The view from my veranda

160311 Biden, Primaries, 3 attacks one day, Cramim

11th March, 2016

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

I am happy to report that I am almost over my surgery which was for a hernia repair repair. No that isn’t a typo, I meant a repair of a repair!! Why don’t the surgeons tell you that about 50% of laparoscopic hernia repairs need redoing? Anyway, things are much better this week and I have no problem sitting to talk to you! In fact I want to tell you aboutShaare Zedek Hospital. It is not only an exceptional hospital whereby the staff from top to bottom are like one big family, but the full range, gamut indeed rainbow of Israeli society work there and are treated there. It is a place of medical and social excellence.

On Tuesday, Vice President Biden arrived. He went straight from the airport to meet with his old friend Shimon Peres at the Peres Centre for Peace, so that once in Jerusalem he would stay there. Sadly he was welcomed by another spurt of foul terror attacks; one in Jerusalem, two border policemen severely injured; one in Petah Tikva, a Haredi man was attacked but fought back; finally one in Jaffa. Jaffa? Jaffa where Jews, Christians and Moslems live together in harmony? Sadly one person was killed, believed to be an American tourist, 8 others injured including a pregnant woman. The terrorist, from Kalkiliya, ran along the Tel Aviv promenade, stabbing at the open windows of the inevitable traffic jams. Those at the site of the attacks hit the terrorist with iron bars and a busker hit him with his guitar – indeed anything they could lay their hands on, but his insane stabbing spree didn’t stop until he was taken down by the police.

VP Biden didn’t hold back. Here he doesn’t need to be PC and decried the terrorist acts and declared, or reiterated, his absolute loyalty to Israel.

That brings me very neatly to the American elections. May I insult every party equally? I don’t understand primaries and even less the politics of insult. We suffer it here but I thought the USA candidates would be cleverer. Voters don’t want to hear about the faults of other candidates – they want to hear what plans each and every one has to put forward; a true manifesto on which to base ones choice. Thus far the insults have been flying, the leading candidates …………… gosh I don’t want to insult my lovely American readers but I feel that they insult your intelligence with every word that leaves their mouths – even my favourite Marco Rubio! John Oliver is irreverent as only the Brits can be – and please excuse me if it offends you but –

Mr Netanyahu stood up in front of the Knesset and expressed gratitude to those Arab states that have outlawed Hezbollah/Hamas. He continued by expressing horror and disdain on those Arab Members of Knesset who – wait for it – were against the Arab States decision. “Just wait until rockets fall on your house or your village. They don’t differentiate between blood and blood. Will you still support them?”

The Iranians are really generous. They decided to dedicate one of their trial missiles with my name and the names of my children and grandchildren! What a magnanimous gesture to take the time to write the words on the side of the missile!

Who are the indigenous people of the land of Israel? Would you like to hear about it from a man who really understands the meaning?Ryan Bellarose is a Native Canadian, an indigenous rights activist who supports Israel because he is a moral and ethical human being.

To back up, yet again, the words of the Bible, Our history, in the steps of the Bible, uncovered. Walk slowly in the steps of our ancestors newly uncovered. From the Shiloach Pool to the Temple Mount

I wanted to tell you all about International Women’s Day in Israel but we don’t have Mother’s Day, we have Family Day. Israeli women are so independent we don’t need a special day! This is even more apparent in the IDF

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen’s letter this week is entitled “We Will Survive”. In his letter he talks about the rifts and disagreements within our own

Last Shabbat Zvi and I went to the new Gazelle Valley Park. It is so beautiful, tens of acres of wild land, ponds and lakes, all reachable through a series of paths and signs. Of course the signs are in 3 languages, Hebrew, English and Arabic, as were the visitors enjoying this new green lung. As yet there are only 12 gazelles (4 pregnant) but hopefully there will be more and soon there will be ducks and geese on the large pond. It was delightful and the gentle paths were perfect for my first outing!

Friends came and went, not giving me the chance to be bored. Dana arrived with hot, fresh bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon which was a special treat! I missed one of Zvi’s concerts with HaKol Yachassi, but I must give him a big compliment and thanks. While not a natural Florence Nightingale he really did his best!

Wednesday and Thursday we took a short drive past Abu Ghosh and up to Kiriat Anavim, to the luxurious and beautiful new hotel spa –Cramim . Our treat was a gift for Zvis birthday from all his friends in the choir, actually for hs last birthday and we thought this was a perfect time to relax. I wasn’t allowed to do any treatments but it was Zvi’s gift after all and he had a ball. Best of all, even above the gorgeous surroundings, exquisite decor and wonderful rooms, was the food. Absolutely scrummy, proving that one can provide food for large numbers and still ensure its high quality and sophisticated delicacies.  Zvi’s younger son Leors schoolfriend, Tomer Kasir, was incredible. He takes responsibility for the food and wine of the dining area very seriously, smilingly ensuring the staff beneath him do their jobs efficiently and politely.

Dustin Hoffman, who never denied his heritage, looked into his ancestry and recent past in a TV programme, and was overcome to discover his Holocaust connection. His emotional utterance  “I’m a Jew, I’m a Jew” was very moving

I will know Safta is OK when she comes to collect me from school” So said Yosef, who always worries about me. So today, of course I went to collect him from school!! In fact I collected him, then Talia and Ayala and took them home. I was thrilled to see how happy they were! As we neared Rachel’s home the aroma of freshly baked challot caused all of us to quicken our steps – she is a champion!!! Today she made some special little tiny challot for Zvi’s grandchildren, with whom we will spend our Shabbat Dinner. I can just imagine their excitement at opening the little packages I will prepare for them!

I felt so free to be driving again!!! On my way back home I popped into see the fishmonger, Abu Yosef, who was so distressed by the attack right outside the shop three weeks ago. Abu Yosef always thought that no-one from his village could ever do such a thing, and was absolutely devastated. Sadly he, and other friends, couldn’t get in to work because their village was closed off by the police until they were sure it was not due to incitement. Every time, but every time, it is not only the Israelis who suffer but the normal ordinary folk who just want to get on with life. Indeed in this weeks three attacks, two Arabs and one Christian were victims.

I opened my windows to let in the wonderful spring air, drove with the wind in my hair and drank in the panorama from Samuels Tomb afresh. Gosh I love that view.

Now the shops are closing, the trains giving a last tired toot before retiring to the sheds, families sit on their verandas, enjoying time together before Shabbat, indeed the entire country is slowing down, changing mood, irrelevant if one is religious or secular – the country changes.

What music do you want this week? Traditional? Modern? Israeli? Liturgical? Let me see what I can find.

I never tire of Dire Straits rendition of Brother in Arms, written by lead singer Mark Knopfler in honour of the IDF. Dire Straits just announced they are coming to Israel again in the Autumn so hope you don’t mind my playing it again.

Finally, a reminder of Shabbat, Shabbos, Shabbes, Sabbath and what it really means. It is in English so you won’t have to work so hard!!!

With much love from Jerusalem, from our veranda and its display of brightly coloured petunias. Even the birds are chirruping their delight that Shabbat is almost here.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends

Shabbat Shalom