The view from my veranda

151009 The news, The Mirror, Al Kol Eleh


9th October 2015

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom, Salaam, Paz, Pax, Peace, Pais……. I am happy to use any word, especially that magic word Peace.

The Chagim are over, and I still haven’t worked out what day of the week it is, except for the aroma of Shabbat preparations rising from the apartments beneath us. Life goes on, a new year and new incitement. Indeed incitement from Members of Knesset Ahmed Tibi and Haneen Zoabi fan the flames of discontent. Ahmed Tibi who lied about the WAQF invitation to PM Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount and incited the 2nd Intifada.

The eyes of the world have rightly been on Syria, Yemen, Nigeria,  Iran, Iraq and other tragically mismanaged areas of the world and the PA is feeling ignored, the world is tired of their moaning with no attempt to rectify their own situation. What do you does a child do when he is ignored? He fights, bites, screams and kicks and that is what is happening now – a cry for attention. I believe that the main reason for this wave of terror attacks is that the world is tired of the Palestinian situation and has much bigger fish to fry so they want their place in the headlines back again.

One in Kiriat Arba (Hebron), Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Afula, Kiriat Gat, Petah Tikva, Tekoa, young people who’s entire education has inculcated them with hatred so extreme, so deep that they are willing to forego their futures for a moment of ecstasy before Allah and a lifetimes pension for his family by trying to kill Jews. Such cruel leadership, such abuse of youngsters, I feel deep sympathy for those who are naive enough to think that their acts of terror can bring happiness and for the families who give up their sons and daughters for a cause that their leaders and UNWRA will never allow to happen. They choose very Jewish looking people, Haredi, people with kippa and soldiers for fear of killing another Arab.

We are not going anywhere and it saddens me that the normal hard working folk, Arabs, both Israeli and from the disputed territories, who just want to do a days work, earn a crust and go home again at night, will find themselves distrusted and ultimately closed in behind a big fence.

I was thinking to myself that the current situation is like a bad divorce, whereby an abusive partner not only wants the family home, children, effects, but is determined to make the life of the other partner hell through lies and perfidy in order to achieve their aims. Everyone suffers but the instigator.

Yesterday I went to a brilliant press briefing at the Jerusalem Press Club and listened carefully to two men, representatives of the middle left and middle right, one a diplomat who lives in Tel Aviv the other a young lawyer who is the Mayor of Efrat. The Mayor of Efrat was the only one who spoke of visiting his neighbours, local Moslems, who remember the days, not so long ago, when Israelis used to go to do their shopping in Hebron market on a Friday and enjoyed the company of Arabs, Jews and Christians together.

One, among many interesting aspects, was raised – if Shamir had accepted the Jordanian proposal in 1988 the West bank would have been the responsibility of Jordan. I wonder how many would have dared to fight against that regime? When there was an uprising against King Hussein, led by Yassir Arafat, Hussein simply sent his army in and killed 10,000 PLO followers. The history is fascinating

My favourite part of going to the Press Club is talking to the infinitely wise Dr Cyril Sherer, who at 90+ is not only still practicing medicine, is still involved in research and has a unique view of the current situation having come on Aliya many many years ago. I met him through Harry and Nancy Bloomfield and love his stories of treating the4 rich and famous of the Laromme, later the Inbal Hotel.

Back to the present though – Fred Maroun, is ashamed to be a Palestinian. He writes-  “From the start, we have refused to accept the existence of one tiny Jewish state. We fought that state tooth and nail using all the venom and anti-Semitism that we could muster. We isolated and mistreated our own Palestinian siblings so we could use them as tools against the Jews. We have not relented. We have not shown an ounce of compassion, humanity, or even smarts. We made the destruction of the Jewish home our signature cause. We made hate our religion. When will this nonsense stop?

According to Jewish thought, if one looks in the mirror and smiles ones reflection is happy so it is when dealing with others. In other words if one is nice to other they will be nice to us and the entire world will live in peace. Yeah right!!! In our current world a smile to ones enemy is considered an invitation to use and abuse, an open invitation to oppress. In our current world we rely on our leaders, who in the most part have failed us, perhaps because they looked in the mirror and smiled at their own image too many times, and we rely on our military leaders who are often a great deal wiser than our political leaders. Here in Israel it is young men and women, the IDF, police, Border Guards, who put themselves on the front line to protect us – and on occasion to protect innocent Arabs who are set upon by suspicious and over-aggressive Jews.

Please understand, one can dramatise the situation but that is giving in to their need for international recognition and their right to terrorise, to be in the headlines, and the less fuss we make, the less it reaches your headlines the better it is for Israel. Remember, this is minor compared to what is happening in the rest of our region. In fact, the far more serious terror of criminal killings happen every day in your society, something that is rare in Israel.

We woke to a beautiful morning. Jerusalem, indeed Israel, was washed by life-giving rain for two days and suddenly everything smells fresher.  Life will go on as usual on a Friday morning. Israel will prepare for Shabbat, either secular or religious, and families will visit each other laden with saucepans filled with goodies for the Shabbat meal. Israel doesn’t scare that easily.

Today was delightful. It started with cooking and I began to write this letter before heading off to the Katamon neighbourhood where I met Angela Hexner Bengur, an old friend from Cardiff, and we sat in the gentle sunshine having breakfast. It was delicious! A finely chopped Israeli salad, with cucumbers, tomatoes, purple onion and parsley, and a cheese platter with crispy baguette, all served with wonderful coffee. Israeli cheeses are improving by leaps and bounds, rather like Israeli wines, and the array of incredible flavours (the smellier the better for my cheese tastes) was astonishing. No blood tests for me this week because none of them was exactly low fat!!!

From celebrating Angelas birthday I went to collect Rachels girls from school. I never fails to amaze me how Ramallah is closing in on Jerusalem daily yet no-one, not one leader, seems to bat an eyelid!!!! To balance my thoughts I drove over the hilltop of Samuels Tomb very slowly, taking in that incredible panorama, counting the ever increasing towers, Augusta Victoria, the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, St Johns Church, The Leonardo Plaza, the YMCA, the Calatrava Bridge the old and the new and the myriad of white buildings, apartments, schools, houses and stores dotted in between. The hills that make up Jerusalem undulating into the distance.

Zvi is at his parliament, after a good session at the gym, and enjoying the lively discussions. It is much less noisy since Elihu BenOn took over the “chairmanship” and they choose current subjects and all discussions go through the chair. Much nicer than the verbal free for all that used to be. By the way, if you listen to Kol Yisrael overseas, especially if you speak Hebrew, should contact Elihu, he welcomes points of view. Follow him on Facebook too.

Tonight Amiad and Noga are coming with little Ella and Yonatan. Since we are just a few and the children love chicken I made Moroccan style chicken with plain rice. Since it may be cool this evening I think we will have some lovely warming pumpkin and carrot soup to start – the children love soup without “bits” as long as it is accompanied by Telma soup almonds (which by the way have never seen almonds, is nothing like croutons but they love them). Dessert………. Still uncertain I may just do fresh fruit since the honeydew melons are phenomenal right now.

I hope I haven’t tired you, this is rather a long missive and not the jolliest but I try to keep my promise to keep you up to date.

I am thrilled out of my mind and cleaning our apartment as if there is no tomorrow because in another week my beautiful sister Doreen is coming to visit! I have created a whole itinerary for her and am more excited than you can imagine!!! All the glorious flowers that I planted in her honour are blooming and the trees look amazing. I can’t wait! Everyone here is excited she is coming ” When is Auntie Dordi coming”? was the first question on Rachel’s children’s lips. “When is your sister coming? ” asked Zvi’s grandchildren. She is coming soon. We will sit together on the veranda and just………… just…….. relax. Far from the madding crowd!!!

There is only one song that is appropriate to this week. Shabbat and weekday it lifts my spirits and soothes my soul Al Kol Eleh – Above all this

Shalom Aleichem Malachei ha Shalom – Come to us Angels of Peace, may peace be upon you.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. May peace come to you and to Israel. Please God we will look in the mirror and see the smiles of our neighbours in the reflection. Amen!



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