The View From My Veranda
Sheila's Letter From Jerusalem
11th June 2021
Shabbat Shalom! Do you realise that it’s already nearly half way through 2021? Where on earth has the time gone?
When my generation hears “Scorched Earth Policy” We think of Vietnam, Cambodia and a dreadful guerrilla war. Now when I think of scorched earth I think of the Hamas policy of burning swathes of farmland and parkland in the South by launching party balloons with incendiary devices attached and now, now they are burning swathes of forestation around Jerusalem. Tsur Hadassah twice, Kibbutz Maaleh ha Hamisha, all right near us. The stench of burning trees is still in the air, the smuts still falling on our veranda, which means that yet again the arsonists are at work. The media keeps talking about “settlements” but these fires are in a part of Israel that was ratified by the United Nations in 1947, a part of Israel, not the “occupied territories” nor the “disputed territories” and it makes me so angry. Israel is the only country in the world that increases the number of trees planted in any given year and those who want us gone, gone from Israel, gone from everywhere, destroy, they never build, they just destroy.
The new government is nearly in place and those who are used to power, power that has caused terrible rifts in the Israeli society, are lashing out with inane claims. Several Haredi leaders have demanded that Naftali Bennet remove his Kippa since he does not represent Judaism; frankly even though his politics are right of mine his Judaism is right on the mark! The extreme right and the Haredim no longer have governmental representation, they no longer rule the roost and they are very angry at the loss of control. This future government will indeed be led by a right winger but all decision will be taken in consultation with the entire cabinet, a cabinet which represents a wide ranging set of views, conceivably the most democratic government anywhere in the world since it is not a party based group, but rather a cross-section of Israeli society. I cannot tell you how happy I am to see the round table discussions taking place by the Bennet/Lapid/Gantz/Michaeli potential ministers. Instead of the familiar and disturbing angry, raised voices they talk and even laugh and smile together! Naftali Bennet can keep his kippa, after all he is a Jew, a liberal minded observant Jew.
Talking of Kippa (skullcap) Holland chose “kippa day” when everyone was asked to wear a kippa, Jews, Moslems and Christians. Hate crimes, bullying, racism is on the rise and they wisely decided that if everyone wears a kippa then nobody is picked upon. Here in Israel we worry about you, really worry about the horrific situation which a too complacent society, wherever you are, believes that it will not get worse. It will unless some very strong measures are taken against the “woke” crowd, the mouthpieces of hatred, those who stupidly believe the Goebbels methods of Hamas/ISIS/Iran etc; they believe because they are either self-hating Jews or anti-Semites.
Brenda Katten is an amazing lady, a natural leader, unafraid to speak her mind, always with grace never with rancour. Please read her op-ed about the rise in anti-Semitism in today’s Jerusalem Post. https://www.jpost.com/opinion/in-the-wake-of-gazas-rockets-global-antisemitism-skyrockets-opinion-670589
Following the exposure of the long awaited EU report on Palestinian textbooks earlier this week by German newspaper BILD, policymakers have called to make the report public. IMPACT-se obtained a copy of the report, which found that Palestinian textbooks contain antisemitism, incite children to hatred and violence and delegitimize the State of Israel. Initially commissioned in 2019, the final report has been delayed for two years and has still not been made public. The implications are clear, the refusal to publish should be construed as Anti-Israel and many senior people within the EU are demanding publication. To understand the implications please read https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/06/10/unpublished-eu-report-finds-pa-textbooks-incite-to-violence-jew-hatred/
Talking of those who ignore the diabolic human rights infringements of others, even bring them on to the Human Rights Council, look at these UN facts
Israel is 0.1% of the world’s population and 73.9% of the condemnations of the UN General Assembly last year. None of these nations have been condemned. Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Pakistan, Turkey, Algeria, Hamas, Russia, China, Qatar Yup, that’s your money which funds our constant need to prove our right to exist. Think about it.
The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, presented to President Reuven Rivlin the 35th “Jerusalem Facts and Trends for 2020 – A Glimpse”; an exhaustive and highly detailed picture of the city in numbers and figures, depicting new and ongoing trends in the life of the capital and its residents, with a look at the course in the coming years. https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/jerusalem-in-2021-by-the-numbers-667356
Anyone who thinks that one cannot do anything to influence the media should take note from the United Kingdom Lawyers for Israel who have succeeded in their demand that the BBC remove several biased videos from their website. A small start but an excellent one.
We had an amazing weekend in Dimona! I never thought those words would leave my mouth! On our way down South, all of us in private cars, we stopped at a Camel farm to meet the camels and listen to a fascinating lecture on the efficacy of camel’s milk which can either be drunk or made into balms, creams and lotions. We learned that a female camel or Naka in Hebrew, which interestingly enough may be the root of the Hebrew word for breast-feeding, produces milk to order – that is if the baby isn’t nearby the milk is returned to the mammary glands. Camel’s milk is also the closest to human milk.
We then set off for the Hotel called “Tslileh ha Midbar” or Sounds of the Desert, a Moroccan designed hotel where every weekend they hold musical gatherings. After a rest, shower etc we went down to the lobby where we held a “Kabbalat Shabbat” with Kiddush (the blessing over wine” and sang beautiful Shabbat songs then into the dining hall for a delightful meal. Sated and satisfied we then sang the grace after meals and retired to the huge atrium where large Moroccan cushions were set out on the tiers, perfect for lounging! A musical director led the singing and we really had fun!
The next day we set off for the Yerucham Lake; Mamshit, a Nabatean Village only partially excavated but fascinating https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/mamshit-national-park/ ; the “Big Crater” a geological erosion crater, created by wind and water, rather than by volcanic activity….. and wound our weary way home.
Home is a different home, a beautiful home. I love this place. Whenever possible I go for my evening walk in our park with my friend Roni who moved here from Ra’anana about the same time as we moved in, in fact everybody moved here about the same time as we did give or take a month! I love the warmth of the neighbours; I love hearing the sounds of Yael’s group of flautists; the sound of children on their way to school in the mornings; the little ones enjoying the two playgrounds and the occasional concert in the beautiful big building. Stanley, one of our new neighbours is a really experienced gardener and when I told him that I can manage a big garden or a small veranda but this incredible 120 sq metre expanse has me flummoxed he has offered to help. Next week I will buy the big, beautiful planters to transfer my trees and of course lots of brightly coloured flowers!
This week’s Torah reading gives us a wonderful look into how our priests and leaders should be chosen…..well apart from the bit where the opposition is swallowed up in an abyss of fire. Korach decided that he wanted to be the new leader of the Children of Israel and gathered about 250 others to put forward his challenge of Moses decision to make Aaron a priest. They came forward to the altar offering incense as proof of their worthiness to become priests themselves, however, Korach and his buddies met their death and Aaron’s Priestly rod grew into an almond tree. Fascinating.
After a weekend singing along with the choir my head is full of the old songs, what we used to call the “Sochnut” songs so I thought you’d enjoy a trip down memory lane.
Land of Milk and Honey is a traditional, if monotonic song about the beauty and cornucopia of good things that this land gives forth. When Moses sent forth the scouts to report on what was found in the Promised Land, 10 scouts, too lazy to check their facts said it was filled with dreadful giants and horrors while only two discovered the truth “Eretz Zavat Halav”. Don’t believe the media, they don’t check their facts this is a land of Milk and Honey, just when we collect the honey we tend to get stung. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LWpTD1CVXE
Harry Belafonte sings Hinei Ma Tov – about the good of living together as a tribe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCzUWap9rm0
Hardly the traditional version but, hey, it Yaakov Shwekey!! Ma Tovu https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twlR38_dx38
Tonight David Efron is coming for supper. David is the Israeli Honorary Consul in Puerto Rico and a dear friend. He will be thrilled to find Leor, Shiri and the four girls will be here too!
I wish you a good weekend, that the only thing that burns in this beautiful land is the Shabbat Candles. I wish you health and the ability to enjoy every second of this amazing life.
With love from Jerusalem, as always in our hearts and our thoughts