The view from my veranda

Day 16. I must find a better title

Day 16

22nd October 2023

Shalom. That oh so Israeli greeting, its actual meaning is peace although it can be hello, goodbye, adieu, see you, in fact just about every greeting, but its origin is peace, that oh so elusive element to a good life.

I have many friends, old and young, who are either based in the South, in the Eshkol region, as reservists, soldiers, journalists and volunteers and each of them tells that there is an all pervading smell, odour, that sickens the heart; the self-same smell that I smelled when I got to Manhattan, to see my children straight after 9/11. It is as if it stays in your nose, an offence to one’s olfactory senses, an offence to one’s soul, to one’s humanity. Just as Kristallnacht was the precursor of the Shoah, the intention of Hamas is to make Black Shabbat the precursor of wiping out the Jews.

Since there have been rockets over the North of Israel, we have discovered that it is predominantly instigated by Hamas in Lebanon, something I didn’t know previously, believing it was only a Hezb-Allah stronghold. Another thing I hadn’t realised is that whereas I thought it was only Hamas in Gaza, in his research Joe Truzman  finds many names. Al-Aqsa Martyrs, Jaysh Al-Ummah, Jaysh Al-Islam Gaza, Palestinian Mujahadeen and the most incorrectly named Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, all under the gory, blood-stained umbrella of ISIS.

Israel’s security prisoners are often behind the planning of the most heinous attacks and transmitting their orders through their cell phones. Because we are a democratic state we must obey international laws concerning political and security prisoners. They are allowed prayer meetings and conjugal visits, however, we cut off the electricity to the security prisoners here in Israel because if there’s no electricity they have no cell phones because they can’t charge them! Clever eh?

Our lovely Shelly came to visit us today with her Daddy Valeri. She looked so beautiful in her uniform and we got to here more of what she is doing in the army as a reservist. She is in charge of young, less experienced soldiers and paramedics, sending them wherever they may be needed, to whomsoever needs them. She was in the South but is now in the North. When they are not needed they also teach maths and English, basic studies in poor areas. So proud of her.

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles the BBC has actually extended an apology over the misinformation about the hospital in Gaza and their refusal to call Hamas terrorists despite the British law declaring so. I believe that the tsunami of complaints that reached the government through played its part but understand, please, that the BBC, although it receives all of the TV licence money, does not answer to anyone, especially not the government.

I was born in Britain and proud of the fact that Britain opened her doors to Jews leading up to, during and after the Holocaust where other countries simply closed the gates. Britain has been haven for refugees as virtually no other country; not as foreign workers but accepted citizens from the former commonwealth. Today that generosity is coming back to slap Britain in the face as thousands upon thousands yell free Palestine. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has received innumerable death threats because of his undaunting support for Israel.

Israeli superstar Noa Kirel, who herself served in the IDF, has raised an incredible $30 million for the IDF. They plan to buy essential ambulances and equipment. Superstar in every way.

Our friend Yaron Tzidkiyahu, whose family have led the stallholders of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market for decades, announced today, in a television interview, that in a combined effort by everyone over 30,000 meals had already been given out. He also said that any of the families who are in various hotels in the city should come to the market and they will get whatever they want at cost.

I have repeatedly written about Impact-se and our wonderful CEO Marcus Sheff who has taken on the role of Major M. Sheff spokesman for the IDF to the English speaking media. His understanding of the hate education in Gaza helps. I am so proud of him. Here he explains much of what has confused or angered us.

I am trying to balance between positive and negative, precious good news and frequent bad news. I don’t want to depress you, I want to help you to understand that we are all, even those who have lost entire families, doing our best to get the message across. In between the 24/7 news reports well known actors are talking to the people, reminding us all that there is help, not to be afraid to ask for assistance, be it physical or psychological, with telephone numbers of the various government and voluntary organisations. Everyone is pulling their weight, in whatever manner they possibly can, we are all in this together. Zvi has been volunteering in our local “Hamal”, if you remember that’s the local emergency centre. I think he’s actually disappointed that they decided that women and men over a certain age are not accepted to patrol the narrow lanes of our village, so he volunteers to man the screens of the security cameras strategically placed throughout. What is interesting is that each time he is paired with someone different and suddenly people from our estate are meeting people from the old “Yishuv” of Motza. From disturbing necessity new friendships are born.

Have you ever seen the podcasts and videos of Yosef Haddad? Here he is in Aukland University where during registration one young woman represented the Palestinian Club. He asks her about Israeli apartheid, about which she knows nothing, indeed she basically knows nothing and only at the end he reveals that he is an Arab Israeli.

To sum up today’s missive I want to send you a message from the children in Israel. Stand By Me –

So again, I sign off. With any luck there won’t be any news tomorrow, or only good news that can wait a day. I promise to keep you appraised of any and everything that is of importance, good and bad, but hopefully more good than bad. Gosh that was a muddled sentence but then my brain is scrambled egg at the moment; Israeli don’t know what to think or how the think, we are still numbed, traumatised by the horror of two weeks ago which keeps on revealing even greater, even more horrific truths. We all appear to be functioning, thank heaven this is a society which cares, cares for each other so that we can forget, or push aside our own tragedies as we look to care for those with even greater ones.

This song was recorded during Covid, during isolation, but in many ways it suits our situation in Israel right now, that sense of isolation. We need you, we need your love, just as we need each other.

With love