The view from my veranda

171208 Jerusalem


8th December 2017

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

After three days of rain and one clear statement by an American President Jerusalem is looking beautiful.

If one truly analyses President Trumps statement/declaration nothing has changed except the paradigm. From the vote in Washington in 1995 the question of Jerusalem has been carefully put on a back burner, pushed to one side every six months by Presidents who were fearful of their position and world reaction, this President decided that in a carefully worded, quietly presented statement, he would change the paradigm.

Let’s just look at the situation logically, without emotion and without condemning him just because he is Donald Trump. Just because he is “The Donald” who isn’t looking for political allies, he could make that statement.

Since Saddam Hussein, horrific despot, was deposed; since Hosni Mubarak, slightly less horrific but extremely effective dictator was deposed; since tyrannical dictator Muammar Ghaddafi was deposed, the Middle East has fallen into total chaos, as King Hussein of Jordan wisely predicted and warned. Libya has split back into 400 warring tribes, Syria is in a state of hellfire, Yemen is beyond saving, Iraq too although the Kurds are doing their best to control it, I could go on and on and then we come to Iran. Iran – oh yes that has become the centre of all evil since James Earl Carter decided it was not a democratic country and the relatively benign Shah was exiled. The Western policies until now have not worked.

Will the statement bring peace or war? Peace is not a reality in this arena, the fight must go on until ones religious pride is appeased. American flags and pictures of President Trump are being burned and defecated on. The supposed Israel/Palestinian conflict has been pushed forward by a world that doesn’t want to see the true life or death conflicts of this and the African battles. Concentrating on Israel as the demon of the Middle East is convenient and currently politically correct – after all Jews as the scapegoat is hardly a new phenomena! Of course there will be riots – after all it makes good TV and will fulfil the Palestinian leadership’s desire for front page; of course the fact that the President spoke of “two states for two people” was conveniently ignored by the Palestinians who hang on to their victimship with fierce conviction; of course people will die and be permanently scarred, not on the scale of our neighbours who are killing each other without a moments thought; Israel will be blamed again, but we will continue as before with tikkun olam.

President Trump stated the obvious. King David chose this hilltop because he wanted to unite the Jewish people. Until then we were 12 tribes, not a united whole, so he chose a place that did not belong to any tribe and was easily defensible and called it Jerusalem. He wrote beautiful poetry about it, each poem numbered and sung by Jews and Christians around the world. 3,000 years have passed and for 2,000 year Jerusalem became a prayer after the Jews were exiled, enslaved and spread all over the world. Here King Solomon built the Holy Temple, here the Second Temple was built; the streets where Jesus walked and preached. Jerusalem is Jewish, Jerusalem is Christian, Jerusalem is also Moslem. What is the difference between Jerusalem under Jewish rule and Jerusalem under Moslem rule? Under Moslem rule no other religion was free, under Jewish rule by definition and by declaration all religions are free to practice their faith as they see fit.

By stating the obvious President Trump has changed the Paradigm – the model, pattern, exemplar, example or archetype. He actually came out with the words that others only say after leaving office. He changed the way the USA looks at Israel – Israel is the country of the Jewish people and we have every right to be there. President Trump also said that the argument is between us not for the interference of others. That, perhaps is the most important statement of all. Those of you who have known me for a long time will know that I have always said that if other countries would just butt out of our business we could have reached salaam if not sulcha. Perhaps it is time to take Sykes-Picot and undo the infinite damage it created by splitting people and dividing countries.

Professor Alan Dershowitz says it all

For a short while we were able to escape from the rampant corruption in local and central government. It is exhausting and while desperately important to have clean and transparent governance it makes the regular citizen wonder if he is the only “frier” in town.

This week it rained!! Glorious, big ploppy drops rain which refreshed the city, indeed the country. The summer dust has settled, the trees and plants woke up and breathed in the fresh air as we all did too!

Just like half the people in the world we both have colds, but yesterday Rachel Risby-Raz came for brunch. I so enjoy her company and was happy to discover that she is now working as Ehud Olmert’s private assistant, running his office with great efficiency. I made Shakshuka which is my favourite breakfast, totally Middle Eastern and delicious. Eggs poache din a delicious sauce of tomatoes, onions, red peppers which have been cooked for ever. The only bad thing about Shakshuka is that one needs bread to mop up the sauce!!! We spoke of wonderful friends we have in common, of Ehud who we all love, of the current police investigations and of who is behind it all – no I am not going to tell you but this man is super powerful and very proud of the case he “worked” to bring Ehud down. You will read it all in the book that is about to come out!!!

I went with Rachel to Netanya to see Valerie and Martin before they left for Britain. There is nothing quite like the friendship of someone who knows everything about you and only wishes you well. Rachel loves her Auntie Val and Uncle Martin!!! After Netanya we were in Bnei Brak, a firmly Haredi town, it is very different to Mea Shearim. People in Bnei Brak work, are less radical – or it’s just the impression I got. Everyone we met was kind and open – and I wore trousers!!!

This morning we are off to Tel Aviv to the home of our friends Lea and Yehuda Ressler to wish Lea a very happy 70th birthday – 70+ is a club I am thrilled to belong to and welcome any friend who joins us!!!

Before I give you some songs of Shabbat and peace I want to take the opportunity to extend my deepest condolences to my sister in law Sandie who has taken care of her Mother for years with devotion rarely seen. Sandies Mother passed away two days ago and my heart goes out to Sandie, Ronnie, Sophie, Adam and Deborah. May her soul finally rest in peace.

For those who think that we don’t speak, meet and have deep friendships with Arabs – think again  A song of hope and peace from both sides

Rotem isn’t famous, she is just a girl scout who sings of peace “Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu” Peace will yet come to us and to all the world. Rotem with sign language and children in Africa

Shabbat Shalom  dear friends. I wish you peace.

With love from beautiful Jerusalem – the capital of the Jewish world