11th March 2021
Shabbat Shalom everyone. I hope this missive finds you well and inoculated, not only against Covid but against the idiocies of a modern world.
For some reason, some of the finest literature is being force off the shelves because of the way people are portrayed. Nobody seems to understand that literature is the diary of our history and most books cannot be looked at with today’s moral codes or eyes. I have not heard a word about Shakespeare’s portrayal of Shylock or Dickens of Fagin, yet wonderful books like Uncle Tom’s Cabin are deemed racist………. but the times were racist and the book depicts the time it was written in – that’s history. The latest books to come under the PC axe are, wait for it, Dr. Seuss! When literature is censored by the politically correct it has gone too far, one can change the future but not by wiping out the past. I cannot see the difference between “Beloved” or “The Butler” and Uncle Tom all of which tell the sad aspect of a period in American history.
Talking of racism, I have to mention the one sided Meghan & Harry interview in which Meghan accused the Royal family of racism (although she said the Queen was “very nice to her”. She conveniently forgot that the title Prince is given only to the children of the present monarch or the children of the future monarch. Just in case you have all forgotten it was Harry who dressed up as a Nazi, swastika armband and all and Harry who called another soldier in his unit a “Paki” (derogatory name for a person from Pakistan) and the Palace had to cover up his stupidity. I thought the whole thing was slanderous and Meghan’s greatest acting role. Zvi claims I am a Royalist, that’s not my problem, I just feel the entire attack was unwarranted, slanderous and she felt safe because the Palace would not respond. Enough of that!
Israeli’s are more and more confused as the elections near. The polls show huge shifts every time one looks and the sense of uncertainty is pushing your average voter toward the familiar even though they cry for change. There are only two parties that answer my prayers for Israel’s future, the only ones that do not have interests that will lead to internecine fighting and hatred. I want a government that cares for the whole, not one that will perpetuate the rift.
Some voices repeat the same mantra, the same hate cant, as long as it is against Israel or Jews in general. He wasn’t able to go to the Friends of the IDF function but promised to contribute instead and now Stevie Wonder has been awarded the Wolf Prize for his contribution to music and society at large. As one who has followed him since he was “Little” and went to his shows in London and two of his shows in Israel, I was so excited. Like a Jack in the Box, the vile Roger Waters jumped on his familiar bandwagon and demanded that Stevie Wonder both withdraw his contribution and decline the Wolf Prize and threatened a smear campaign if he doesn’t. I really hope that Wonder will not be bullied because he really deserves that Prize which emanates from Israel.
PM Netanyahu was scheduled to fly to Abu Dhabi today and King Abdullah was supposed to visit the Temple Mount but both were cancelled after Jordan refused to allow the PM’s aeroplane to fly over Jordanian air space. A serious and troubling turn around.
I met Salaam Fayyad in Jenin many years ago, when invited by the exceptional Malcolm Hoenlein. Fayyad was then the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. He impressed me enormously as he laid out his detailed plan for economic growth in the PA. His aim was to create an independent economy as opposed to a dependent economy. Soon afterwards, dejected, he left the world of politics, but now he is one of the candidates to take over from Mahmoud Abbas. Sadly his chances are slim and the PA will continue to be a parasite nation supported by the countries of the world and YOUR taxes. Thank heaven, we at www.impact-se.org are working to change their hate education into real education, teaching tolerance of the other, which has met with the expected adamant response. I repeat, your tax money is going to pay for the schools, UNWRA and teaching hatred.
Oh thee of little faith! This week President Biden sent B52 bomber to show the Iranians that he is not prepared to accept their threats. It will be interesting to see if he will cave to the enormous pressure of Europe or stand up to his instincts. He also came out against the ICC’s intended prosecution of the IDF.
Life is slowly returning to some semblance of normality. We are still with masks and distancing is recommended with strangers, in shops and malls for instance, but the restaurants have opened, as have hotels, with clear rules about hygiene, and hotel dining halls and buffets have opened too, but in order to go to a hotel one must first have a green pass – given 10 days after ones second vaccination –or a recent antibodies test. In fact children are still not allowed inside restaurants although allowed outside, which as you can imagine, an innately child obsessed country has caused uproar, and allowed to hotels only if the children have had Covid tests.
It feels very strange to realise that in the last several months, every time Israel is mentioned in the media it is in a positive manner. Admittedly they tried to blame us for the lack of inoculation in the PA but then we inoculated all the Palestinian workers who cross into Israel each day – 100,000 of them, and gave the PA several thousand for themselves. It feels good to be recognised as an example to the world. We had a short lived positive period with the publishing of “Start-up Nation” but this feels really good.
Yesterday, first thing in the morning, my beautiful grandson Yosef and his cousin Nadav, under the watchful eye of their Saba Nachshon, went up north to swin in the Sea of Galilee, the Kinneret. For the first time 16 year old Yosef was in charge of the “mangal”, barbequing chicken fillets for his Grandpa! From the Kinneret they drove further north to Aunt Hannah’s Kibbutz where they visited the animals. This morning they went right up north to Gan Hashlosha in Sachne where the children jumped into the waterfall and swam in the cool waters.
The weather has been really weird. It has been really cool, yes I know everything is relative, but yesterday the temperature suddenly went up to 27-28C with glorious sunshine. In anticipation of tonight’s heavy rain and extreme temperature drop, washing lines, fences and walls around the country were covered in duvets, pillows and rugs hanging out in the glorious sunshine to air. Some apartment buildings looked as if they were covered in fluffy down duvets hanging over the verandas. Yes, it’s Pesach (Passover) cleaning time again! Every household is a flurry of activity, what is known in the rest of the world as spring cleaning is known in the Jewish world as Pesach cleaning – yes folks, something else we can be blamed for!!!
It was so exciting this week with the opening of restaurants and I have been watching the coffee shop opposite come back to life. During the past year Galia, the owner, managed to build a business of breakfast boxes containing wonderful breads, spreads and shakshuka, but it looked so sad without customers. This week she opened and tonight I saw the first birthday party to be held with tables bedecked with decorations and balloons, children sitting at their own table outside and parents and grandparents inside, coming out frequently for hugs and the longed for kisses that they missed so much. It was a glorious sight. It felt like a return to celebrations……to sound really corny, it felt like smiles returned to the neighborhood.
For the many who cannot come to Israel yet – only Israeli citizens with Green Passes can come in still – there are several really good guided tours on line. Well worth checking out. Here are a few
The Israel Museum, rated one of the top 10 museums in the world, has wonderful virtual tours https://www.imj.org.il/en/events/museum-closed-come
Israel 21c provides a plethora of virtual tours all over Israel https://www.israel21c.org/cant-visit-israel-come-on-a-gorgeous-virtual-tour-instead/
The JNF does scheduled, free tours. Well worth checking them out. https://www.jnf.org/visit-israel/jnf-virtual-tours-to-israel
I love this season, the erratic weather and the daily surprises as wild flowers show their glory, almond blossom, puffs of pink clouds on the hillsides along the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, flashes of crimson giving away the hiding place of the “Calaniot” while the shy wild cyclamen peek out from behind the rocks. The narcissus, a true herald of spring, has defied my neglect and given me the gift of its heady scent every morning as I sit outside on the famous veranda, sip my coffee and take in the view.
Music. Did you know that it takes me longer to choose your music than to write the missive! Nothing but the best for you.
Zvi’s choir, Hakol Yachassi, is made up of everything from professors and judges, handymen and nurses, accountants and teachers, Sefardi, Ashkenazi and Mizrachi…..in other words the range Israeli society, sometimes they sing in Yiddish, Hebrew, Spanish or in this case Ladino “Israel Mio” My Israel, composed by Eli Yaron https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oZfs4WjDpU
Shlomi Shabat nearly died of Covid just a few months ago but is slowly fighting his way back to health. Here he sings a beautiful dedication to Jerusalem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kQCTlFuCqQ
I have played Al Kol Eleh – Above all this – in all its forms and renditions but this one is spectacular and my favourite. It also has subtitles! Koolulam and Shlomi Shabat together, it doesn’t get better https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxzR9Z-kG6Q
I wish you a good Shabbat, in this weeks Torah reading we learn how Moses set out rules of Shabbat to the Children of Israel and how to build a place of worship. Tradition so strong it has passed down thousands of years.
Remember that this too will pass. Let’s just concentrate on being well and keeping our hope for better times.
With love from Jerusalem