19th November 2015
Shabbat Shalom dear Friends
I am confused, sad, angry and don’t know where to begin. Perhaps I should begin with the diabolical attacks on Paris, attacks that shook the world and horrified us as we realized the extent and evil intent as trendy Parisians were out for a night of enjoyment; perhaps with the fact that there were two more attacks here in Israel yesterday, killing five people – two of them while praying in a synagogue in Tel Aviv, by a knife wielding terrorist who knew them because he worked nearby; three by a Palestinian terrorist who shot randomly as he drove past ordinary folk driving along in Gush Etzion, one a young American on a years trip to Israel, studying in Yeshiva and volunteering with the less fortunate. Our world is topsy turvy, moral judgement is out the window and our sense of security disappeared – wherever we live.
With your permission I will start from a different angle – from the angle of a friend, a young Israeli Arab man from Shoefat, who lives on the Israeli part of Shoefat. Uzi is a delightful young man, as a Moslem, he suffers from every aspect of our situation. When he drove his car to Ramallah to visit relatives and do a bit of shopping in the huge shopping mall there, because it is cheaper, his car was stoned because he has an Israeli licence plate! When he took his new wife for an evening out in Tel Aviv, she wears a traditional head covering, they were insulted and shouted at by some who passed them in the street. I told him that for the first time in my life here I am wary of Arabs – and believe you me I am the last person to judge someone by their mode of dress or appearance. He agreed, he understood and I understood that he too was scared because Jewish Israelis, even friends, began to look at him differently. This situation is a no-win, for us all.
We were visiting friends last weekend when one of them suddenly jumped from the couch and said “There has been an attack in Paris” We immediately turned on the news and sat in front of the television for hours of disbelief. The well co-ordinated attacks were aimed at ordinary folk, doing what Parisians do so well. Eating, drinking, enjoying a rock concert, watching a friendly football match between French and German national teams – doing things we all do – and that is what shocked us to the very core. The cold-bloodedness of the attacks was beyond our comprehension. Such intense racist hatred, such determination to scare us into submission is alien to our moral and ethical standards, we simply cannot fathom why. Sheik Anjem Choudry explains all too well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TqPK5oYZBk
If you are offended by bad language please do not open this link. The language of John Oliver is extreme, but he uses strong language to shock us into understanding the attack on Paris. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glxh9ZgP7kc
Israelis reached out to the French, we empathised and sympathised, we rallied in our city centres in support of the people of Paris and both the Knesset and the Old City walls were lit with red, white and blue. We care, we really care. However the Turkish crowd at a Greece/Turkey football match in Istanbul, were asked to stand in a minutes silence for the victims of the Paris attacks, instead many booed and catcalled. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3322708/Turkey-supporters-boo-minute-s-silence-victims-Paris-attacks-prior-team-s-friendly-against-Greece-Istanbul.html
The Tel Aviv attack was aimed at those praying mincha in a synagogue, in an office building. The terrorist worked in a restaurant in the building and probably knew everyone and where they were on that day. Yet another terrorist from Hebron but this time a father of five. http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/11/19/eyewitnesses-recount-tel-aviv-stabbing-attack-in-midst-of-midday-prayers-people-were-covered-in-blood-turning-blue/
The Gush Etzion attack took place as a terrorist obtained an Uzi submachine gun illegally, and as he drove past innocent civilians he sprayed cars with bullets, killing 3. He was stopped and arrested. http://www.timesofisrael.com/3-dead-several-wounded-in-etzion-bloc-shooting-attack/ In the previous Gush Etzion attack, again a man from Hebron, the crucible of Islamic fundamentalism, a Red Crescent Ambulance stopped, and then carried on its way without tending to the wounded. The case is before the Red Cross.
The Violence Policy Center of the USA published these figures of drive by shootings in the USA. During the six-month period covered in the report, 733 drive-by shooting incidents were reported, claiming 154 lives and injuring 631 individuals. For Israelis these numbers are unthinkable. So why quote the report? The shootings here are because we are Jews. No other reason, not land, not property, not politics, because we are Jews. Anyone who still thinks that the violence is because we stole something from someone is delusional. We stole nothing. In fact a synagogue in Givat Zeev is in the process of being demolished by court order because an Arab from Ramallah laid claim to the land even though the congregation had proof of purchase!
Life must go on and Zvi and I drove all the way to Netanya for a lecture. Yitzchak Noy, http://www.mginews.com/content/view/591/60/ broadcaster, raconteur, author and historian, has lived long enough, close enough to the centre of activity, to tell the story with confidence. Titled “The lead up to the Dimona Nuclear Facility” he took us through Israeli and international history until that day, barely touching on, but leading up to the subject matter of the title, through the discussion and fights between Golda, Dayan, indeed all those who we hold as heroes. His talk was incredible, jumping from era to era, surprising us at every turn, but one thing came out loud and clear – Do not pay attention to the media or the rhetoric – Britain, the USA, France and Germany are totally and utterly with us and behind us, unequivocally, entirely and without reservation. We work together at every level and should never doubt this United States President or his loyalties. I left the lecture with greater understanding and positivity. Zvi wrote a precis, but in Hebrew.
Jonathan Pollard will be released from his 30 year prison sentence today. Released but on a parole with conditions that Professor Alan Dershowitz described as irrational and abusive – but then so was his incarceration and the conditions thereof. He will not be allowed to use the internet, restricted with whom he will speak, where he goes, indeed restrictions so stringent that it is truly offensive. What about all the Russian, Korean, Chinese, Iranian and so many other spies for countries that wish evil to the United States? Did they have conditions such as these? Why? http://www.jpost.com/International/Pollard-set-to-be-released-from-US-prison-today-434743
Ordinary Moslems have had enough. They are speaking out and speaking out together. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/26/muslims-rally-against-extremism_n_5889962.html
Wednesday night, as I lit the memorial candle for my beautiful Mother, who exuded love and kindness and compassion, I could but think how difficult it would have been for her to understand the world today, despite seeing three of her four children through the German bombing of our home city of Cardiff. She too never saw creed or colour, only people. She would not have understood the hatred we see on college campuses, the incitement of the media or the attacks on ordinary people. She was funny, kind and loving and I miss her terribly, after 52 years she is still irreplaceable. She loved Shabbat, loved my Daddy’s Kiddush, which sounded much more like Yiddish than Hebrew! Tonight I will light the Shabbat candles in the candelabra we lit together and my children will do the same, carrying on the tradition taught to me by someone they never knew but love deeply as she would have loved them.
Gosh, I know you always look to me for hope and positivity, but in truth, Pollyanna finds it a little hard this week. I apologise. Perhaps this interview with a little boy from Paris will give you hope https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpHJ-0BOdPI
A constant ray of light and hope is my friend Canon Andrew White who is currently back in the USA travelling and spreading his good word. This is a wonderful article about him. Read The Vicar of Baghdad is missing his flock – http://bit.ly/1S4e457
Let’s end with some happy Shabbat songs. Yedid Nefesh, Beloved Soul, a prayer beseeching the light of belief and love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOcFJCohnjU The words are so meaningful, please read them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yedid_Nefesh
Ha Dag ha Nachash is an Israeli group with a sense of humour! They made this excellent video about the lead up to Shabbat, from the orchards to Mahane Yehuda. Sorry it is in Ivrit but you will understand it all!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onGX_Q0okcQ
That’s it! It’s Friday, TGIF, because Yom Shishi (the sixth day) brings Shabbat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o29Fuk63nM8
With all my love for a peaceful, uneventful Shabbat. May the souls of those who lost their lives this week rest in peace and may the injured recover and may we learn tolerance – Sovlanut – toleranssi – goddefgarwch – सहनशीलता – تسامح – verdraagsaamheid – for tolerance is the only route to peace.
With love from Jerusalem, as beautiful as ever.
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Breaking News. 140 guests and 30 staff of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali have been taken hostage by Islamic terrorists http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/21/world/africa/mali-hotel-attack-radisson.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&rref=world/africa&module=Ribbon&version=context®ion=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Africa&pgtype=article The Radisson Blu is the favoured destination of foreign visits to Mali
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