s Special Olympics team won no less than 61 medals in the Special Olympics in LA. Bravo team – bravo Israel
A bete noir in Israeli society is the question of conversion. While a recognised route, learning and rules, must be adopted it has become the domain of the ultra-orthodox. Rabbi Goren knew how to do it. He checked new immigrants, their pedigree and their knowledge and converted those who were appropriate without too much hardship. His liberal and humane approach has been criticised but now major Rabbis have put forward a change in the laws of conversion – taking the sole responsibility from the Chief Rabbinate. Watch this space!
No, I am not going to mention Iran. I cannot cope with it any more. Excuses and lies – indeed….. politics and diplomacy!
Today, the 14th of August, 25 years ago A brilliant and ridiculously tall man asked me out! Yes it was my first date with Zvi. He chose to take me on a tour – what else? – and we set off early in the morning from Jerusalem, drove north to Tiberias and continued to the Golan Heights, from the Golan we drove to ancient Sefat, in each place he gave me a complete historical tour, then drove down to Tel Aviv where he left me at my hotel and went to give a lecture to a group of Keren Hayesod. A full day and one which changed both our lives. We fell in love that day – crazy as it may seem. Yes, it was a day when two people found their future. We were meant to meet when we did – both grateful for the amazing children who came out of our first marriages – no regrets – yet coming together at a time when we were meant to – in Yiddish one says “Beshert” it was meant to be. Since that time we have helped each other in our determined Tikkun Olam, our ethical and moral values walk in tandem and our devotion to the best 5 children and the most incredible 13 grandchildren in the whole wide world – sorry no argument!!!! If I were to wish for anything it is another 25 years of hyperactivity and love but maybe that is greedy, so I wish our children a life as fulfilling as ours. Zvi helped me return to being the woman my parents wanted me to be.
Last Shabbat was yet another amazing meal. For you it may sound like a fairy tale – for us it is quite normal! A Vicar sang Kiddush alongside Zvi and then made the blessing over washing his hands before taking bread. Canon Andrew even managed to tell everyone off for speaking before taking challah. Along with Andrew was the wonderful helpmeet Hanno, who is Israeli Aramaic, our friend Dr Michael Dor and his wife Mali, Michael is a doctor who not only sits on many Knesset committees but has been a major influence on legalising medical Marijuana for those who suffer chronic pain, Parkinsons, MS and spoke of its positive effect on ADD and ADHD. Fascinating. To complete this amazing trinity was Navonel Glick of IsraAid who has just returned from Irbil in Iraq where IsraAid is working to help the Yazidis – which Andrew is also doing, obviously. I am sure you wish you could have been a fly on that wall!!!!
Sunday night was reminiscing with Carol Minton (her maiden name) and Adrienne Spiner Arkin both from Cardiff. Sitting eating supper on our veranda, overlooking that view – THAT view – was even more special than normal.
So, to celebrate the silver anniversary of our first date – here is Zvi’s choir singing a beautiful song, lyrics by Eli Yaron and Music by Adi Hayat with the dancing of Liron Mussachi. The song, in Ladino, is called Israel Mio – My Israel.
Next is a beautiful rendition of the traditional Shabbat Song Yedid Nefesh. 
Finally -the warmth of Mizrachi (Eastern) religious music, the Revivo Project with a Shabbat compilation
Since I am late Jerusalem is almost asleep! The shops have closed, the shopping mall car park empty, the bus park full with silent green buses as their drivers go home and the train station silent, even the escalator stops for a Shabbat rest. The sun is softer, the heat of the day slowly dissipating and the breeze beginning to refresh the parched trees on the hillside opposite. The aromas of Shabbat meals are rising through the building and making the joy of families enjoying their togetherness closer. The children are at home now, shining and scrubbed clean for Shabbat – enjoying the aromas of Ima Rachel’s freshly baked challot and conucopia of salads!
They loved their time in the UK, adored being with all their cousins, some of whom they met for the first time and extra thrilled by my beautiful, special big sister “Auntie Dordi” who they finally got to hug but very happy to come home to Jerusalem and their Daddy Igal.
So dear friends, I wish you a beautiful Shabbat of respite from our insane world. Enjoy your families, remember to recognise the we each make our own world, our surroundings depend upon what we create from what we have.
Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem – Jerusalem.

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

Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv