The view from my veranda

Discipline, Diversity and Diplomacy

19th November 2021

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope this missive finds you well and that your country is coming out the other side of this horrible pandemic.

“Discipline your son while there is hope, but do not set your heart on his destruction”

The deep wisdom of this quote from Proverbs has implications that deepen with age like ripples on a pond. The current policy of allowing children to develop without the interference of discipline will rebound and come back on their lives and our future. Teaching one’s children boundaries will ensure their acceptance into society and an understanding that democracy means employing limitations to ensure the better of all members of society.

Why did I refer to that particular quote? What is the relevance today? The anti-vaxxers are like naughty children who are not disciplined therefore do not understand the implications of their actions on society as a whole. Austria has decided to discipline them. If you choose to refuse vaccination then you must stay home in isolation! Yes, of course it is an extreme move by the government but, on the other hand, yes, there is another hand, it will take extreme measures to rid us of this pandemic. I cannot believe that I have succeeded in writing about this issue without using the common name for SARS-2! Incidentally, an oral vaccine is on its way from Israel.

While looking through some old posts I found this photograph of an early Palestine Lire. What a surprise!

This week Israelis have been glued to their TVs following the saga of an Israeli couple who, while visiting Istanbul, Turkey, took a photograph which included Erdogan’s palace. Apparently it is banned! They were immediately arrested and held in a Turkish prison for 12 days awaiting trial. Had this happened during the previous Israeli leadership it would have been a slanging match deriding the Turkish leadership etc. etc. – a media fest – but the entire negotiations were held in camera, governmental and diplomatic silence, resulting in the release of the couple Mordi and Natalie Otkin from Modiin and their arrival home without a single member of Knesset at the airport. It would appear that finally we have a Prime Minister, indeed a Cabinet that understands the need to “save face” of leaders in this region. Interestingly, Natalie Otkin was a sworn Bibist who had written several highly derogatory posts on Facebook calling the current government insulting names, but she is now a great supporter of Bennett, Lapid and Gantz!

I couldn’t decide whether to write about the next item, not wishing to offend, but in a way it refers back to my first paragraph….and is so important to the continuity of both Judaism and Christianity. Gil Troy wrote in the Jerusalem Post

“During my recent US visit, one Jewish leader remarked: “A year-and-a-half-ago [when COVID-19 hit] young Jews stopped doing anything Jewish – and they didn’t miss it.”

Pow! “And they didn’t miss it” may be American Jewry’s epitaph. A fascinating read.

Venezuela, a once proud and oil rich nation, has fallen to the very depths of corruption and poverty. Gabriel Tasgal of “Ha Tsad Hasheni” which spreads essential news to Spanish speaking countries, told me this week that the current leadership has illegally issued 10,000 passports to Syrians and Iranians.

As you know I am unashamedly proud of two organisations, very different in their appearance but both addressing the deep concern for children and the future. One is Impact-se, of which I am Chairperson of the Board, ( The Impact team has revealed lack of tolerance in textbooks and worked with governments to improve them, but the world has concentrated on our revelations about UNWRA. Marcus Sheff (CEO) wrote an Oped on the subject. Should the USA take responsibility for UNWRA ensuring its honest brokership?

The other organisation is of course Shalva. This weekend, after Shabbat, they open their ShalvaUK challenge. Why not sign up!  

My amazing daughter Rachel surfs the net finding appropriate articles for my Shabbat Shalom! Today she sent me an article and I can’t stop smiling! The disgusting Jeremy Corbyn, former PM of the UK, has been told that he faces 10 years in prison if he meets with his “friends” of Hamas!!!Love it!

Another “surfer” is Rosa Romanovsky who found this delightful item about the current Miss Universe, a Mexican beauty, visiting Israel and Jerusalem before this year’s Miss Universe Pageant in Eilat. She is really a wonderful young woman who has her priorities right and proves what I have always said – anyone can be pretty but real beauty comes from the heart.

Many of you mention our social life! We are very Covid aware (oh no I used the word) but have worked hard to find a way to maintain our social life and our volunteer positions. On Monday I had a lovely surprise call from my lovely friend Sue who told me she had to go to the local shopping mall and hoped we could meet at BigA, a coffee shop/restaurant in the mall next to us. Of course I jumped at the chance and while we carefully wear masks in the mall we sat at tables set far apart and had a wonderful bowl of freshly made vegetable soup. It is so important to see other people, taking care to protect yourself and them, but meeting and conversing. On Tuesday I met with Dana and Betty in the Israel Museum restaurant for an absolutely delicious business lunch, really high class cuisine at a reasonable price! We caught up on all our family news, just enjoying being together. Of course, being our home Zvi and I always have “drop-in” visitors, which until now has been very simple, we entertain outside on our veranda, but we will have to find a new way of entertaining indoors – hmm, perhaps we should check everybody’s Green Pass before letting them in like they do in restaurants etc!

I am about to try an experiment to see if I can show you our veranda.

 Gosh I am getting better at this!

We have a quiet Shabbat this week, last weekend was just a bit too exciting. As we went for a long walk with Zvi’s boys and families, Zvi took a tumble on the very difficult rocky climb. Needless to say I had already decided that the climb was too difficult for me. Don’t worry it was not like the last fall, noting broken, but he is somewhat uncomfortable so we will take it gently tonight and tomorrow.

As soon as I finish talking to you lovely people I am going to go to see Rachel and the children. I love these Friday visits, love hearing all their news, what exams their rotten teachers imposed on them and that despite “not knowing a thing” they seem to get excellent results – anything from 90% to the full 100%!! Ditto in London. I managed to get both Olivia and Zachary in Gideon’s car, on speaker and was thrilled to have time to hear all their news too. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk to Joshua and Callie in New York this weekend, and of course Leor and Amiad’s families. We have a friend who calls his grandchildren “nechasim” – the Hebrew word for grandchildren is Nechadim, the Hebrew word for assets is Nechasim – so cute!!

And so to music

A song very close to my heart. Ha Ben Yakiri – My Precious Son – My son Ephraim sung by the IDF Cantor Shai Abramson and choir

Israelis come in every colour and faith. Brown, black, pink, tan, Jew, Moslem, Christian, Druze it is irrelevant, we are Israelis. The one thing we all have in common is hope, the determination that we will prevail. I know I’ve played this before but I love it! Zeh Katan Aleinu –  literally It{s Small on Us but basically “we’ve got this”

A fun, fun, Koolulam! A revolution of joy – we are all family so let’s party!!

I wish you a beautiful, peaceful weekend, a truly blessed Shabbat

With love from Motza and the view of Jerusalem


PS I’d love to hear from you! I want to know how you are and if you enjoyed this week’s missive!