The view from my veranda

180518 Gaza, Embassy, Shevuot


18th of May 2018

Shabbat Shalom! There is so much to write about and so little that you think you already know about our current situation that I am going to precis the entire political and diplomatic scene into one paragraph.

  1. Yes, Israelis are thrilled about the American Embassy moving to Israel even though it should have happened in 1995
  2. No, the Gaza riots have nothing to do with the return of the Embassy to Jerusalem
  3. The Guatemalan Embassy is here too – I can see the big banner on their offices from our veranda! The strange thing is that they are in the same building as the journalist who basically ignored them!!!
  4.  Yes at least 50 of the 62 who were killed in the Gaza border riots were members of Hamas.
  5. Yes Hamas successfully blew up the lifeline for food, and fuel at Kerem Shalom
  6. Yes Hamas refused Israeli medical aid
  7. Yes rockets and live ammunition hit Sderot and firebombs hit Kibbutz Nahal Oz
  8. No, Israeli soldiers do not want to kill and are not trained to kill without very good cause
  9.  Yes the Gazans are downtrodden and oppressed, without food or services but not because of Israel. Hamas is a cruel regime that kills its own people without a second thought; stones gays; performs honour killings on a daily basis and does not allow any freedom.

My answer is to do as the Egyptians did and cut a swathe between the current unsubstantial fence and a wall to separate the two entities completely. A wall that goes deep enough to prevent tunnels.

If you think about it , we have peace with Jordan because they wanted peace with us; we have peace with Egypt because they wanted peace with us – they accepted our hand of friendship. We do not have peace with the Palestinians because they do not want it – they spurn all attempts.

I am past being angry at the media – their ignorance of the true situation is astonishing but even more I am furious, but furious at the mental incapacity of Jews who believe themselves liberal and sophisticated actually saying Kaddish (prayer for the dead) over those killed in the Gaza demonstrations with big black signs with their names.

It actually thrills me to say that both the NYT and the Guardian wrote with great intelligence about the rioters aims.

My niece Ruth sent me this excellent and concise article in the Toronto Sun which sums up the situation

CNN asked David Keyes, the PMO spokesperson “Doesn’t the fact that all the deaths are on one side mean the response is disproportionate?” David Keyes – “How many Jews need to die to make it even?”  Keyes is brilliant, just brilliant. I hope you have Facebook because I cannot find it on the Prime Minsters spokesperson site.

What can one say about the Turkish President? He actually accused us of genocide of Palestinians – Yeah sure the Armenians just dropped dead alongside the greeks and Kurds? If we really committed genocide than why is the number of Palestinians increasing ever year? Well one could say he is an insane meglalomaniac!!

Sunday and I met my lovely friend Ruth Dodzuik-Justitz for lunch at the Botanical Gardens. It was wonderful eating our favourite Sweet Potato Oreganatto salad facing the lake where all the water lilies were putting on a fabulous show, earning their real name Lotus.

Monday was especially exciting for Rachel and I as we set off to brave the ghastly traffic jams of Tel Aviv – actually WAZE took us a roundabout route which helped us avoid the worst of the traffic. Our purpose was intense, we were about to meet up with my son Gideon (the QC) who had business here for 2 days. It was every bit as exciting as we thought and while he had meetings we decided that we should go for a walk to Shouk HaCarmel. It’s OK but has nothing in comparison to Mahane Yehuda. It hasn’t got the spirit, the joy, the fun of Mahane Yehuda. The people pushed and shoved instead of chatting to everyone. Just not the same!!!

We went back to collect Gideon and head off to Jerusalem. Even WAZE couldn’t save us from the traffic!!! My voice on WAZE is Simon and Simon was terribly apologetic, changing his mind every so often to try to extricate us from the standstills! Finally we began to move and found ourselves on the main highway Route Number One, still pretty busy and then turned off to the 443 and headed home, but not without a visit to Rachel’s where Igal, Yosef, Talia and Ayala pounced on “Dod Gidi”

That evening I intended going with Zvi to the presentation of the “Yakir Yerushalyim” awards to see our dear friend Prof Gabby Barkay receive his well deserved award for his undaunting work on the Sifting Project and many other archaeological projects. However……… I have no intention of going anywhere that wasn’t next to Gideon so we just “hung out” which was my greatest joy. I didn’t feel bad since the driver came to pick him up for the airport at 06:30 next morning!

On Wednesday I was to meet Canon Andrew White, Hanna and Esther for Gefilte Fish at the King David. Easier said than done when the entire street was a security area….. Both the Prime Minister and the President were at the Hotel for a reception for the Guatemalan President and Ambassador!!! It was wonderful for people watching but not for parking!! As always our supper was a joy, not just the food but we are never lost for things to tell each other! Andrew and I have had many an adventure together. Sadly he can no long get up our stairs to hear Zvi’s wonderful rendition of Kiddush, but we always get together. We sat outside on the veranda of the historic hotel as the sun came down. The impeccable veranda overlooking the walls of the Old City is also for people watching and greeting friends. Alan and Bonnie Cohen came to say hello and I introduced Member of Knesset Tsachi Hanegbi to Andrew – an important connection for both.

Yesterday Talia and Ron Carner and Barry and Monica Gurland came for lunch. Barry and Monica brought their adorable grand-daughter Karen with them – she is an absolute delight and exceptionally adult for 11. Today they went first to Yad Vashem and then to the Herzl Museum – always a good mix – from desperation to hope.

Tonight is Shabbat and tomorrow Shevuot – we will be 20 for supper. I have already made most of the salads (remember Israeli salads don’t have lettuce!!!) Aubergine and Labaneh; Courgette and egg; stuffed mushrooms; Moroccan mushrooms; Rachel’s cucumber salad; mushrooms in balsamic vinegar; gosh a load more – I had to stop cooking because the fridge is full. Yes Arlene – my fridge is full!! I’ll bake salmon, lasagna and pasta for the children and all will be well.

Of course Shevuot is much more than cheesecake and blintzes. It is the celebration of receiving the Torah – the 2 tablets of stone – that have guided our lives for thousands of years.

My favourite part of Shevuot is the reciting of the Story of Ruth – Megillat Ruth. If you read the story carefully it teaches us tolerance, acceptance, the wisdom of Naomi in recognizing her daughters in law and of course the beauty of her relationships with those daughters in law. When the three women, Naomi, Ruth and Orpah, lost their husbands Naomi decided to go to a new land, the land of Moab and Ruth chose to go with her (the famous saying “Whither thou goest”. At that time Naomi didn’t need her daughters in law to take courses and exams to prove they were good Jews – it was obvious and clear. The reward for Ruth’s loyalty and love, caring for Naomi through thick and thin, was that she met a new love, a good man called Boaz. I have the honour of having two incredible friends and one family member who chose to be Jewish and they are the most incredible Jewesses I know – real Yiddische Mommas. We have a lot to learn from Naomi who for me is the real heroine of the story.

I know I keep mentioning the Yuri Shtern Holistic Center for Cancer Patients and their Families but I love this organisation! Now a big big Mazal tov to the Yuri Shtern Center we just received an award from the Minister of Health! Kol hakavod to Lena, Varda, Sivan and Orit and all the volunteers and administrators!

Shevuot! 10 Commandments – This song – it is actually for children but hey! It’s great!

I love our President! Reuven Ruvi Rivling is so amazing at bringing the people together. The beginning and the result  and

Mazal Tov to the Windors, the Royal Family who have a simcha this weekend!

So – Shabbat Shalom, Chag Sameach and remember that we must be proud of who and what we are.

With much love from our veranda – with its view over Jerusalem. Jerusalem Capital of the State of Israel.