The view from my veranda

Day 7, Almost Shabbat.

Day 7

Friday the 13th of October 2023

Before I wish you a Shabbat shalom, please, please, take care wherever you are in the world. Hamas has declared a worldwide Day of Rage and as we have seen, they mean it. It has seeped into our highest institutions of higher education, Harvard, Stanford and disinformation is working. Now, now is the moment to stand up to ensure that never again is not just empty words.

Yes, this is me, the ever-optimistic friend, the one who always lifts your spirits, but sometimes I have to be a realist as well. This is not the time for complacency, it’s the time for action. Since we are not a violent people, let’s use that power that all our enemies claim we have. Reach people in high places, threaten to withdraw your financial support of universities, colleges and even museums that express support for our enemies – it’s time.

Am I angry? Yes of course I am seething. Our Chief of Staff has asked for the forgiveness of the people, admitting that terrible mistakes were made, omissions that ultimately led to a massacre; yet, yesterday in the Knesset, at the special session to swear the new Cabinet Members in, nobody thought to stand for a minutes silence or sing Hatikva! Our Prime Minister has not admitted at any point that he made horrific mistakes – unlike Golda, who immediately resigned after the Yom Kippur War. Netanyahu has postured, orated but not a word of honesty or admission of misjudgment. Just a week before the horrors of last week he came to an agreement with Hamas, more money in exchange for quiet! Of course, I’m angry, most of all that he is incapable of admitting his own frailties, he is so busy passing the blame to anyone and everyone. If you want to be a leader you have to know that the Buck stops with you.

Phew, that was exhausting, ranting is not my way, but I needed you to understand. In the latest polls Benny Gantz’s party will get 41 seats in the Knesset and Likud (Bibi) just 19. The people he let down, the residents of the South, are his traditional voter base and they have had enough.

Now, for my sanity and yours, I must get back to the normal tone of my missives, back to recognising that life’s cycle continues, that this week we go back to reading the Torah portion, back to the beginning, back to Genesis. So many lives need to start over with a new reality it is perhaps fitting that it starts with the Torah.

There was a meeting this week, a very important emergency meeting of hundreds of Imams who condemned the actions of Hamas, the massacre – Black Sabbath. They make it very clear that Hamas is anti-Islam in its cruelty and oppression. Moslems around the world, even those who are utterly against the state of Israel, are horrified.

Anthony Blinken arrived in Israel. He took a while to emerge from Air Force One and then went immediately to Jerusalem where he stood before the world and said that he does so not only as the Secretary of State of the United States but as a Jew, a Jew who lost family in the Holocaust, whose father fled the ravages of the pogroms of Eastern Europe and that the USA and President Biden will not allow it to happen again. Indeed, he went to the collection centre of donated goods that Israelis put together in Tel Aviv and sang Hatikvah with the hundreds of volunteers present. This American President is with us he is with us on every level and I become angry with those who claim he is unable to lead; he is a true leader who speaks clearly and loudly of his loyalty to this tiny country and I salute him for it. His warnings to Hezb-Allah are loud and clear and I have no doubt that he will abide by his promises.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was raised in the Hindu faith which undoubtedly brought him to promise total support, in whatever form that Israel needs.

Piers Morgan is a British newsman and political commentator, unafraid and bold, here he interviews Ben Shapiro, Jew. Ben Shapiro not only describes what we all know he puts forward the information that we need to know. Please listen

Yesterday was baking day on our estate. Virtually every home emanated wonderful aromas of cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla as we all baked, putting our hearts into it.  At 14:00 we will merge outside Mia’s apartment on the other side of the central lawn, ready to load onto a truck to take our produce to an army base to give the soldiers a Shabbat treat. It may seem something small but each cake, or in my case box of home-made cookies, comes with a love note to the recipient. Why did I decided to make cookies instead of the requested cakes? Because my beautiful grand-daughter Talia asked me to make her favourite cookies and give them with her love. Who could resist such a request?

I am so proud of ordinary Israelis. Whether baking, making challot for Shabbat, collecting clothes, shoes and cosmetics of every nature both for soldiers who raced to enlist without taking anything from home and for the families who have lost everything, everything in the kibbutzim and villages around the Gaza Border. We can’t replace their homes; we can’t bring back the family and friends that were brutally murdered but we can make their everyday life a fraction more bearable.

Zvi has left for his parliament, just up the road, because above all we need to be with friends, with loved ones, with others who understand our feelings.  Here at home, apart from the baking aromas, every household is also preparing Shabbat meals. Yes, life must go on and even if we are alone tonight, most of us stay close to home and many homes are without their children or husbands who have either been called up or volunteered as reservists to fight alongside their comrades in arms, the Shabbat meal will go ahead. Indeed, I have a request, please, Jew and non-Jew alike, let’s light the Shabbat Candles this week, tonight. Make it a gesture, to honour those who lost their lives to the unthinkable cruelty, to the hostages and to the families they leave behind. Take two candles, it can be on a plate or in candlesticks, it is irrelevant, cover your eyes meditate quietly, light the candles and say the blessing

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.

Blessed are You, our God, Ruler of the world, who sanctifies us with good deeds and calls upon us to kindle the lights of Shabbat.

I want to leave you with this song, written by Mark Knopfler, a Jewish lad from the UK. Whether Brothers in Arms was written for the IDF is not certain, but I believe so. May our soldiers, police, border guards, fire service, all of them and more, please come home safely

As the Shabbat prayer says, “May God bless you and keep you far from harm”

With love and always