The first of July 2016
Shabbat Shalom dear friends.
Today is the last day of school in Israel as children break up for the long summer holidays. It should have been Hallel Yaffa Ariels last day of school but instead, yesterday was the last day of her life. A beautiful 13 year old child, the joy of her parents, was snuffed out by hatred as she slept in her bed. It was a hot night and her parents, for the first time they can remember, left her bedroom window open. Her killer, whose name I do not wish to write, used that cruel opportunity to climb into her bedroom and stab her sleeping body to death. Apparently he managed to sneak into Kiriat Arba through a break in the security fence and walked around looking for someone to kill, the inculcated hatred burning through his sense of humanity. He really didn’t care who he killed, as long as it was a Jew.
The mother of the Palestinian terrorist a Hebron news channel that her son was “a hero” who made her “proud.”. “My son died as a martyr defending Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” “Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, he [my son] has joined the martyrs before him, and he is not better than them. Allah willing, all of them will follow this path, all the youth of Palestine. Allah be praised.”
May Hallel’s sweet soul rest in peace. Hallel, whose name means praise, may your family be comforted among the mourners of Zion.
Those who caused horrific death and injuries in Turkeys Ataturk Airport two days ago grew up with similar Mothers – the same hatred coursing through their veins. I strongly believe that the battle must be fought from within, through the millions of good ordinary Moslems whose religion has been hijacked by evil. Only when they stand up, as terrifying as it is, and denounce those who incite, will respect and honour return to their religion. Ataturk did it after the Armenian genocide, the world needs an Ataturk now to stand beside the new Churchill.
The Israeli government has reached an agreement with the Turkish government, hopefully improving relations between the two countries. It comes at a cost, a great cost. The only way Turkey would agree was if Israel paid compensation to the families of the Turks killed on the Mavi Marmara. If anyone remembers the videos of the violence perpetrated on Israeli soldiers by the “protesters” on the boat, it tends to stick in ones throat. I believe the agreement was the price Israel paid the USA for the arms promised by the Clinton and Bush administrations all those years ago.
Britains Labour Party has rarely been Israel friendly. I don’t know why, it isn’t anti-Semitic after all one of their stars is the disgusting long time MP Gerald Kaufman, who makes Haneen Zoabi appear pro-Israel. It has all come to a head recently with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the head of the Labour Party. Perhaps that says it all.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/30/after-comparing-israel-to-isil-weve-got-to-stop-pretending-that/
OK, Let’s talk about Brexit! We can start with the fact that the FTSE 100 is up since Brexit votehttps://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/29/ftse-100-now-higher-than-before-brexit-vote-eu-referendum or we can listen to the hysterical responses to the choice of the people. On the one hand I understand the financial risks involved in leaving the EU, but on the other hand Britain is not exactly leaving the EU, Britain will be a member without the vast number of strings attached, like Switzerland if the negotiations go well. Perhaps the reason Brits wanted to leave the EU were not all ideal, the issue of immigration was at the forefront, but it was also a question of identity, of independence and………. Margaret Thatcher said it all in her No No No speech.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVt_1ByddUQ
My wanderings in the world have taught me that all of you love it when I wax lyrical about Mahane Yehuda, or Machneyuda as it is locally known. I love the atmosphere, the very Israeli produce, bustle, noise, joy, and of course the rainbow of citizens and attire to say nothing of the flavours, all joining to exemplify Jerusalem. This week was a double treat, I not only went to Machneyuda but I went with my beautiful daughter Rachel who loves the place as I do. We visited the Tzidkiyahu family – enjoying their pickles, delicatessen and cheeses and chose the ripest and juiciest of fruits and vegetableshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFTujm8zmf8
I went with Rachel to fill out the police report for the schoolbus accident of her girls about 6 weeks ago. Even a visit to the traffic police is an ethnic adventure in Jerusalem. I loved the interaction as everyone helped everyone fill out the forms. After completing our form in Hebrew I asked someone to check my spelling, and was thrilled to discover only one error!!!
Last weekend we met up with my nephew and niece, Steven and Claire Bloom, who came from Cardiff, South Wales, for my beloved late cousin Roger’s son’s wedding. David Harris came on Aliya about 10 years ago and found his love and life here. He fulfilled his father’s dream of living in Israel and I wish him and his bride a wonderful life together. I wish I could have been at the wedding but, that’s life eh!
On Sunday I went with the amazing Dr Cyril Sherer to hearAmbassador Dennis Ross speak at the Jerusalem Press Club. He spoke of the “situation” in the Middle East; of President Obamas determination to wipe out ISIS, ISIL et al; of Ross’s belief that Israel must preempt in the PA/Israel dialogue – a fine statement but hardly viable when we preempt all the time but any slight slip on our part is blown out of proportion and even the tiniest hint of discussion on theirs is lauded as a breakthrough! He was not best pleased when I asked him why we are castigated for any buildings around Jerusalem yet Ramallah now touches on Jerusalem, building at a rate of knots. His response was a somewhat prickly statement about Areas C and A. Unconvincing. He promoted his new book which I am told is very interestinghttps://www.amazon.com/Doomed-Succeed-U-S-Israel-Relationship-Truman/dp/0374141460
On Monday night we had a special treat when Canon Andrew Whitecame to stay. Those of you in the USA who need a phenomenal motivational speaker who can tell of his travels and travails through his Ministry and his determination for Tikkun Olam contact him firstname.lastname@example.org You will never be disappointed.
Tuesday and I met with Varda, the new Director of the Yuri Shtern Holistic Centre. I am so proud to be on the Board and recognise the unique work of the organization, and I mean UNIQUE. Varda has new plans for putting this wonderful organisation which not only tends to patients of the oncology department of Shaare Zedek Hospital gratis, but also their families who feel their loved ones cancer and go through their treatments with them every day. We have plans to host parlour meetings all over the world to waken people up to the exceptional workhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbk511x4oYI
Wednesday – ah Wednesday. We had a special treat as Jessica Glesby and Ian Wojtowicz (Ian I hope I got that right) came to lunch with their incredible little boy Noah. Harley and Karen are rightfully proud of their daughter, son-in-law and baby Noah. We had so much fun!!! In the evening Zvi and I went to the theatre. In Jerusalem even the theatre is exceptional. Held in a former Khan or Inn from Crusader times, this repertory theatre puts on wonderful original productions and we enjoyed the acting. However, what fascinated me most was that in the American Independence Park nearby, known as the Bell Park, hundreds and hundreds of Jerusalem Moslems brought out their barbecues and had a ball celebrating the end of the daily fast of Ramadan. As we went back to our car we wished everyone a “Chag Sameach” to their delight – and ours.
So now it is almost Shabbat. I went to get the children from school, each from their own building – it’s the girls last day so I decided to treat them to “something tasty” and a toy on the way home. Of course Yosef got something too as compensation for the fact he doesn’t break up for another month!! The shopping mall was heaving…… not only Erev Shabbat but end of school too! Each child chose a toy and then we went for ice cream at “Zislek” – Yiddisch for sweet taste or sweet lick. I consider my grandchildren, each and every one of them, an incredible privilege. My Mother never saw my children and every time I am with them I make up for it! It includes Zvi’s grandchildren too – I want them to feel utterly loved, that we are their soft place to fall. Thank G-d Yosef, Talia and Ayala adore their Saba Zvi – they consider us the “fun Sabim” – a title anyone with a brain would be thrilled to hold. Grandchildren. Basar Basari – flesh of my flesh.
My journey home was as fabulous as always. That panorama from Samuels Tomb causes me to catch my breath anew each time. I never tire of it! Today, Erev Shabbat I often try to think what each of the houses is doing……… who is coming to supper and what traditions will they follow. I know who is coming to us!
David Efron, with Libi and Eitan; Amiad and Noga with Ella and Yonatan to celebrate Amiad and Nogas Anniversary. Zvi will make Kiddush, his incredible bass-baritone embellishing the already beautiful prayer over the wine and the two little ones will make the blessing over the challot – Rachel’s challot. The table is laid and most of the food ready. I’m not doing soup tonight – it is just too hot – but David will get his gefilte fish, and the rest of us will have a wide range of salads to start- mushrooms, aubergines, cabbage, tomato, home pickled cucumbers and even a traditional salad made with lettuce!!! We go on to roasted chicken in a teriyaki and black cherry marinade and pargiot (young chickens) in a mushroom and coconut milk sauce – with all sorts of veggies. For dessert I just bought some mango and pineapple sorbet………….. scrummy.
That’s it folks! Zvi is at his parliament – showing them all the amazing things we did on Barry’s 70th Birthday “Last Stand” and that leaves me only music. What to give you this week? Let me think.
This is really cool, sent to me by Joyce Claar. Jerusalem Charlestonhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/iJ02vc_LQFc?rel=0
In direct contrast to the last music I give you Cantor Richard Tucker singing the Friday night Kiddush. It brings a tear to my eyes, such a glorious prayer of thanks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc31IYVu_nE
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Be well, be strong. With all our love from Jerusalem and our veranda.