The View From My Veranda
Sheila's Letter From Jerusalem
10th July 2020
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are well, entertained and busy despite being home. For all the medics out there – thank you, you have done wonders despite the ineptitude of our leaders!!
Since the vote to recreate of the State of Israel out of the shreds of the Biblical Land of Israel her demise has been announced by those who have no hope or belief. Peter Beinart is the latest of those who sit on the Upper West Side and truly believe they know what they are talking about. His latest article proposes that Israel be replaced with a country Beinart calls “Israel-Palestine,” “a Jewish home that is also, equally, a Palestinian home,” “a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.” The only thing all of these nay sayers have in common is that they don’t live here and don’t have to live with the terrifying consequences of their proposals. Many major journalists have written criticizing Beinart and former Ambassador Dan Shapiro wrote “While one democratic state sounds superficially appealing to some American ears, the reality would be a highly impractical perpetuation of the conflict within one state, a society deeply riven, and nearly inevitably, far worse violence. The US would lose a key partner.”
Beinart’s biggest blunder is “It’s because of the Holocaust lens that so many Jews are convinced that Palestinian schools teach Palestinian children to hate Jews when academic studies have shown repeatedly that Palestinian textbooks are no more incendiary than Israel’s own. In fact, those who are convinced that Palestinian schools teach Palestinian children to hate Jews include the United Nations, US Congress House Foreign Affairs Committee, US State Department, European Parliament, Norwegian and UK governments. We at Impact-se researched and created the reports but apparently Beinart couldn’t be bothered to read them.
Beinart reflects a glaring lack of research, proving once again that he isn’t on my recipients list! A response has been prepared by Impact-se, its importance so great that www.impact-se.org CEO Marcus Sheff wrote it one handed while the Plaster of Paris on his broken wrist hasn’t even dried! https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/debunking-beinart-on-textbooks/
We have just entered the 3 weeks of mourning for the loss of the Holy Temple, twice. There are many reasons quoted in the Talmud (the central text of Jewish Law and Theology) the first being “Sinat Hinam” which literally means free hatred – or hatred within ourselves for no reason. The other cause cited is bad leadership leading us toward extremes. Well folks, what can I say? The hatred of anyone who thinks differently is not only a Jewish phenomenon, I hear it from my Christian friends of various denominations and too many wars have been and are being fought between Sunni and Shia. It has caused the most heinous of crimes and massacres. We have to stop it and it stops with us. We are not born hating, we are taught to hate. As Jews, we can still say “Good Shabbes” to those who go to another synagogue! Waving to a friend who is driving to synagogue while we walk or vice versa is not a sin – ignoring them is; Remembering that the man with the flowing beard and side-locks has exactly the same love of family and friends as the man playing golf on Saturday, is essential to survival. Do you remember that wonderful word in Hebrew SOVLANUT – tolerance which comes from the same root as SAVLANUT – patience. If only there was more sovlanut in this world it would be worth of Satchmo singing about it.
We have to learn who we are as Jews and our relevance in this world together with other religions. By learning about your own religion you give yourself the reward of choice. Ignorance is not a rational aternative since it denies choice.
Yesterday Prime Minister Netanyahu surprised us all by admitting that his Corona policies were a failure. Sadly Israel has been used widely as an example of how to start well then fail miserably. We were the first to close our skies and demand people stay home, and it worked, although obviously it couldn’t stay that way. The biggest mistake of that period was that insufficient financial help was given to both employers and employees who didn’t work in essential jobs. A new financial package was announced yesterday both by the PM and the new Minister of Finance Yisrael Katz rectifying this disaster that left people without the ability to feed their families. The PM also admitted that he called for a return to normal life too soon, too quickly and too widely. New restrictions have been imposed.
Of all the inanities of this very frightening period I think the most idiotic is demonstrating for the civil right NOT to wear a mask! Anyone who believes that it is their civil right to infect entire cities and breathe Corona all over the innocent public needs to be sectioned!!!
Last week Benjamin Netanyahu Tweeted about, “senior Israeli civil servants who’ve devoted themselves to the Wexner Foundation are protecting it with all their might.” Founded by Leslie Wexner and his wife Abigail, it was created to help the North American Jewish Community to improve its leadership skills but then went much wider, reaching Israelis of excellence to do the same. Why, in the middle of the Corona Crisis would the PM pick on Wexler? One of the finest Israeli journalists Alon Ben David, who studied in Harvard thanks to the Wexler Scholarship explains https://www.jpost.com/opinion/israels-public-sector-is-under-attack-opinion-634214
So what have you been up to? Do you call it “lockdown” which is rather a depressing name, “isolation” which is even worse, “quarantine” like an animal with rabies, “seclusion” is probably the most user friendly and allows one to feel a bit more special! I have no problem holding meetings on Zoom, I even cope with chatting on WhatsApp but not hugging and kissing is really hard. What are your pet peeves of Corona times? Perhaps the runners who don’t need to wear a mask but pant into the air as they race past?
We’ve had many video clips sent in to the TV stations about police brutality on those who don’t wear masks. Some are really brutal and should be prosecuted but others are because the idiots refuse to show their ID cards, resist, when showing their ID’s would have brought a warning to wear a mask! It’s really hard on the police who on top of their regular fight with crime now have to be the mask-watchdogs of Israel.
I’m doing really well! Very little pain which I assume means that the surgery was successful. I am beginning to wander around, yesterday we were at the large supermarket by 08:00 and completed our shop and were back in the car by 08:45 –having used the Alcogel when leaving the supermarket. I must say that I felt as if I was playing hooky from school! I tried shopping on line at the same supermarket but unfortunately they have a 4-5 day wait for delivery!
Sitting out on the veranda has become an even greater joy than ever before. As our movements become more limited and I can’t wax lyrical about the view from Samuel’s Tomb I have begun really studying what lays before me as far as the eye can see.
Right near to us is the village of Malha, its Biblical name is Manahat, a village deserted by its resident in 1948 and later the empty homes were used to house Iraqi and Kurdish Jews who were thrown out of Iraq. Incidentally, every home of every family who fled this land during the 1948 War of Independence is written and logged so that the families can receive compensation as opposed to the Jewish land, businesses and homes in Lebanon or Jordan at that same period. In fact there has never been compensation or recognition of the loss of property for any of the nearly 900,000 Jews who were exiled from Arab lands.
To my right Gilo, or rather the northern half of Gilo stands atop the next hill, rather like a waterfall of glistening white buildings, broken only by the tiny Arab neighbourhood of Sharafat, reaching Beit Tsafafa in the foreground and above on the next hill, surrounded by trees, is Ramat Rachel, the famous kibbutz https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramat_Rachel. Swinging left one reaches the apartment towers of Arnona and the industrial area of Talpiot and residential East Talpiot. Baka with its beautiful architecture and the German Colony https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Colony,_Jerusalem , then it all disappears behind the Holyland Apartment Project.
The “Dr. Dan’s Room” project at Shalva has reached its phenomenal climax beating our target. You guys are amazing and the Music Therapy Room will be bigger and better than we dreamed filled with appropriate musical instruments. I know Daniel would have loved this project and the children and young adults who will benefit from it. Just a reminder of why I chose Shalva to honour my Daniel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjcgIeMVwcA
If you ever had any doubt that we are one big family then listen to this wonderful song, which I have played before but this time with translation. Shevet Achim ve Achyot – a Tribe of Brothers and Sisters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBLAlJ5s1Aw
A reminder that Jews are not all white with long beards! Our Eurovision entry this year sadly didn’t reach the vast millions it should have but it’s a message is just as powerful and the singer, Eden Elene, just as beautiful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWMeV3xXuDQ
To Life, To Life L’Chaim! What a joyous song, exactly what the doctor ordered today! I just got it from the lovely Nathalie Frischer who was for their years at Carmel College, Daniel’s singing partner in so many duets. Thank you for making me smile my love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgULXwBO9Qw&feature=youtu.be
Be strong, don’t lose your faith in the future because this too will pass
I wish you a good shabbes, a wonderful weekend, good health and remember that love comes in many forms and a phone call from a friend or family member means more than fine words and air kisses.
With all my love from the most incredible city in the world.