The view from my veranda

Chag Purim Sameach


Chag Purim Sameach!!!!

A friend went to see “Waltz with Bashir” in the Smadar Cinema in the German Colony of Jerusalem. The audience was visibly sinking lower and lower in their seats and the silence at the end was total. Suddenly a man stood up

“I am an Arab and I don’t understand. You sink in your seats in shame yet it is clear from the movie and the facts that YOU have nothing to be ashamed of. Why should you be ashamed when you are the attacked not the attacker”

One of these days we will understand that we are the solution, not the problem.

Corrections on the initial details of the excavator attack on Thursday. The attacker was not an Israeli citizen; he came from Beit Hanina, an entirely Christian village just outside Jerusalem until 10 years ago, now 60% Moslem, but had a yellow ID card giving him a work permit. One of the policemen inside the car was in fact an Israeli Arab from Jabel Mukaber – which proves that one should never jump to conclusions. The police car was thumped with the shovel of the digger twice, and then lifted in the air before being dropped to the ground and shoved, by the digger, across the wide road and the central reservation, into a bus. The bus was not empty, as first reported, but filled with youngsters in Purim dress. Miraculously the two policemen suffered just cuts and bruises and none of the children was hurt – although 3 bystanders were taken to hospital suffering from shock. The drivers family claimed it was a simple traffic accident, however, the CCTV cameras – there to catch anyone jumping the lights- caught the whole thing on video! Even the BBC cannot change that news item to blame us – though they tried!

Tonight is Purim, not yet Shushan Purim, but Purim nonetheless – time to read Migilat Esther – the story of Esther! Chag Purim Sameach!

Children go to school dressed in a wild array of costumes. These days very few are dressed as Queen Esther and Mordechai – only in the religious schools and even then few of them!!! The favourite costume this year for small boys is a rather incongruous gorilla!!! Maybe they think that there are enough Haman’s out there already? The more one thinks about it the more obvious it becomes that Purim is probably the most relevant festival to today’s situation. The more one thinks about it the more obvious it becomes that “they” are still trying to annihilate us and the more miraculous it is that we are still here!

The Adloyada is a huge Purim festival in which the children dress up, there are huge parades and everyone has fun. “Adloyada” I didn’t understand what the name meant until I separated the words AD LO YEDA – until he will not know. On Purim one is supposed to become tipsy – not drunk – just tipsy, until one cannot tell the difference between evil and good – between Haman and Mordechai. While outwardly a strange tradition it actually emphasises yet again the Jewish determination not to hate, not even those who would see our destruction. So once one is sufficiently tipsy that one cannot tell the difference between Hamas, ooops I mean Haman and Mordechai one can read the Story of Esther without hate. In synagogues around the world as the Story of Esther is read the children are encouraged to make a noise with a “gregger” or noisemaker every time the name Haman is read, which keeps them listening and on their toes for this once a year opportunity to be rowdy!

Tonight Zvi and I will dress for a tango evening in red and black at the big Purim bash to be held at the Biblelands Museum in aid of the Israel Cancer Research Fund. It looks like great fun!!!

Yesterday was International Women’s Day and tomorrow is Shushan Purim when we celebrate that day so long ago when a brave lady called Esther chose to risk her life and reputation to save her people in the city of Shushan, Persia. Shushan Purim is celebrated only in walled cities, although these days’ people believe that it is only celebrated in Jerusalem – Jericho was of course also walled but since it is in the PA there are no Jews there to celebrate anyway – Joshua ruined that idea!! Jerusalem children are thrilled at an extra day’s holiday from school and the streets are filled with wondrous Disney characters, fairies, gorillas and pirates as they carefully carry the “Mishloach Manot” literally “sent portions” of gifts of sweets and Haman hat shaped cookies to all their friends. Zvi and I received two very special mishloach manot from Elaine and Marc Oppenheimer and from Teresa Strangeland. Both chose to give a donation rather than adding to our waistlines, the Oppenheimers to Meir Panim and Teresa to One Family who then give mishloach manot to those who need it far more than we.

After the disgraceful Swedish demonstrations which led the Swedes to fear for the safety of the Israeli players, the Davis Cup match between Israel and Sweden was played before an empty stadium. The incitement of the Mayor of Malmo Ilmar Reepalu and the sheer hatred expressed by the large Moslem population of Sweden’s second city almost caused the games to be scratched – but….ISRAEL BEAT SWEDEN 3-2 IN THE DAVIS CUP AND WE’RE THROUGH TO THE QUARTER FINALS!!!! Swedish newspapers stated that the win was well deserved and the behaviour of the Swedes was a disgrace to that country. In September the Russian team will come to Israel to play for a place in the semi-finals, but whatever happens we must be very proud that our team is one of the eight best national teams in the world.

With love