The view from my veranda

170623 Hadas Malka zl, Sheila and Zvi 21


23rd June 2017

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope this missive finds you well and if you do not feel good today then tomorrow will be better.

I decided to stay away from politics wherever possible this week, just to tell you about our week and what we did. I must, however tell you about a very sad incident that happened next to the Damascus Gate last Friday. Young soldiers of the Border Guards stand beside the entrance to the Damascus Gate where most Moslems from outside the Old City walk to go to pray on the Temple Mount. This is the month of Holy Ramadan and worshippers come from all over the country and from Gaza and the PA.

The Damascus Gate is arguably the most beautiful of the gates of the Old City . Once upon a time Jerusalemites used to go opposite the gate for the wonderful pitta, before casually wandering in the Jewish Musrara area just nearby. That was before Yasser Arafat began his incitement of course.

Last Friday as they stood watch to ensure the safety of the worshippers. One of the guards, Staff Sergeant Hadas Malka, aged 23 took a selfie and sent it to her friends before three young men began stabbing her all over her body. Despite the best efforts of the ambulance paramedic- incidentally a Moslem Israeli who fought to save her despite risking his own life – and hospital staff they ultimately succeeding in their desire to kill and be killed in the name of Allah and ISIS.  May her sweet soul rest in peace and her family be consoled among the mourners of Zion.

Sadly the BBC headline did not mention Hadas z”l, it stated that the IDF shot 3 Palestinians. The headline was so outrageous that Jared Kushner joined Mr Netanyahu in ensuring the headline be retracted – but in the meantime millions of adherents to the disinformation of the BBC already thought Israel had cruelly shot innocent Palestinians again.

One more thing – after all the shouting and yelling about the situation of the European citizens who are in the UK for a long period and made their lives there – Corbyn followers convinced that they would all be thrown out, Theresa May said yesterday that it simply isn’t true, anyone who has been in the country for over five years will not even have to go through any procedures to stay in the UK.

In the meantime ISIS blew up a famous mosque in Mosul (Nineveh); a 6.8 earthquake hit Guatamala; tens of people died in a bomb attack on a bank in Afghanistan; In Venezuela police shot at close range at protestors in a peaceful rally; Prince Harry says nobody really wants to be the King or Queen of Great Britain and the Commonwealth but they would serve dutifully; Pyongyang announced that President Trump is a bully for complaining about the treatment of an American student who was imprisoned and ill-treated for taking a poster off a wall – and he ultimately died – while simultaneously testing a ballistic missile which they say is aimed at the USA; Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and billionaire has been chosen as the US Ambassador to the UK – not the first time it has happened, remember Joseph Kennedy? OK so who thinks that a heatwave is of importance? In the general way of the world it is the least of our worries!!!

Uzi Wexler z”l passed away this week. Those who live outside Israel, and many who live in Israel, believe it was Teddy Kollek who made Jerusalem blossom. In fact it was the brilliant foresight of Uzi Wexler who brought the Hi-Tech industry to Jerusalem and so very much more. A man who believed in Tikkun Olam and acted on it. Sadly missed

OK I promised to tell you about our week, so will begin with after Shabbat on Saturday evening when we travelled to Tel Aviv, to the home of Gideon and Dafna Fisher to an event thanking the supporters of Beit Lessin Theatre in Tel Aviv. We aren’t among the glitterati who support but we were invited nonetheless. There I was thrilled to meet Sasson Gabay who you have seen in hundreds of movies without knowing who he is. My very favourite movie of his is “Band’s Visit” a wonderful story of hope

On Monday I went to a conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called “Echo Chamber – a conference on hate speech on the internet” and if I may use the very British expression, I was gobsmacked! The most effective presentation was by the Simon Wiesenthal Center who, unbeknownst to me have a very strong presence in fighting hate speech on the net and work closely with the authorities, most recently with Scotland Yard. I had no concept of the vast number of websites that young people reach each other or the complexity of finding them and their incitement of young gullible minds. If you see or hear or sense hate speech on the net please report it to because they know how to deal with it through their incredible head of research Rob Eaton.

Incidentally, if someone has ever written something libelous about you on the net, a new law gives you the right to have it removed. The Right to be Forgotten

While I was at the conference Zvi went to see Gilad Levian, the Director of the Italian Synagogue and Museum in the Centre of Jerusalem to see a wonderful new exhibition about the Jews of Venice, When the Jews were finally allowed to live in Venice they were given a specific area to live in and theretofore the term Ghetto was coined for the Jewish areas. Ghetto however was the name of the major foundry in the said area.

Tuesday saw us walking toward the Knesset, across the forecourt, scene of many ceremonies attended in our past, festooned with Israeli flags, to an event hosted by Member of Knesset Yaacov Perry, former Chief of the Israeli Secret Service. MK Perry is head of the Israeli music lobby in the Knesset and chose to honour choirs from all over Israel. Of course the first person to appear before us was Shuli Natan who is known for just one song, but what a song!!!!

The event finished early so we decided that on the way to collecting the car we would go and see…………….. Wonderwoman!!! What can I tell you. It isn’t the greatest movie I ever saw, although entertaining, but I am so proud of Gal Gadot that it is irrelevant. She decided, quite rightly, that she had nothing to be ashamed of and proclaims her Jewish, Israeli, IDF personality with pride, answering inane questions like “Did you learn your fighting skills in the IDF”? with amused truth “No, it is a defence force not an attacking force”. Thrilled that many Islamic countries chose to ban the movie but it isn’t because she is Israeli – it’s because she is gorgeous, strong and doesn’t need a man to fight her battles!!!!

Despite my telling you not to complain about the weather but, boy oh boy is it hot!!! In fact next week, as a welcome for the Jewish Agency Board meetings, it is going to be 40 degrees in Jerusalem. F-O-R-T-Y degrees that is 104 degrees Fahrenheit!!!

Today is our wedding anniversary! 21 years ago Zvi and I stood together under the chuppah (wedding canopy) beneath the skies of Jerusalem, opposite the Old City walls, after Zvi had signed the Ketuba (marriage contract) in Alan and Bonnie Cohens home. The chuppah poles were decorate by my children and the poles were held by Leor, Amiad, Gideon and Valeri Silver. Rachel and Jill were my maids of honour and my lovely cousins Jean and Stuart were my proxy parents while Zvi’s parents Kalman and Alla stood beside him. We held the party in Yismach Melech Street outside Alan and Bonnies home (it helps to know the residents representative) and we had wonderful music and catering. We closed the street off with police barriers (ooooops is there a statute of limitations on “borrowing” them from the road?) Friends from all over the world were here for the Jewish Agency meetings and it was a truly joyous occasion. To stand on a balmy evening, the walls behind us singing “If I forget thee oh Jerusalem” and as Rabbi David Rosen proclaimed us married and Zvi broke the glass, 400 shofars sounded from the rehearsal ceremony for the lighting of the City Walls right next to us!!!!!! Our lives are full, our children have grown and have children of their own, sadly many of those who stood beside us have gone, but our lives are full and our purpose for Tikkun Olam untarnished.

Tonight we will celebrate with friends who were not at the wedding but have come to mean a very great deal in our lives. They each work hard to make change for the good. I won’t name them but know that we are having a totally “Yiddische” meal – Borscht, gefilte fisch, veggie cholent, herring, potato kugel, tsimmes, red cabbage, Jerusalem kugel….. most of which I made (without gluten for one guest) but there are some things that are simply best from Mea Shearim!!! Zvi raced from the house first thing this morning and went to collect the gefilte fisch we ordered, and came home with it piping hot!! The menu will be in Yiddisch, Ruti don’t tell the others! Zvi and I simply love to celebrate, we love to have people in our home because a house without friends isn’t a home, it is a house. I will also have another place setting ready – just in case. That is what my Mummy taught me, always keep one place setting ready so that if an unexpected guest arrives you can fit them in without a fuss.

Tonight our lovely Kim arrives from Cardston, near Calgary, Alberta Canada. Dr Kimball Taylor is purportedly coming for the Jewish Agency meetings – but really it is for a hug and to see his beloved Jerusalem.

That’s it! A crazy week again, but a fascinating one. And so to music – the most difficult choice of the week! So much to choose from.

The first song is dedicated to my Zvi – even if he forgot to bring me flowers!!! Erev Shel Shoshanim

Duo Re’im, Yisrael and Benny, were guests at our wedding and gave us a phenomenal performance as our gift!

So to the aroma of all the Heimische delicacies I need to get back to my preparations. I wish you a Shabbat filled with good deeds and kind people, of tolerance and joy

With love from our beautiful Jerusalem. Tonight we will stand on the veranda, looking at the twinkling lights of a vibrant city, a city we dreamed of for 2,000 years and today lays before us as living proof that hope wins.

Hatikva in the Holocaust and sung by the progeny of survivors

Sheila and her Zvi and their veranda