The view from my veranda

160212 Odeh, Herzog, Shkediot and Calaniot

12th February 2016
Shabbat Shalom Everyone! I hope this missive finds you well.
Another insane week, whether one refers to the primaries, the world reaction (or lack of it) to what is happening in our midst, the continued demonization of Israel, the final admission of the head of the CIA that, yes, ISIS has chemical weapons in its hands and they are in Syria. Please remember if you check back in my archives, I told you about the weapons that were secretly sent overland to Syria from Iraq, just before the Allied attack on that country, and many of you doubted me.
Another insane week in which John Kerry announced that a ceasefire will take place in Syria by the end of the month; after 300,000 dead he has suddenly found a solution? Is there no end to the lies we are told?
Democracy achieved insanity here in Israel when three Arab Members of Knesset, from the Joint List, representing Balad, paid a condolence visit to the families of terrorists killed in action. The MK’s claimed that the families asked them to come to discuss the return of their sons bodies, but surely the responsibility of these MK’s is to care of the interests of the Israeli Arab community and isn’t visiting the families of terrorists and saying a prayer for their souls an act of treason? Can you imagine even James Earl Carter visiting the family of Osama Bin Laden? I am certain that they never said a word to Hamas, who were unquestionably there, about the return of the bodies of our brave soldiers.
I went to hear Ayman Odeh, the highly charismatic Leader of the Joint List Party at the Jerusalem Press Club in Yemin Moshe. He did not go on the aforementioned visit and did not defend it, however while using fine words he did not condemn it either. Ayman Odeh is much loved by the Jewish Left and is normally careful in his actions and speeches not to appear biased, yet refused to speak before the Conference of Presidents in New York when he discovered that the Jewish Agency was also in the building. At the end of a fascinating talk I was none the wiser as to his loyalties. As he spoke I took note that behind him, through the window, was Mount Zion. After his speech I approached him and he was very friendly. I asked his reaction to the fact that my husband, my Zvi, is a Palestinian. It says so on his birth certificate. Zvi was born during the Mandate right here in Jerusalem, on Mount Scopus, in 1945 and his birth certificate says that his parents were Palestinians and Zvi was born a Palestinian. I asked Mr Odeh if he would defend Zvi’s rights too. He was flustered for the first time and could not give me a satisfactory answer. Perhaps Khaled Abu Toameh explains it best, as always.
However, and this is important, his point that while many new Jewish towns have been built no new Arab towns have been created is something we must think about. Indeed I think it is time to rethink our attitude to Israeli Arabs. Odeh felt no venom toward Israelis but he feels that Mr Netanyahu has incited and acted badly against Israel’s Arab population.
The next day I was back in Yemin Moshe at the Press Club to hear Isaac Herzog, Leader of the Opposition. He comes over much clearer in person than on television, his voice much stronger than I expected. Zvi said he was an excellent speaker and he should know, he gave him his first ever speaking engagement!! Mr Herzog (Buzhy) Made several sapient points.
Peace talks aren’t working so change tack
1.       Abu Mazen warned him, and Mr Netanyahu that the current 3rd Intifada was imminent
2.       We must simply separate from the Palestinians. Build fences around the settlement blocks and separate from the non-Israeli villages around Jerusalem.
3.       Strengthen confidence with the Palestinian Authority concerning security
4.       Ease sanctions on Gaza and demand a demilitarization in exchange
5.       Hold a conference with moderate Arab countries, not just Egypt and Jordan
6.       Final Status on the Clinton Agreement
7.       Separation, separation, separation
Finally and most importantly he said that we must not give up on Jerusalem. There must be a change in paradigm but whatever happens peace is not around the corner
I was thrilled to take our friend Dr Cyril Sherer to the Herzog meeting. At 95 he is writing a new book about his 71 years as a physician; he is alert, fascinating and wise and I thank Harry and Nancy for introducing us to this fine man.
Barry Shaw wrote the wonderful essay If You Want to Boycott Israel Do it Properly. Barry has now written an instruction book – BDS For Idiots. Strongly recommended!!!!
I left you for a while to collect the children from school, which is why I am writing rather late this week. It was so wonderful. I love the look of delight on their faces when they see it is me! The usual drive back to their home over Har Shmuel, Samuels Mount and Tomb, was especially glorious, the winter sun gleaming on the panorama of white Jerusalem stone – shining back at me. While waiting for Talia I took a photograph of Ramallah; Ramallah is growing at such a phenomenal rate of knots that it is basically touching on the outskirts of Jerusalem. I took a photo if you want to see it on my Facebook page.
Enough! It is a glorious day, I have a challah made by the delicate hands of my amazing daughter; the aromas of the Jewish Diaspora are rising up through the staircase and Shabbat will soon be with us. It always reminds me of the irony that for so many years they told us to go back to our homeland and now they the self-same people tell us it isn’t even ours!!! We know better though. By the way, I must compliment Debby Bettsak here. I always talk about the power of one and Debby has it and used it. Ahinoam Nini was due to appear at a Jewish function in Atlanta. Debby knows full well that Ahinoam Nin (Noa) is not just critical of the government – hey we all are – she identifies with the Palestinian cause which makes her a very bad choice for a fundraiser. Debby wrote a letter pointing this out and managed to get it published! Brava Debby!
Another publishing miracle – IsraAid is complimented in the Guardian!!! IsraAid (IsraAID)  has extended its activities in South Sudan. “Policing the beaten: training South Sudan’s cops to help survivors of gender violence”
Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes from where we take many of our moral quotes. As usual, my old friend Rabbi Jeremy Rosen does the work for me, explaining and teaching as only he can
The almond trees are in bloom – their blossom like clouds of pink on every hillside. The shkediot are our herald of spring. This cute little video gives you a glimpse but until you drive in the Jerusalem Hills and see the puffballs of pink over the entire hillside –
The arid South is Red!!! The Desert is blooming with poppies, indeed everywhere there are red poppies, pink wild cyclamen or as we call them Calaniot, Pragim and Rakafot! Calaniot, hmm  Isn’t there a song about Calaniot which has come to be about Israel in the spring, about Tu b’Shvat – the new year for trees
Shabbat is almost here. The car park in the shopping mall is emptying, the trains gave their last toot, the cars all seem to be heading in one direction and the world is quieter as we move toward that wonderful day called Shabbat. Whether you are shomer Shabbat, keeping all the important rules and traditions or simply love the family aspect, it is a special day. Shabbat gives on time to reflect, to rest, to spend special time with ones children and grandchildren; Shabbat is just that Shabbat, a day of rest. Life slows down just enough for us to remember that it is good!
So now to put the chicken patties into the rich red tomato sauce made from wonderful Israeli tomatoes….. all funny shapes and sizes because nobody expects nature to give even, boring shapes and fabulous rich taste at the same time!!!
Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, centre of our dreams for 2,000 years – and I get to live here!!!!
To end, two songs I heard today and LOVED. Shabbat Shalom to everyone  from the Maccabeats – and Lecha Dodi
With love

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

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