The view from my veranda

Et tu Rishi

5th April, 2024

181 days since October 7th

Shabbat Shalom, Blessed Easter week and Ramadan Kareem

OK, Let’s jump right in. It was a tragedy when the World Central Kitchen truck was hit and aid workers killed. It was a tragic mistake and one that will be thoroughly investigated. We have apologised, our President Herzog has called the family members of those who died; we admitted that it was totally unintentional but dreadful. It was so far from an intentional hit and……….. wait a minute. I did my research and found that WCK volunteers were killed in Syria recently and in Ukraine some 13 were killed and……. It begs the question as to why we did not hear a word about those unfortunate souls but when it happens in Gaza, it is front line news and suddenly Mrs. Biden and even the, until now, committed Israel supporter Rishi Sunak, have turned against us. Et tu Rishi.

War is ghastly, war kills, often innocents die, but in Afghanistan and Iraq the American troops called the dead innocents caught up in war  ”collateral damage” to nullify the emotional response. I agree with those who say we must somehow bring this war to an end, but will that mean that Hamas survives and undoubtedly thrives? I have to ask you, are 7 aid workers lives worth more than 1,200 young people at a peace concert?

Iran has come out of its dark and devilish cupboard and finally made the statement that it left to its proxies until now. They are sworn to destroy this minute country, a country the size of Wales, for one reason – because we are Jews. They care not about all the Moslems and Christians here, there hatred is so singular that they only see Israel, they celebrate the changing world view of Israel as a huge success, their policy has worked on a gullible public in the West and we have become the ultimate scapegoat again.

Our world standing has changed and for this our government has to take an element of responsibility, but to blame Israel or our leaders for the insanity of the Iranian media and cyber machine onslaught which led to the enormous upswing in anti-Semitism is falling into their trap. Do you remember the poem by Pastor Neimoller about First they came for the Jews? Well the world has learned nothing, the same mistakes are being made and the streets are filled with flag burning zealots. Not just and sometimes not even Israeli flags – your flags!!

OK. I’m actually in a bad mood because a “friend” tried to blame Mr Netanyahu for the upsurge in anti-Semitism. I’m no fan of this government but to blame them for the stupidity and innate hatreds of thousands of people is ludicrous. Perhaps he should read Brendan O’Neill’s article in the Spectator, a highly respected publication.

I was so upset when Dr. Phil was no longer available in Israel. I loved his rational, down to earth, honest Christian approach to everything. Recently, he aired a programme with both Mosab Yousef, Son of Hamas, and two pro-Palestine students. Everything you ever wanted to know about October 7th and the subsequent war and the inanity of the responses of the brainwashed students. You must, but must watch.

Zvi and I went on a fascinating tour this week. We followed the footsteps of Count Bernadotte the Swedish diplomat, where he stood, where he walked and even where he made decisions that would change the face of our particular slice of the Middle East – even deciding that Israel is part of the Middle East which she isn’t!! The tour was led by Ofer Regev and his wife who have researched the subject thoroughly. For instance, before Bernadotte ever came to Israel he was in the Swedish Foreign Ministry at the end of WW2 and Himmler approached the Swedish Jewish community to choose one Concentration Camp that they would be responsible for the release of the survivvors. They chose Ravensbruck. Four buses were to go to the Camp and take the survivors out. Bernadotte delayed the sending of the buses by two weeks endangering the lives of those he was meant to save – and on the condition that none of the survivors came to Sweden “No Jews will come to Sweden”. Bernadotte took the role of UN mediator, Initially to implement the original UN Resolution, but in fact, together with Ralph Bunche of the USA they not only gave Armon haNatziv, the former home of the British High Commissioner, to the United Nations as their HQ, but it was their decision that Palestinian refugee status be in perpetuity. (UN resolution 194) As Ralph Bunche said “The next generation can decide what to do with the refugees”

Bernadotte made so many detrimental decisions but he eventually met his fate on Palmach Street in central Jerusalem and despite rumours, his shooter was never disclosed. Bernadotte and Bunche based their decisions on one flawed assumption, that areas that they deemed Arab had never been Jewish. The truth being that Jews had lived in those areas and moved out due to Arab violence. They undoubtedly had never heard of the 1929 massacres.  A fascinating day we both learned so much!

Another busy week! Of course Zvi has been singing almost every night, preparing for the concert of  Hakol Yachassi to be held on the 14th of April in Shalva. Our days are filled with friends and neighbours, and on Wednesday my wonderful friend Sari came to visit. On Tuesday Sari met with Kinneret Chaya and they visited injured soldiers in Sheba hospital, Kinneret goes every week to raise their spirits by telling her story of survival. Sari and I went for a long walk through our nature reserve, stopping at each wild flower, taking in the breathtaking views and chatting to everyone who passed us. Yesterday, Sari went south to pick clementines. She is a fabulous lady and I love her, her thirst for knowledge, her determination to understand the truth is very special.

On Wednesday evening Zvi and I met up with our lovely friends Ronit and Yossi for a belated birthday dinner in Naya, a fantastic Asian Fusion restaurant right next to us. It is fully Kosher and serves the most fabulous food. Secular and religious equally adore this restaurant and come from all over Israel! We booked our table a week ago, despite dozens and dozens of tables it is almost impossible to find a booking!!

Yesterday my craft group came for our “end of term” party. We sat outside on our veranda, the evening  air was slightly chilly but nobody wanted to go inside! We spoke of what, to quote Lewis Carroll in his poem The Walrus and the Carpenter  “The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax Of cabbages and kings”. We decided from the very beginning that we would not talk politics but rather about normal everyday things and how we cope with the world outside our bubble of caring people. The youngest member of the group, Shachaf (meaning seagull), mother of young children whose husband is a reservist, spoke about how she copes and of course, I found that I had one knitted hat left! She was so thrilled and immediately put it on her head. You see, it’s not only the soldiers that are fighting this war, their wives are caring for the children, the home, the income and the organisation of the entire family while worrying about their partners on the battlefield.

Tonight we are going to Ora and Avner Rosengarten for dinner together with Merav and Yigal. I’m making my now famous bread pudding for dessert and tonight’s conversation will be fascinating. Three of the four young people at the dinner are on the spectrum, very different levels, but Ora and Avner’s son is also absolutely brilliant, loves and argument and loves life! In fact their daughter, the fabulous Talia, has physical limitations but fought the system and wound up taking a very important role in the IDF. Such amazing people, parents who learned that disabilities should not be considered liabilities. It’s going to be fun! Just by the way, I also love Ora’s cooking.

Tomorrow? Zvi’s boys are coming with the children and we are all going on a hike in the nature reserve opposite taking a picnic lunch with us. We will have the pleasure of being accompanied by Claudio Grubner (Chile and Vancouver) who is here to volunteer for a month. I am so proud of all our friends who come to volunteer, not because of the work they do but because their being here is the greatest form of support.

Last week our Shabbat walk was wonderful and we met people who came to see the view over the reservoir from almost every corner of Israel. Mazkeret Batya, Rehovot, Rishon LeZion, Petah Tikva, Raanana, Tel Aviv, Ramat HaSharon and Kiriat Ono……… and of course we spoke with everyone. We will see if the grandchildren are as embarrassed by our chatting to people we meet along the way as their fathers used to be!! Tomorrow evening is my Mind and Movement group open evening, lots of neighbours to get to know!!!

Very soon I will head off to Givat Zeev to see my Rachel and the children. Last week as I walked in the door my freshly baked bread roll (little challah) was waiting for me next to a good strong, hot cup of tea and a little tub of egg salad. Rachel didn’t want to waste a moment of our time together in preparations! I have a feeling that our conversations will go to the fact that we are both too busy to make a dent in our Passover preparations!

I hope that I have been able to give you a sense of what it is like to live in Israel right now because more and more Diaspora “friends” blame us for the increase in anti-Semitism. Of course, we aren’t to blame. If you really listen to your instincts, are sensitive to what is being yelled on your streets you will understand that danger is in the air and we must be ready to take a stand. It’s irrelevant whether you are Jew, Christian, moderate Moslem, LDS, Evangelical, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindi, indeed anything but what they believe, the intention of the demonstrators is to force us into something we really don’t want – to deny our country’s ancient identity.


Music soothes the troubled soul so let’s find some good ones!!

Ninet Tayeb has a beautiful voice and here she tells us about the writing of this song after the Yom Kippur War. Enjoy. It is sad but so appropriate. The Last War

Even when the world seems broken, we will ride above it. A very different rendition of Am Yisrael Chai  from Danny Palgon

This song represents Israel, for me, as no other. When we demonstrate, it doesn’t mean we don’t love this country, it means we love this country more than anyone can imagine. When we complain about our government it is because we deserve only the best. We are a free, beautiful, Jewish country that embraces all religions, is diverse in every sense and absorbed those who returned to their homeland after  thousands of years of dispersion, many coming home after oppression and exile just because they were Jews. Ayn li Eretz Aheret means I have no other country. The song, written by Ehud Manor and Corinne Ellal – listen carefully to the words.  

Have a wonderful weekend. I will be thinking of you as we walk through to the most incredible view in Israel, over the reservoir, Bet Zayit, Ein Kerem and the hills of Jerusalem.

Shabbat shalom and love from the Golden City