The view from my veranda

180706 Good morning, Good Shabbes, Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem


6th July 2018

Good morning, Good Shabbes, Good day!!

Whenever a peace plan is put forward to this very small region in the Middle East, you can be sure the Israelis will look into it and usually accept the conditions with a few changes for security and the Palestinians will immediately denounce it. Khaled Abu Toameh tweets”Palestinian Bar Association calls for open-ended campaign to thwart Trump’s upcoming peace plan and urges its members to participate in planned protests, which begin Monday in Ramallah.” Why? Why don’t they want to even consider a plan to give them a country? Very simple – a country has to take responsibility for its actions; a country has to develop an economic plan and finally a country will be held responsible for the incitement and calls to war and the insane corruption within that country whatever its name may be. In other words – refugees will have a home and their status may not be hereditary.

The destructive arson, where seemingly innocent children’s toys, kites and balloons, are turned into incendiary devices and launched into Southern Israel, continues apace. On Wednesday 40 such devices destroyed farmland, crops and wildlife. I understand the anger and frustration of Gazans, they live in a sardine can of hatred; their children taught hatred and jihad; they have no food or electricity and their leaders live in luxurious mansions, but why Israel? Why can’t they benefit from work in those kibbutzim instead of destroying them and creating an entire generation of children with PTSD from the rockets and missiles? Why? Because it is to the benefit of their cruel regime to continue receiving aid and using it for war.

The entire world has been praying for the wellbeing of a soccer team – not in the World Cup – but in a deep cave in Thailand. Two days after the boys were lost an Israeli team was in Chiang Mai working with the most modern equipment to discover where they were. Two days ago they found them but it may take months to get them out. The sheer depth of the cave, the water that lies between them and freedom, the fact that the boys can’t swim all hinder their rescue. Thai experts suggest it may take months to reach them. In the meantime they are receiving some food and their terrified parents are able to see that they are miraculously healthy.

Sometimes the liberality of governments works against their determination to live in an accepting and generous society. This happened in Canada recently. While most of the world is ending funding terrorist groups, a desire to help accept new immigrants has back-fired in that beautiful country. The Canadian government plans to spend $23 million on fighting Islamophobia, a fine cause, but sadly the vessels used to receive that funding support terror and were declared so by the Canadian Government itself! Far be it from me to interfere in another country’s politics or policies but this one directly affects me – in fact all of us.

As you know, I am very proud to be involved in Impact-se, the organisation which translates educational curriculae, analyses and recommends changes to governments, changes to encourage tolerance toward the “other”. The reports in the above link have led to debates in UK and US parliaments. Member of Parliament Joan Ryan of the Labour Friends of Israel, spoke eloquently of the findings of Impact-se in the Palestinian schoolbooks which encourage hatred and violence in a debate concerning British funding of Palestinian Education. Herewith the reports that stimulated the debate in the UK and elsewhere

Nikky Haley announced that the United States is leaving the UNHRC this week. About time. Here Former Minister Danny Ayalon explains

A law to withhold funding to the Palestinian Authority as long as it uses such funding to pay stipends to terrorists and their families was met with disbelief by the PA leaders. The law was passed in the Knesset to the cheers of the vast majority of MK’s and the dismay of the Joint List (an Arab Party). Stuart Force stood in the Knesset tearful but grateful for the decision. His son Taylor was stabbed to death while walking in the street in Jaffa and his killer, Bashar Masshala, a Palestinian, since when Stuart has lobbied Congress and the Senate to stop payments to the PA.

According to Israel’s Defense Ministry, the PA in 2017 paid NIS 687 million ($198 million) to the so-called “martyrs’ families fund” and NIS 550 million ($160 million) to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club — some seven percent of its overall budget. Palestinian prisoners serving 20- to 30-year sentences for carrying out terror attacks are eligible for a lifetime NIS 10,000 ($2,772) monthly stipend, the Defense Ministry said, citing PA figures. Those prisoners who receive a three- to five-year sentence get a monthly wage of NIS 2,000 ($554). Palestinian prisoners who are married, have children, live in Jerusalem, or hold Israeli citizenship receive additional payments. Australia made the same decision this week.

While former government minister Gonen Segev sat in court accused of spying for Iran and other treacheries, the Mossad was performing a mission impossible worthy of Hollywood. They successfully returned the gold watch of legendary Israeli spy Eli Cohen who was killed in Syria 50 years ago, after unthinkable suffering.

Our weekend was wonderful! We spent time with our great friends John and Pauline Gandel and of course Michelle and Steven, Ian and Linda. Time spent with the Gandel family is always special, relaxed and ………….. family. On Sunday Ian and Linda came to Jerusalem to go shopping for Judaica and Rachel suggested going to Haddad Silversmiths in Shabbat Square – Mea Shearim. She was utterly right about the store – kind service, beautiful stock and half the price of others. After their purchase we decided to have a wander in Mea Shearim, yes Josephine and Tom, we decided to do it again! I love walking around Mea Shearim and most people are welcoming and the sense of Europe prevails. The language is predominantly Yiddish but we suddenly felt the change in the education of their children (seen in another Impact-se report) and as Linda and I walked by, fully covered but wearing very feminine trousers, we heard the children shout “Shikseh, Shikseh” which followed us up the road. Shikseh means non-Jewish female but in a derogatory manner. So sad. It couldn’t spoil our mood however and we giggled and laughed our way back to Tel Aviv where we hugged everyone goodbye………. For now.

On Wednesday I went with the Women’s Giving Group to the Israel Museum to a truly magnificent exhibition of Israeli fashion from Fini Leitersdorf until today. The exhibit shows the social importance of fashion and its impact on our thinking.  I strongly recommend a guided tour.

Like those of us who reach a certain age, we make various visits to medical units – hospitals to visit friends, clinics to have blood tests, seeing our GP, and all remind me of the incredible mix of Israeli society in which we, Israelis, could not cope without our Arab citizens. Doctors and nurses, ancillary workers work alongside their Jewish and Christian counterparts in harmony, their only concern is to save lives and help the patients. If only all areas of our life could follow suit.

Why do you call it July 4th? Yes I know that’s the date but I want to call it by its proper name “Independence Day”. You fought for it – albeit against the Brits; you wasted an awful lot of perfectly good tea and replaced it with Orange Pekoe but you earned your Independence…… celebrate it! It is time to replace dissonance with harmony, argument with debate and bring back the incredible freedom you taught the world to uphold. Anger and insult extended to your elected leader doesn’t show democracy it shows a divided nation that our enemies see as breakable. I’m sorry if you feel I have no right to speak out – no actually I am not sorry – just as I would tell a friend that their behavior is unconscionable I tell you dear friends to find the common ground, fight for it and stop using foul language on television shows to bring down an elected leader. I dedicate one of my favourite songs to American Independence, to the USA.

A song for my son Gideon whose birthday is tomorrow. Gideon has fulfilled all my prayers for him when he was born, an honest man, a great husband a fabulous father and a man who seeks justice………. and a brilliant son and brother. Gids, for you, even though you sing it so much better – More Than Words

Shabbes, Sabbat, Shabbat is nearly here. Today we, the Ravivs, will go to the cemetery above Jerusalem, to the special area saved for Yakir Yerushalyim, the honoured of Jerusalem, to say a prayer of remembrance to Zvi’s beautiful parents, Kalman and Ala Raviv. After that I will take the girls, Amit, Gili and Ori to visit Talia, Yosef and Ayala in Givat Zeev then back home for Shabbat – hopefully we will still have time to make Challa together. Shabbat tonight will be very special as the girls sing Kiddush with Zvi and then fight over who breaks the challa!! They will sleep at our place tonight and tomorrow, tomorrow there is so much happening in Jerusalem for children that doesn’t require payment. I think we will go to the Bible Lands Museum where they have wonderful projects for children that relate to our history.

Let’s end with a Shabbes song.Actually this is a Pesach (Passover) song but it speaks to me as no other of our past and future Vehi Sheamda from Yaakov Shwekey

With all our love from Jerusalem, from the verandah overlooking the city we love. Last night we sat with Flory ben Alal breathing in the fresh breezy, balmy air and spoke of her husband, our dearest friend, Shmuel who was killed in a terror attack in Mali while working to improve the education and lives of children in that country. Zvi and his coir Hakol Yachassi are producing a disc of songs that Shmuel loved. He is sorely missed.

Shabbat Shalom