The view from my veranda

160520 Bibi, Bougie, Bogie, Ivet and Sisi


20th May 2016

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful wishes and concern for Talia and Ayala. They are doing remarkably well as their bruises begin to fade and their sleep is less disturbed. Indeed their school is gathering all 1,000 girls for a huge party of thanks today and Talia is speaking before the entire school!!

For anyone finding it difficult to follow the Israeli political scene and what just happened in our Ministry of Security, Zvi wrote a simplification for you

Bogie got upset with Bibi. Bibi wanted to get rid of Bogie, but then heard Sisi. Bibi turned to Bougie. Bougie was with Bibi, but while Bibi had talks with Bougie he also flirted with Ivet. So, Bougie left Bibi and went to argue with Sheli. Meantime, Ivet became Sisi so Bibi gave him the ministry of Bogie.

In short, Bibi stayed as Bibi, Bougie got Sheli, Bogie is out and we got Ivet Liberman! However – it isn’t over so watch this space……………………….

Seriously though, I am sad that the Labour Party (aka Zionist Union) didn’t jump at the offer to join the government thus giving it a much wider political range, indeed had Yair Lapid also joined it would have given us a more representative government. I know the press loves to hate Ivet Liberman but his bullish appearance belies a wily and able politician. Bougie (Isaac) Herzog is much stronger than his puppy-like appearance but is pulled down by his party and Bogie Yaalon, who was a Chief of Staff of the IDF, decided to go public with his disagreements rather than approaching the PM.

The disagreement over the punishment of the soldier in Hebronwho shot and killed a terrorist who was already on the ground is clear. The soldier claimed, after the fact, that he thought the terrorist was dangerous, but we don’t kill for no reason, yes a terrorist but we don’t kill unless in a situation of mortal danger. That is the difference between the IDF and all other military bodies in the world. Can you imagine an American (or indeed any) soldier on guard getting placed on trial for murder for killing a terrorist? The young soldier is a proclaimed member of Kach (right wing Kahane party).

Yet another Egyptian aeroplane seems to have gone down for no apparent reason and President Sisi suspects terror. Why? Because he is fighting terror, together with us, and their answer is to kill innocents.

Terror is not only what you see reported on CNN, ABC, BBC, Sky or any of the other stations. Every day, every minute thousands are victims to the horrific terror of Islamic fundamentalism. If it isn’t close to home we tend to wash over it. Nigeria is sinking and her Christians dying; Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Mali, Sierra Leone, I could go on and on but the sad fact is that Africa doesn’t get the coverage and the carnage is diabolical. Boco Haram doesn’t disappear after kidnapping 300 Christian girls from school and subjecting them to rape, beating and murder; our lack of concern encourages them to continue undisturbed.

Not everything is dark and ominous though, there are beams of light at the end of the tunnel that are not trains. My lovely friend Canon Andrew White has a new and truly magnificent project. In the Jordan Valley lie some ancient churches but most are inaccessible because both Israel and Jordan laid land mines along that length of the River Jordan during the Six Day War. One very important Christian site was cleared by Israel about 5 years ago “Qasr El-Yahud” or Crossing of the Jews, the site where Joshua led the Israelites and the Ark of the Covenant over the river to safety. More than 300,000 pilgrims come to the site where Jesus was baptized and enter the waters in white robes, blessed by priests on the Israeli and Jordanian sides of the River Jordan, just metres apart. It is wonderful.

Anyway back to Andrew White. Andrew and the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, together with the Halo Trust are clearing the minefields to allow access to the churches. Israeli authorities have been wary to clear up until now for fear of damaging the ancient structures but through negotiation and careful planning it is going ahead.

This is an excellent report except being the BBC they had to accuse Israel for the mines and emphasise the Occupied bit.

Khaled Abu Toameh is the journalist who dares. Here Khaled describes the awful methods of torture in the PA and Hamas

My love and admiration for Rabbi Jeremy Rosen is well known. This week he wrote about something that touches us all, helping someone in trouble – especially after the incredible generosity and help afforded to the girls after the bus crash. He writes

“In 1964 Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death late one night in Queens, New York by Winton Mosely who said that he simply wanted to kill a woman. He was sentenced to life, and a few weeks ago he died in prison. The case generated immense publicity because it seemed that a lot of people heard her scream and no one came to her rescue even after she was left bleeding to death.

Israel has a law requiring citizens to go the help of another. Its legal system is a compound of Ottoman law and British law, and they do not require going to someone’s aid. But the third element, Jewish law, most certainly does. The Torah explicitly says, and we read it last week in Leviticus 19, “Do not stand by (while) the blood of your neighbor (is being spilt).” For us it is a moral, religious obligation to protect someone under threat of danger. Not only, but Jewish Law as reflected in the Shulchan Aruch insists that one should even be prepared to risk danger to do so. “

Since the trauma of the accident two days of visitors have cheered us up!  Claudio Grubner surprised us and it was such a delight to spend time with him. He had amazing, highly relevant questions about politics and diplomacy in Israel and of course Zvi was delighted to explain – in detail. Our second visitors were Roy Solomon and his lovely Binnie. They called us from a walking tour of the Old City “We have to see the Veranda”!!! Zvi went to get them and brought them home. Oh the joy of watching their delight to find every tree I had described and the view, oh the view. The weather chose to be perfect so we sat outside sipping a tisane of herbs from our veranda, talking and relaxing. They couldn’t decide where to go after our visit, but I knew! Mahane Yehuda market…… on a Thursday evening it is full of Shabbat shoppers and fresh produce, of course they were thrilled with the idea and I await their report!

We are going away for a while so I may not be in a position to give you the usual reports. We are heading toward Denver, Colorado and Monika Minkoff; Helena, Montana to Barry Slawsky’s 70th Birthday Bash then to New York to see my son Daniel’s beloved family, Karen and the two children Joshua and Callie. Gosh I miss them! We will see lots of friends too and we are going north to Bedford, to Shaarey Tefila Temple to speak to Rabbi David Greenbergs community on June 8th. They haven’t met Zvi so are in for a treat!

Music music music. This week I have a problem. Binnies favourite song is Al Kol Eleh, but I don’t want to repeat my favourite songs too often. Will you bear with me? She is such a lovely lady and this version has transliteration!

Yaacov Shwekey is a musical phenomenon, his songs uplifting. We Are a Miracle is the ultimate , I can be stronger, I can be greater – Everything I need in inside of me.

Be well, be strong and believe in yourselves. Remember the power of one.

With much love from Jerusalem