The view from my veranda

170414 Motherofallbombs, Syria, Passover


14th April 2017

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

Last evening in Jerusalem we were visiting friends when Rachel called me to switch on the television. “The Americans have bombed ISIS in Afghanistan”

The description of “The Mother of all Bombs” immediately suggests that the United States was attacking in a vacuum, exhibiting her might rather than responding to many years of ultimate tyranny, terror and oppression which was escalating with greater and greater confidence worldwide. A response was essential. The time has passed for negotiation, our lives depend upon it.

We always wonder “What if Hitler had died in the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich in 1923, had never been arrested, written Mein Kampf in Landsburg Prison and the Holocaust had not happened” Well he wasn’t and it did. The fundamentalist groups use the same methods. Jail is a recruiting ground and university of terror, it doesn’t work. War is not pretty, war is cruel and deadly but had we not bombed Essen the first language of Europe would be German and the remaining Jews, homosexuals, Catholics and disabled would have disappeared. I know you feel I am exaggerating and the comparison may be inappropriate but I repeat, war is not pretty so don’t expect ISIS, Al Qaeeda, Daish by any other name, to disappear without bloodshed. The terror attacks may increase as a result of the Afghanistan bombing, but it will be from a position of fearful defence rather than from a position of power.

We tried jaw, jaw, jaw and sadly it didn’t work.

The question is whether this was a simple strike against ISIS or whether it constituted an implied warning to both North Korea and Iran. Speak softly and carry a big stick?

The Individual Intifada is not limited to Israel, has spread like a horrific wildfire through Europe and the UK, Venezuela is fast become an Islamic State and a direct threat to the USA. We have to root out the cause although too many years of diplomacy have created a groundswell of fanatical youth, ready to die for a cause that the West does not understand. It puts the Crusades into the shade. The great sadness is that the vast majority of Moslems simply want to get on with life, just as you and me, and their lives are embittered no less than ours by the omnipresent threat.

That was lengthier than I intended. I believe in tolerance and love, a child of the ’60’s, but anyone who thinks this will go away without the Supreme Commander ordering “The Mother of All Bombs” is dreaming. The bud wasn’t nipped so the root must be removed, drawn from the earth.

Sadly the heinous crime perpetrated by Bassar Al Assad on his own people was overshadowed by the words of Sean Spicer. He obviously referred to the use of chemical weapons as a dreadful thing but his statement that “even Hitler didn’t use” was inappropriate at best and cruel at worst. It is also of interest that nobody has alluded to the American use of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Fake news is the topic of Rabbi Jeremy Rosens article this week. His example is from the NY Times which claims that Israel’s “Wall” doesn’t work. Of course it was a dig at President Trump’s intention to build a wall between the USA and Mexico. Firstly the comparison is ludicrous, secondly the American wall is mostly built already, much during the last administration, and of course the Israeli defensive fence works! Simple things like car theft are down by 85%, terror attacks by 95% (the individual attacks are from Israeli Arabs from Tsur Bacher and such areas) and it is a fence on some 90% of the length and a wall only in situations where sniper fire was killing Israelis! In one short article the NYT succeeded in twisting a non-news into a criticism of the President. I happen to disagree with the necessity of the wall with Mexico unless it goes together with an amnesty for those “illegals” already in the USA and do not present any security threat whatsoever.

I have been accused of being a Trumpite. Believe you me I am not, I do not have the right to be for or against any American leader; I refuse to criticise every move because he is not sophisticated or diplomatic. Perhaps it is time for crude and rude- the message is clearer.

Lucy Aharish is a top journalist in the Israel national TV channel. Lucy is an Arab Israeli – sorry Lucy is an Israeli Arab and a proud Moslem. Here Lucy speaks out clearly and bravely. Kol ha Kavod Lucy.

Pesach is almost over! All that work and it is nearly time to return the dishes to their boxes and schlepp them to their resting place 3 floors down on the allotted shelves in the storage. However I found this wonderful article about a Jerusalem bus driver, an Arab, who decided to give his Haredi passengers a lovely Passover surprise last week. I love it – you won’t believe what he did!,7340,L-4948382,00.html

Huge cauldrons (minus witches) are the incredible pre-Passover sight in the religious neighbourhoods. They stand on each corner ready to receive the dishes of the local households for dipping to purify them so they can be used at Passover. A variety of items are left beside rubbish bins in a manner that makes the NYC street pickings fade into oblivion. Houses were cleaned, unused items placed outside, kitchens “wrapped” in specially strong silver foil (don’t know where that came from) and cooking began.

I don’t line my kitchen with foil, I simply scrub the very existence out of every surface and splashback!!!!

I had a very special treat this week. We went to a lovely get-together of my family in celebration of my cousin Judith’s 70th birthday. We met at Debbie and Zev’s in Ganei Tikvah and the excitement at seeing each other was tangible. Of course the best part is that my cousin Irene (Debbie, Judith and Joanna’s Mum) was in Israel for Pesach and at 90+ is still as quick witted and bright as she ever was. Actually I discovered something new about her – she has a wonderful singing voice untainted by age. Zvi sang his heart out, happy to be seated next to Debbie whose voice delighted him. Sunita , an accomplished harpist entertained us with a marvellous selection of music, from classic to bolero, from gentle to robust, from Bach to Welsh (there’s lovely Dai bach) music.  We sang, because that’s what we love to do, we grinned at each other in delight at being together and caught up on our news. Of the cousins present 3 made Aliya and one (Ian and his lovely wife Susan) have an apartment here. My Daddy and his big brother and best friend Uncle Ben, would be proud. It was a change for Zvi since we spend a lot of time with his family but we both decided that it was so lovely we must do it more often!!!

The veranda complied with all my dreams this week. The tiny orange tree was in full blossom, laden with tiny fragrant blooms, their scent wafting into the apartment; the freesias shone bright orange their heady scent joining that of the orange blossom. I sat on the veranda each morning, sipping my morning coffee and taking in the amazing scene before me. Gosh we are lucky! It is especially spectacular over Shabbat and festivals because the scene is peaceful, the weekday chaotic traffic and hustle and bustle quietens and the beauty becomes more apparent.

Amiad and Noga stayed over after Seder Night. It seemed a shame to return home when they were coming back for lunch with all the family. The little ones (Ella 4 and Yonatan 2) were very excited and after the long service of the Seder fell into bed and straight to sleep. The next morning I sat out on the veranda with my morning coffee when a little girl cameinto sight, a big grin on her face. After the essential good morning hug she looked up at me, shaking with excitement and asked “Safta, can we play together”? I melted! Her little brother soon followed with the biggest grin imaginable. Yonatans vocabulary is phenomenal – I wish half the adults knew to speak as he does!

This has been a fantastic week for Israeli children. So many activities we are spoiled for choice. Many Israelis go camping, simple at Pesach. The weather hasn’t really complied with their needs, torrential rains in the south and rain in the north, but mostly fun was had by all.

We have entertained and been entertained, enjoyed friends  (thank you Hel-Ors and Alberanes) and family and in a few minutes, when I finish talking to you, I will set off for Givat Zeev and Rachel’s home. Obviously no Challot this week! I will smile at Rachel’s kitchen which looks like it should be in NASA rather than Givat Zeev!!!  I will pass Nebe Samuel (Samuel’s Tomb); smile at the harbinger of spring at the side of the road, a camel which comes out to graze in the finer weather; pass the busy shopping centre and perhaps pop in to get a nice plant for friends; turn in to Givat Zeev and pull up at Rachel’s gate. I can already see them racing down the steps to greet me………. Sheer joy.

OK that was a little too maudlin for human consumption, but I missed them this week!

Modeh Ani – I Give Thanks – the morning prayer to thank the Almighty for returning our souls after sleep. So beautiful. We must always be grateful for what we have rather than moaning about what we haven’t.

At a time when our biggest battle is against intolerance and hatred Lu Yehi by Nomi Shemer is perhaps the timely song –   as is Bob Dylan’s Blowin in the Wind, the ultimate cry for tolerance

Shabbat Shalom, Moadim le Simcha, Chag Sameach and a Holy Easter to my Christian friends

With love from Jerusalem