The view from my veranda

Hamas, Faith, Hope


14th December, 2018

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Christianity has begun the countdown to Christmas, today is the second day of Advent, looking toward the season of goodwill to all mankind.

Sadly in Israel this has been far from the season of good will and most certainly none coming our way from our neighbours. Strangely enough I don’t believe that this wave of terror was initiated by Abu Mazen, to the contrary, I believe it is a show of power by Hamas in the PA with the intention of deposing the aging leader.

Drive by shootings are the order of the day for Hamas, taking precious lives this week just because we are Jews and they want our land. Germany and France suffered this week too, indeed Christmas was attacked in Dortmund where Moslem immigrants (described in the press as refugees) tore apart the Christmas tree in Woolworths in that city. In Strasbourg the Christmas market was attacked and three people were killed by a terrorist yelling “Alluha Akbar”. Hatred, from where does such hatred emanate.

The killers in Ofra were not poor underprivileged Palestinians, Saleh Omar Barghouti had a privileged life as a member of the Barghouti clan. Saleh Barghouti was one of the so-called Prada Intifada, those born of privilege yet filled with hate.
4 days ago Barghouti drove past a bus stop, carefully took aim with his sophisticated weapon and shot at a 21 year old pregnant woman, seriously injuring her and injuring several others including her husband.
Their baby was delivered at 30 weeks gestation in the vain hope that his life could be saved but sadly, yesterday, the baby son of Shira and Amichai Ish-Ran was buried on the Mount of Olives. His name was Amiad Yisrael – The people of Israel forever.
Our hearts go out to the family, especially to Shira and Amichai who managed to say goodbye but were too ill to go to their baby’s funeral.

The IDF found the car and the perpetrator yesterday and killed him. The Barghouti family is proud of their Shahid – we mourn a life barely lived. Hamas produced a notice lauding his act of “bravery”.

In the second attack two wonderful young soldiers, both from Haredi families, were shot and killed. Yuva’ Mor Yosef z”l and Yosef Cohen z”l. Our hearts are broken.

Hate. Is hate a natural facet of interfaith enmity? Is hatred inculcated or innate? What makes one society provide hope for its people and another teach that only through violence can they achieve their goals? Why have Jews yet again become the scapegoats? Why does the world fly the Tricolor after a French terror attack but nobody flies the Magen David? I have so many questions and so few answers. I believe that one answer is that we have chosen dissention and schism over joining forces and accepting each other’s direction as valid; we, as a people do not pull together because we always need to be right – the generosity of spirit we give to other faiths is lacking when we think of our own, but that is negative, blaming ourselves rather than the hatred that is equally turned on Christianity.

Talking of self-questioning, I keep hearing that Judaism is sexist! Are you kidding? The woman is honoured in Judaism, the problem lies in interpretation! The latest wonderfully feminist move comes from a surprising direction, from the Bank of Israel!! In a new move in Israel there are 3 categories of spousal abuse, physical, mental and, as of the recent changes, also FINANCIAL! The financial abuse includes lack of access to bank accounts; withholding financial information from a spouse; for instance locking all financial papers so that the wife cannot see them; giving only “pocket money” to the wife rather than allowing her to pay through the bank account; controlling her inherited funds or home; indeed all manner of control are now considered abuse by our courts.  I think it is pretty amazing!!

A second instance of misunderstanding Judaism came this week when friends wrote on Facebook that they were sitting with an incredible view of Haram Al Sharif!!! Haram Al Sharif for the uninitiated is the Temple Mount!! I wrote asking why they decided to call it by that name and was told because Judaism is not fair to women!! It was irrelevant that Haram Al Sharif is the name given to a society that demeans women, gives permission to beat them, gives them no rights and a husband just needs to walk round his wife three times and they are divorced, to say nothing of honour killing………. Of course we need more introspection, but c’mon!

I saw a wonderful article this week about a new maternity unit in Syria, built and equipped by Israel, by the IDF. I believe it shows the chasm between our moral and ethical codes and our neighbours. They kill babies and we save them

I am going to make you jealous again. Yes, I went back to Mahane Yehuda Market! It is so easy, we get the Light Rail at Mount Herzl, which in itself, is a wonderful anthropological experience, and 10 minutes later we are in the shouk! This is the season of “Pri Hadar” of citrus fruits and they are incredible, their scent permeating the entire shouk, battling with the huge leeks, courgettes, aubergines, potatoes, tomatoes of every colour and size, and the herbs. Ah, the herbs…………… bunches of parsley, coriander, dill, rosemary, oregano, not plastic wrapped and 2 weeks old, fresh and wet from the fields. The halva seller walks up and down offering halva of every conceivable flavour, including sugar free!! Dodging the box collectors and the delivery guys is another game of the shouk “ALLO ALLO ALLO”  and everyone dives for cover as they race through the narrow lanes. I am told that Shouk Mahane Yehuda has become a major tourist attraction and I am not surprised. It is Jerusalem. Forget all the trendy bars and restaurants (I prefer Sima to the expensive ones any day) it is all about atmosphere.

Australia recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City but is delaying moving its Embassy to Jerusalem, or so its politicians say. Australia has always been faithful to its allies, through many a war they are the ones who stood up and fought, and believe you me this is a war that Israel is fighting, the diplomatic war. Australia, listen to your conscience because you are one of the few countries left that still has a conscience when it comes to Israel. In the meantime, Brazil’s decision to move her Embassy to Jerusalem elicited dire threats from the Arab League.

I am not going anywhere near the question of Brexit! I am an Ex-Pat Brit so cannot judge – but I can say that I hope that a decision will be made and that the uncertainty will end.

There is so much to be learned from this week’s Torah Reading. We all know the story of Joseph, his coat of many colours and his time in Egypt, but few recognise the wonder of his attitude toward his brothers, brothers who betrayed him with their jealousy,  threw him in a ditch and told their father he was dead. Joseph forgave them, said that it was clearly G-d’s will that he come to Egypt so that he could save the children of Israel. Forgiveness is the greatest gift.

Zvi has lots of family in Mexico City and this week one came to visit! Michelle Fainsod, grand-daughter of Billy and Ruth Shapiro, came to town and decided to set off to see things, returning to the Israel Museum to see the fabulous Judaica Exhibit and to Yad Vashem, to remember and never forget. It is always refreshing to talk to young people about what they see, it gives a new perspective.

Love and Mazal Tov to Claire and Steve, my amazing Welsh niece and nephew (and my sister Doreen) on the engagement of Olivia to Shaun. Finally!!! Thrilled but sad I can’t hug Olivia because she is all the way away in New Zealand!!!

Since I feel sad about the hatred that is constantly and increasingly aimed at Israel I chose a special song, in Ladino, written by a dear friend Eli Yaron and sung by Hakol Yachassi – Israel Mio, My Israel  If you look carefully you will see a handsome and familiar face!

What a Wonderful World may seem a strange choice after such a sad week but Louis Armstrong broke barriers, loved Judaism, and reached heights that his colour would have denied him, but he believed

Perhaps the most relevant song for this week, which is related to Joseph and to Israel, our much maligned country is Close Every Door to Me. Yes, we have been promised a land of our own and this is it, beautiful, innovative, generous, clever and stunningly beautiful.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem and our verandah, filled with scarlet blossoms and a glorious view.

With love


If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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