16th March, 2017
Shabbat Shalom dear friends.
Last week I let you off lightly because of Purim but this week I am raising a few highly contentious subjects because my conscience demands I do so.
The basic principle of Judaism, indeed the ethos of Judaism, is to question, no stone of contention is left unturned if I may misquote. We are taught to honour our fellow man and respect his/her views. This Purim that view was shattered. In Mea Shearim, the ancient stronghold of ultra-Orthodox Jews, every conceivable line was crossed, morally, legally, Jewishly, when effigies of IDF soldiers were hung from balconies. As if that was not bad enough there were riots after an 18 year old Yeshiva Bocher was arrested for not going to the enrollment center to get his release from national service. He was arrested because he refused to enter the doors of the enrollment centre to receive his release. There is nothing in our belief system that precludes defending your country! Some of our finest soldiers were religious. It is time to do something about it –to allow a few brilliant Yeshiva students to continue studying but the others must work and serve, and demand this treacherous behavior stop. Rights are earned; rights are the reward of fulfilled obligations.
Rabbi Igal Levinstein announced that women should not serve in the IDF because they go in pure and religious and come out secular and sinful! I cannot even bring myself to comment so I leave it to Minister Avigdor Liberman who calls for Levinsteins resignation.http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4932388,00.html
How many of us remember the anguished cries of Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish whose daughters were killed by a stray Israeli tank shell in the 2008-9 Gaza conflagration. Dr Abuelaish returned to his work in an Israeli hospital, ultimately moved to Canada. He has never spoken against Israel, never spoken of revenge, always promoting peace. To my horror, he is still fighting for compensation. It should have been done to give his family given a chance to build a new life.http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Gaza-born-Doctor-to-sue-Israel-over-daughters-death-in-09-war-483984
Impertinent, audacious or brazen? Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, who has gagged the press and called for public support to become a dictator, called Holland a “Banana Republic” after Turkish Ministers were banned from speaking to Ex-Pat Turks. In HollandPrime Minister Mark Rutte won the elections despite belief that Gerd Wilders was the top candidate. Still right wing Rutte is not extreme. Of course CNN compared Wilders and Trump which shows their lack of understanding on how right wing the European candidates are. Hopefully the same will happen in France. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/15/europe/netherlands-dutch-elections/
The Muezzin Law is a misnomer, even its title on the bill before the Knesset is the “Noise Law“. In Israel house parties or outdoor concerts must end by 11 pm; excessive noise is disallowed by law including noisy vehicles and leaf blowers; Church bells, Synagogue noise and Mosques. Since Church bells are rarely rung before dawn and most Jews pray Shacharit quietly it was deemed an anti-Moslem law (by troublemakers). Nobody complains about the Muezzins call to prayer at 04:30 as long as it isn’t loud, but even in towns the volume is increased until it becomes impossible to sleep, so the law has to be imposed. Not anti-Moslem at all, anti-noise.
Our hopes rose to great heights as Israel’s team beat all comers including Cuba, in the World Baseball Classic this week; but then were dashed as we were beaten roundly by the Netherlands and Japan. In fact, only 3 players were Israeli citizens, the remainder were Americans and Canadians who were allowed to play for Israel by Jewish default!!!! http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-falls-to-japan-ending-miracle-run-at-baseball-tournament/
Zvi decided to install Mobileye in our car after a friend drove into a truck a night and was killed. Apparently he simply didn’t see the truck until it was too late. Mobileye is our eyes both day and night and senses if we stray from our lane without indicating; it beeps if we get too close to the car in front thus ensuring we are alert at all times. It is a brilliant innovation and this week Intel bought Mobileye for over $15 million. The best part is that the company will stay in Jerusalem, not move to the States as so many companies have done. Incidentally all new cars sold in Israel from this year have to install Mobileye by law.http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Tech/Report-Intel-buying-Mobileye-for-15-billion-in-biggest-Israeli-hi-tech-deal-ever-484044
Antonio Guterres was the Prime Minister of Portugal, a country that took responsibility for its anti-Semitism. He is now the Secretary General of the United nations and his words are a breath of fresh air as he speaks on Holocaust Memorial Day to an invited audience of Holocaust Survivors. If he is able to win this fight then the United Nations may even become a logical resource of peace.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PazXjDiNBhc&feature=youtu.be
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has demanded that the publication that states that Israel has imposed an apartheid state on the Palestinians be repealed. Sec. General Guterres has distanced himself from said report. Could the tide be turning? To express support for Nikki Haley please sign http://standwithus.co.il/ambnikkihaley/
I was uncertain as to whether or not to put this into my letter. Then I decided that since we in Israel are good at washing all our dirty laundry in public, maybe I should not be shy of exposing others. This report details an investigation of the activities of George Soros in Congress and the implications therein that reach up to the White House.http://yournewswire.com/congress-george-soros-investigation/
So Purim has been and gone. Friday night with Zvi’s boys became an opportunity for princesses and firemen to appear at the Shabbat table! It was fun especially when Saba Zvi arrived as a Mariachi and I appeared as Charlie Chaplin. Only problem was that the little ones had no idea who Charlie Chaplin was!! Later we met up at a friend’s house and just “mootled” – which is almost untranslatable but basically means to chatter, natter or just to talk and enjoy each other!
On Shabbat we met with Mark Minevitch who gave us a fascinating overview of Washington and of world finances – apart from being really honoured to spend time with this man who is in a different country every day!! On Sunday evening (Shushan Purim) we had the choir over for a Purim Party at home. About 35 of us, each person brought a food contribution to the table. We had musicians and a gorgeous singsong and of course a Purim Quiz. Charlie and Mariachi reappeared to greet our guests and everyone wore come kind of fancy dress – if not they were met at the door with a wig, tiara, false nose or beard!!!
I made a serious omission last week and it rightly distressed Leo-Dan Bensky, the wonderful President of World Maccabi Union. Zvi and I went to the opening of the WMU meetings and the run up to the 2017 Maccabiah – the 20th. The evening was filled with music, dance and declarations of love for Israel and excitement of the imminent games.80 Countries One Heart. Leo-Dan, I hope this goes a little way to making it up to you and all the wonderful people of the Maccabi Familyhttp://www.maccabiah.com/2017/eng/
The veranda looks stunning!!! The tulips are suddenly peeking out of their protective leaves, the daffodils and narcissi emitting their glorious scent; the grape hyacinths and rununculus, cyclamen, geranium and nasturtium, gosh I love spring!!!! The sky is still threatening rain, but the long periods before it falls are so beautiful, crisp air and blue skies with clouds quickly scudding across propelled by the breeze. The sharp spring sunshine makes the white Jerusalem stones glisten on the houses and the blossom trees which line our streets bloom in glorious contrast.
Tomorrow morning at 06:00 we will set out for Mevasseret Zion with our grand-daughter Amit, to meet up with the choir members and our bus to the North. Our journey will contain many stops for our guide and choir member Eva Yaron, to explain our surroundings. We will spend Shabbat in Akko, Acre, the ancient Crusader fortresses and the Templar halls below the city. http://www.akko.org.il/en/ Our friend Dr Motti Friedman and his family will be with us to explain the Jewish and historic importance of that city. Our beautiful hostel is right in the centre of town so we can get everywhere on foot. Our Shabbat dinner will be in the hostel and either Motti or Zvi will probably do Kiddush. That’s the great fun in travelling in Israel – Shabbat is Shabbat wherever you go!!! Akko is a city you should not miss.
The great Israeli poet and songwriter Naomi Shemer loved the Beatles song “Let it Be” and felt the prayer in the words were deeply appropriate to Israel and her soldiers. She wrote “Lu Yehi” –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfMoeK6UVB0
So you thought our soldiers just fight? Well they only fight when all other options have been exhausted. They also sing and sing beautifully. Here is my favourite version of Leonard Cohens Halleluya.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atVQfeLPUSk
Finally, the Chief Chazan (Cantor) of the Israeli Defence Forces, Shai Abrahamson, sings the prayer for the peace of the State of Israel. Let’s all join him in this prayer. Amen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q5–mNIZhU
The cleaning has started, call it spring cleaning or call it Pesach cleaning, it must be done! The smell of cleaning fluids and bleach are predominant but I have a short break this weekend – work to be resumed on Sunday!!!
Happy anniversary to Igal and Rachel and happy birthday to my husband – Ad 120
With love from Jerusalem where dreams become reality and tolerance (Sovlanut) and patience (Savlanut) are synonymous. We have to be patient and tolerance will come but only if we seek it out and ensure it.
Shabbat Shalom dear friend, Shabbat Shalom.