The view from my veranda

32 days, 768 hours, 46,080 minutes

Day 32

Shalom dear friends.

32 days of 24/7 news and deep sense of guilt if we watch something else.

So much has happened in the last two days that I feel guilty for not writing yesterday! Imagine; Israeli soldiers and tanks ensuring safe passage for Gazan citizens fleeing Gaza City to relative safety in the south of Gaza after Israel sent them messages. Until now Hamas was shooting and blockading any Gazans from fleeing, but now that we have surrounded Gaza City where Hamas has its strongholds and tunnels. Incredible as we see thousands walking with white flags under the protection of the IDF  

There are few sights more emotive than the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Walking the length and breadth, climbing the ramparts is something we all try to do, but this week, this week they are more beautiful than ever before as the faces of every one of those kidnapped and held hostage on that diabolical, broken, Shabbat the 7th, is projected onto the ancient stones. The stones seem to weep as the days pass and we have not yet reached the babies, children and adults and brought them home.

A group of farmers from Montana and Arkansas arrived in Israel yesterday, with the sole purpose of going to the south to help the farmers to harvest their crops for market. Many Israelis have gone south to help with picking the vegetables and fruit, but these farmers and cowboys understand what they are doing and do it well. What an incredible gesture of support. The land of this area is rich and fertile, so much so that it was offered to Yassir Arafat so that he could have that contiguous land he demanded. He sent out scouts who claimed that the Jews were cheating him and the land was infertile. Yet another opportunity lost!

A fatal stabbing of a lone soldier in Jerusalem and the brutal killing of a Jewish man in California have the same perpetrators, the misguided hatred of the Free Palestine terrorists. Paul Kessler was beaten to death with his own megaphone at a rally and Rose Lubin, 20, an Israeli-American lone soldier serving in the Border Police, was stabbed by a terrorist in Jerusalem and died of her wounds

Irish-Israeli Thomas Hand has a little girl Emily, a beautiful little girl. When he heard that she had died on October 7th he was relieved, relieved that she would not have to suffer the horrific actions of Hamas in captivity. You may be shocked by his words, but the saddest part of the story is that Thomas’s little girl was in fact taken hostage.

I was shocked to the very core when I watched the news last night. The IDF has surrounded Gaza and at one point they came across a scout club, you know as in Boy Scouts; since they film everything they see so that they have proof against the Pallywood lies, they filmed this too. The Scout insignias on the walls and in the large window space were two huge batteries of missile launchers! Their disrespect for human life is incredible.

Not many things bring a smile to my face, not over the last 32 days, but one announcement did. The House of Dior replaced the objectionable pro-Palestinian Bella Hadid with Israeli model Mai Tager to front  their campaign after Hadid’s outspoken support for Palestine sparked controversy. Apparently Ms Hadid was unaware that the perfume Miss Dior was created to honour the memory of Ginette Catherine Dior, Beloved sister of Christian Dior, a French Resistance fighter who was taken to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. I would have loved to see Hadid’s face when she realised that an Israeli model had taken her place!

Last evening, I had the honour of being invited to speak to a wonderful group on Zoom, by Rabbi David Greenberg of Shaarey Tefillah Temple in Bedford, NY. I knew several of the many people who had lots of fascinating questions and a chance to express their own distress at the sudden overt and sometimes violent expression of anti-Semitism spreading across the United States. I know two of the attendees very well, Sari and Gigi, and some more who I know only by their sweet responses to what I write. It is a very special community and I hope I answered their questions well; of course two questions I couldn’t answer, but wish I could When will the hostages come home? And When will this war end?

Mansor Ashkar is an Israeli, actually a Druze Israeli, and he lives in the Germany. His Mother calls him every day worrying about him, not worrying because he speaks Arabic but because he speaks Hebrew and is very open about his love for Israel. I barely go to Instagram but this is exceptional. A sad truth

Marcus Sheff, CEO of Impact-se ( ) is currently in meetings in Washington and with the EU on the recent, disturbing reports on the UNWRA school textbooks and the defunding of UNWRA. As Board Chair I am deeply proud of the work of Impact and our determination to bring tolerance in education to all.  The most recent IMPACT-se report identified 133 UNRWA educators and staff who were found to promote hate and violence on social media. It is against this background that this report has uncovered equally disturbing results. The first section of the report details how 13 UNRWA staff members have publicly praised, celebrated or expressed their support for the unprecedented deadly assaults on civilians on 7 October.

I’m sure you will be relieved to know that today’s missive is not a long one. In the meantime I have been learning to make Mandelas, in the village library; a wonderful experience and this morning I got rid of some angst in my art studio, Zvi on the other hand recorded “Bring Them Home” with his choir and today he is performing with the Jerusalem Symphony, not forgetting his “mini-parliament in the local coffee shop! This evening I will go to my Movement class and so life goes on, maybe we are escaping or maybe we are just trying to act as normally as one can.

Today’s song made me cry. The wonderful actors of the television programme Zehu Zeh have proven their musical ability and in this recording they brought Amir Benayun to sing with them. The song is about love, but expressed in a different way “When you are sad, I don’t exist because I take my hope from you. If you are sad I have no desire, when your heart is heavy as stone”. It has no translation but I believe you will understand. Dedicated to the families of the hostages and of those killed in the horror of October 7th

This morning, like every morning, I sit out on the veranda, just like I told you, I read the paper, do my puzzles and then Wordle, but out of the corner of my eye I see the diving and darting little iridescent black birds. They don’t rest as they go from flower to flower, taking the sweetness and making me smile. We have to keep that smile because without it we drawn the joy from others. This too will pass, not forgotten but we must hold our heads high and give hope.

I send you all my love. I promise that it will get better and perhaps when they see that good can defeat evil, the demonstrations and violence will stop.

32 days

768 hours

46,080 minutes

242 hostages

No more, we must bring them home