The view from my veranda

Elections here and there

13th December, 2019


Gut Shabbes! Good Shabbes, Shabbat Shalom! Proud to be an Ex-Pat Brit! Happy, happy Friday 13th!


O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive

Sir Walter Scott


Yesterday’s vote was a landslide victory for British values, so sadly eroded over the last year. I knew deep down that the inherited memory of the British people would win through.

It was a hard choice for many who do not want Johnson’s Brexit plans, but could not imagine Corbyn’s leadership. Corbyn not only befriended Israel’s enemies but lauded IRA leaders, inviting them to Parliament!! No, Brits don’t forget.


The British political parties are not exactly as their names suggest. The Conservative (Tory) Party isn’t necessarily conservative, in fact it is centre right! The Labour Party was formed to protect the rights of the working classes with many aristocrats taking up the flag but has become centre left (until Corbyn). The Lib-Dems, once the Liberal Party is generally an intellectual left, once a major party called the Whigs (remember Whigs and Tories?).


This mornings (almost) final results. Conservative 361 seats; Labour 203; Scottish National 48; Liberal Democrats 11.  Brits understood that a vote for the Lib-Dems would take away from beating Corbyn. Corbyn is finished and his “tropes” with him.


One favour, please! While celebrating, don’t use the phrase Hip Hip Hurrah!!  It is a middle-age Latin battle-cry “Hieroslyma est perdita’, which means “Jerusalem is fallen” or “Jerusalem is lost”.  This was later shortened by Germanic tribes fighting Jews to “Hep Hep Hu-raj”, meaning loosely “Jerusalem is fallen and we are on the way to paradise.”  Understood?


Sadly too many of the Nazi lies about Jews have surfaced in politics, be it the UK, USA and so many other countries it scares me. Hmmm. Perhaps everyone should watch this video, you never know where your DNA leads


The United States Senate has chosen to ignore both Obama and Trump, and recognise the Armenian Genocide under the Ottomans, as a matter of foreign policy. I wish we did too. Once upon a time, BE (before Erdogan) we refused to recognise the obvious because of our relations with Turkey, but now, the posturing and treachery of Erdogan means we don’t owe him anything!


So to Israel. I wish I could explain what happened without laying blame on anyone but my apolitical stance has lost its way! I am furious! What a horrific waste of public funds! Another election! I understand the Blue and White Party’s refusal to form a coalition with a party leader who faces very serious criminal charges; am less understanding of Lieberman’s refusal to join with any Haredi or Arab Parties; am sick and tired of a Prime Minister who is willing to do anything to stay in power at the expense of the country. The Knesset gave all the parties a nice bundle of public money to fight yet another election while hospitals are crying out for money to give basic treatments in the rush of elderly patients this winter. I am furious!


Yet another racially motivated attack in the USA, this time in New Jersey. When will it stop? Not as long as University Campuses allow hate speech as a right! Free speech has become the abuse of a law too loose to prevent incitement to hatred! Wait, let me back-step a minute. President Trump tried to identify Jews as a nation which, of course brought forth all the ire of “liberal” America, but wait, to invoke racial slurs against a nation is against US law, thus overcoming the whole free speech loophole. Please, watch this, no of course it isn’t Trump – Rudy Rochman explains why Jewish identity should be seen more as a national one.


A very important change has taken place on the Temple Mount. Ignored by the WAKF, allowed by the Israeli police, Jews have quietly, inconspicuously, been praying on the Temple Mount. A herald of hope? Perhaps one day we will pray side by side.


Sara Idan represented Iraq in the 2017 Miss Universe competition, took a selfie with Miss Israel and had her Iraqi citizenship revoked. That’s the sad part but today, Sara Idan is an activist for Israel and for Jewish refugees from Arab countries and 2 weeks ago spoke at a large event  organised by JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa), attended by ambassadors from around the world and UN officials in the United Nations.


Last week I told you I was going to see the new premises for the Yuri Shtern Holistic Centre for out-patients and their families on Sunday, well, I went! Oh my goodness me! First of all the building is at least twice the size of our current cramped premises, an old, beautifully kept, apartment in the German Colony with gorgeous tiled floors and domed ceilings it was bought by an entrepreneur who hopes to make the entire building into a boutique hotel but in the meantime was happy to let us have the ground floor apartment at a special rent. It is disabled accessible with a small garden which will serve as a contemplative oasis, with patients planting flowers and tending trees, so important for the soul.


Just 8 of us gathered, with a very special guest of honour, Yair, who proudly placed the Mezuzah (prayer on the entry door jamb). Yair told us his story, tears running down his cheeks “I was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cancer and I gave up, unconsciously decided not to fight back, the word cancer meant inevitable death to me. Then one day the people from the Yuri Shtern Centre came to me in hospital and I became part of the family – I realised that with help I could fight back and fight back I did. I am here today and doing well. I can never ever thank you enough” The ultimate moment was when Yair leant forward, his head on the Mezuza in silent prayer, Sivan, who runs the outpatients centre, lay her hands on his shoulders and Lena Shtern, our founder, lay her hands on Sivan’s shoulders – wow! The new Centre will allow at least twice as many patients, room for training new therapists, a quiet space for psychotherapy and for the therapists to relax and receive counselling. There is a long way to go, we need lots of donations to complete the blessed work but as word of the incredible work travels it will come.


On Tuesday the wonderful Gloria Goldstein came to Jerusalem, first and foremost to see her beautiful little grandson, but also so we could spend time together. We had lunch in Caffit, this time in the German Colony and Gloria was fascinated by the amazing architecture and history of the area, much of which was seen while searching for a parking spot! Once home to the Templers and German Pilgrims to Jerusalem, even Adolph Eichmann spent time here! The German Templers were thrown out during WW2 by the British Mandate and the German names of the streets were changed to Wedgewood, Cremieux, Lloyd George etc.  After a delightful chatty lunch we met Sivan and visited the new Yuri Shtern premises which Gloria loved as much as I.


A message to the wonderful ladies of Hadassah, present and past Presidents, the cancer patients of Hadassah Hospital are not given access, the oncology departments do not tell the patients about the Centre! Please persuade them to talk to the oncology department heads of Shaare Zedek! As Dr. Ora Rosengarten who runs the out-patients oncology treatment centre of Shaare Zedek said “The therapies offered by the Yuri Shtern Centre make a huge difference to my patients and work even better than medical cannabis!”


We had some glorious rain again this week, real rain not what Zvi’s Mum used to call “chippy-chippy”! The wadis in the North are gushing with the flood waters and the road to the Dead Sea is blocked by the usual torrents as the rain waters of Jerusalem flow down the 1,200 feet to the lowest open air point on earth! Ashkelon and Tel Aviv had floods as usual, yet another advantage of living in Jerusalem! The rainclouds made for spectacular sunrise each day, changing as morning breaks through. I love this time of day. It’s well worth waking early to follow the changing light, as the outlines of the buildings become clearer and the skies change from bright red, to orange and as the sun peeps over the horizon, the clouds glistening as the sun reflects back on their steamy surface. It’s a bit cold to sit out on the veranda with my coffee and newspaper, but I take a little wander around to check the flowers, still blooming happily, enjoying their break from the searing summer sun.


The birds are grateful for the bursting pomegranates that I leave on the tree as a gift to them for their glorious display. Shimmering iridescent black Tsufit, bright green parakeets and simple sparrows feast on the wild fruits of the empty lot beside us, yes I love this season!


Oh, oh, I spoke too soon. A huge dust/sand storm suddenly settled over the city, although I can still make out the outlines the buildings beneath us I don’t know for how long. Apparently it’s going to get worse, we may have a beach on our veranda after all!


I don’t know where or when this took place, but I love this rendition of the Prayer for the IDF, sent to me by the lovely Roy Salomon


So you thought you know Hava Nagila? Old hat? Not that song again? Try this one by Gad Elbaz!!


Uziya Zadok was just 13 when he sang When the Heart Cries – Shema Yisrael, the pain is so strong, let it end. I dare you not to cry


One of the most joyous days of my life was when Stephanie became Gideon’s bride. I can’t remember how many years because I can’t imagine our life without Steph in it. Happy anniversary to you both, thank you for giving us Sammy, Olivia and Zacky. I won’t get mushy because Gideon will not be thrilled, but you make a phenomenal team.


I wish you a wonderful weekend, time to be quiet and just be yourselves. We are home tonight, just the two of us. I will have Zvi’s beautiful Kiddush (blessing over the wine) all to myself! I’m not going anywhere, not even to my beautiful grandchildren. My life has not gone where I thought it would, people are often not what pretend to be but I am happy, happy that I have you, my friends, who consider my ramblings and return my love. Thank you


Shabbat Shalom from both of us, from our home to yours.