The view from my veranda

180511 Iran, Trump, Bibi and life in general


11th May 2018

Shabbat Shalom! Hope you are well and happy.

The flags are up all over Jerusalem, the Stars and Stripes shine on us and in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona, on the border of Talpiot Mizrach, the road signs are alreay in place pointing their way to the American Embassy! It is very exciting and Israelis love nothing better than a reason to celebrate, and we are already in celebratory mood! It is finally going to happen, starting with the American Embassy, then Guatamala, then………… who knows. I will always remember the words of former British Ambassador Sherrard Cowper-Coles “Every time I come to Jerusalem I go to the site of our Embassy, it’s still just a piece of land, and stand and pray for the United States to move its Embassy to Jerusalem so we can follow suit” OK So now you can!!!!

I can hear you saying “Why is she so happy? Israel is at war with Iran!” Well I have news for you, no we aren’t. We are not happy that they sent missiles and rockets (16 didn’t even reach Israeli land, they flopped, and the others were shot down before reaching Israel) but then we responded and wiped out some 50 Iranian bases and arsenals in Syria! The “peaceful” demonstration in the South, on the Gaza border, isn’t peaceful and it isn’t a free expression of the downtrodden Gazans for the “siege”. Israel is the only country of the area that isn’t denying Gazans their basic needs, in fact providing them, but they are scared to demonstrate on the Egyptian border and anyway they can’t get near the Egyptian border because the Egyptian troops came in, cleared a swathe of land next to the border and put up a wall! This “peaceful demonstration is sending kites, ordinary paper kites, with inflammable material to add to the effect, and they are burning down whole fields of carefully tended crops before the Kibbutz farmers have time to harvest. Quite apart from the evil ingenuity of their actions, the fear is that a farmer on his tractor could be trapped in a burning field, but then that is the aim!

In the meantime, Israelis are carrying on with life, obviously preparing for the worst but we don’t scare that easily. We are never complacent and the IDF is on alert, in this neighborhood one cannot be sure of anything. This isn’t a new situation, but the paradigm has changed. We managed very well on our own against all enemies, but now we know that the USA is behind us with all its weight with a leader that doesn’t fear rejection.

Let me explain. Iran has proxies who do not have to heed consequences for their violent actions against Israel (or Saudi, Kuwait etc), like Hamas, Hezb-Allah, even Al Qaeeda and ISIS, however, Iran is a country, a state, and if they wreak havoc they will pay with embargos from the world community, even if their aggression is against Israel!!! For most countries it was a convenient excuse to come out against their actions this week, countries that is, not of course the NYT. Nobody will take action, yet, and the United Nations will find a way to blame Israel but the Iranians know they walk a fine line.

David Horovitz, Editor of the Times of Israel, gives a concise and clear explanation of the Iran deal’s history

Now, love him or loathe him, President Trump is fulfilling his promises. He has gone quiet on the immigrant situation, but since most of the wall with Mexico was already built by President Obama he didn’t need to continue – now I admit that was rhetoric. However, he is standing fast on the Iran deal, which is dangerous in its inadequacies. The Iran deal was based on the Clinton North Korean deal and we know where that led!!! His public shaming of President Kim of North Korea horrified those who do not understand the region, but look where it led – a meeting between the two Koreas and with the American President. Finally, he decided to honour the vote in Congress to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel. Newt Gingrich and Daniel Moynihan went against President Clintons warnings of conflagration in the area if they went ahead with the statement “We have diplomatic relations with 184 countries and Israel is the only one where the Embassy is not in the functioning capital”. The vote was in 1995, the intended move in 1999 and all it took from any sitting President was to say nothing, simply not to defer the move. This fascinating reading

Perhaps the strangest outcome of recent events is that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the go-between for any negotiations or talks between Putin and Trump. Both talk to him but not to each other. It is surely a machisto situation between the eagle and the bear but incredibly Israel is acceptable to both. I said that whether one loves or loathes Trump one must accept his successes and so it is with Mr Netanyahu. I didn’t vote for him or his party but he has done everything right over the last two weeks.

Perhaps now is the time for us to hear the song We Are a Miracle by Yaakov Shwekey – more from him later

The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem was established in 1980 by three dear friends, Tim King, Jay Rawlings and Malcolm Hedding, among others, when most countries chose to have their Embassies to Tel Aviv. The Embassy was founded in recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital city of the Jewish people. Quite apart from their incredible work in support of Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular, they throw a wonderful party twice a year, Chanuka/Christmas and Jerusalem Day. Last Monday was the Jerusalem Day party, on a day which produced rain, high winds and almost every conceivable weather threat! As Beverly Dwyer said “We prayed and prayed that the rain would hold off” and it did!! The exquisite building once housed the Czechoslovakian and Ivory Coast Embassies and the incredible work of the ICEJ in ensuring the return of the Embassies to Jerusalem may just backfire since the building belongs to the Ivory Coast!! Zvi and I went with “my friend Sheila” the wonderful broadcaster Sheila Zucker and we were again in awe of the beauty of the building, the grounds and the support of people like Juergen Buhler. The Embassy does not proselytise as has been suggested, they give enormous political support worldwide.

Israel is through to the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest with Netta Barzilai singing I’m not your doll. Of course the BBC complained that she uses swear words in the song…….. quite incredible when one considers the fact that the first time **** was heard on the air was Kenneth Tynan on the David Frost Show oh and all the British late night show presenters in the USA use the word non-stop to say nothing of rappers!! We are vaunted to be the winners but only if politics stays out of the competition.

Last night we went to Tel Aviv for two reasons, one was to meetPerla and Carlos Jinich two lovely Mexican friends of Zvi’s from his high school days in Mexico City. My complaint? I only just met them when they have been coming to Israel for many years!! What a delight! Perla mad coffee and I brought an Orange Cake (Rachel’s famous recipe) and suddenly we realised that time has flown and we needed to leave for our next appointment!!

One day, Zvi was at a Maccabi World Union event and met a new friend called Ron Carner of the USA. Ron introduced his wife, Talia, and to his amazement she and Zvi hugged each other as old friends……….. because they were and are! Talia and Zvi went to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem together when Zvi was a student leader! Of course once I came on the scene we because friends too. In the meantime Talia has become a famous author of 4 books and last night Talia and Ron threw a big birthday bash for Talia’s 70th and we had fun! I had the huge fortune of sitting next to Ilan Horowitz (he told me to say that) and Zvi sat with Cilla Horowitz, and the men regaled stories of their past and sang together in Russian. To our amazement, a crowd gathered around us and sang the Russian songs with them!! It has never happened before! I knew that Ilan is a great storyteller of the stand-up mode, but for anyone to have the courage to sing with Zvi’s booming bass-baritone is rare. The only one in our life who willingly does so is Martin Lindenfeld but he a too far away in Florida!!!

We have some wonderful occasions coming up, tomorrow Yonatan ha Katan will be 4, a beautiful boy and Zvi’s only grandson – not that we are complaining about the grand-daughters!!! Rachel has made him a fabulous piñata, a yellow duckling with big blue eyes and  I will take the far less interesting “memula’im” stuffed vegetables and my new favourite salad – roasted aubergine and labaneh whizzed with a stick blender. Try it! It is easy and delicious!!!

Rachel is already creating incredible things for her Talia’s Batmitzva in a few weeks. Fabulous flowers atop pens and pencils for the girls, unbelievably beautiful invitation reminders – cards and invites printed on clear plastic with flowers attached and with magnets for the fridge…. And little favours that she makes from scratch. I love it!!

On Monday we have the honour of watching Zvi’s close friend, Professor Gabby Barkay, receive the Yakir Yerushalayim Award for his amazing work on sifting the earth removed from underneath the Temple Mount by Sheikh Raeed Salah.

For me, of equal if not even greater importance (sorry Gabby) is the fact that my middle son, Gideon, is in Israel for a flying visit from London and I will get to hug him and he will get to hug Rachel and family. I am madly thinking of what food to make for him that he loves, he has gone healthy on me so not sure!

And so to music. Perhaps something about the Golan Heights? About Jerusalem, although the choice is daunting; no, I think I have the perfect song for this week – Ani Ma’amin

We are so grateful to our incredible IDF for protecting us and for all they do to help our supposed enemies. Yaakov Shwekey sings the blessing for the soldiers of Israel.

The blessing

He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.

May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.

May He lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.

Now let us respond: Amen.

With love from Jerusalem, our veranda and the view all the way to the newly established American Embassy in Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom