The view from my veranda

Hezb-Allah, Hebron, UN, Impact and World Champion Muki



30th of August 2019


Good Shabbes Everyone! Shabbat Shalom. Upon waking I went into the salon and raised the blinds to the veranda and the view as I do every morning. The sight took my breath away. The sun was rising over the horizon, a huge bright crimson ball, climbing very fast, casting a glow over Jerusalem. You see, there are many advantages to rising at 06:00 to write my letter to you!


As Hurricane Dorian hurtles toward the Caribbean Islands and the coast of Florida I just hope and pray that all our wonderful friends in that area are safe and have battened down the hatches securely. Labour Day weekend will be spent indoors or in storm shelters.  Isn’t it ironic that when one thinks of the Caribbean one thinks of cruises, luxury, peaceful, calm beauty, so alluring to tourists yet when too many think of Israel they think of danger.


This has been a week of Hezb-Allah threats. Actually it has been a week of Iranian threats through her violent subsidiary. Thank heaven a million times that our brilliant IDF surveillance produced results and we were able to attack an advanced weapons arsenal from the air, wiping out a highly sophisticated Iranian drone base in Syria, simultaneously discovered an Iranian based site developing advanced attack missiles on Lebanese soil. What is our response? We just announced the successful development of a very different type of drone – a drone to destroy attack drones, up to 200 at a time!! Not only a brilliant military move but, like Iron Dome, a wonderful source of income for Israel since every country will need one.


As UNWRA seems to have ended its biased and corrupt role in the PA and Gaza, so UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) appears to be equally obsolete. Hezbollah and Lebanon impose such restrictions on UNIFIL that the implementation of its mandate is virtually impossible. Hezbollah attacks UNIFIL soldiers, obstructing them from executing their mandate was revealed yesterday. If the situation continues UNIFIL will have to leave. It is time to dismantle the current United Nations, as was done after WW2 when the League of Nations failed to prevent world war, and reformed as the United Nations. Quite apart from their foul prejudice, they are ineffective at preventing the proliferation of evil.


Last year I watched in horror as Jeremy Corbyn gained ground in Britain but this year I am horrified to see the same phenomenon in the United States. No matter how you paint it, it is anti-Semitism at its worst. I don’t understand American politics, as I have stated many times and while admiring most aspects of that society I find the absolute determination to implement free speech, no matter how foul, untenable. Anyway, since I don’t “get it” I thought I would let an American speak for me. In the words of Eric Mandel’s article in the Jerusalem Post “A year ago I didn’t know that “it’s all about the Benjamins” was an antisemitic slur. I could never have predicted that a self-identified group of “Justice Democrats” who would call themselves “the Squad,” would become a virtual seminar in antisemitic rhetoric, and the voice of an intolerant intersectional movement that disparages anyone who crosses them as a racist, Islamophobic or a bigot.”


What do I think of the possibility of President Trump speaking to the Iranian Ayatollahs? As my hero Winston Churchill once said  “To Jaw-Jaw is always better than to War-War”


For those who believe that all the local aggression began in 1967….

90 years ago, on August 24, 1929, prompted by the Mufti of Jerusalem, the local Arabs of Hebron launched a bloody pogrom against the city’s Jewish population, murdering 67 and injuring scores more. The pogrom began on Shabbat, when false rumours that Jews in Jerusalem were seizing control of Muslim holy places reached the Arabs of Hebron. Chanting “Death to the Jews,” Arabs gathered en masse in the streets and started to break into Jewish homes, looting and killing whoever they could find.

The British High Commissioner, John Chancellor, would later write to his son: “The horror of it is beyond words. In one house I visited not less than twenty-five Jewish men and women were murdered in cold blood.”

An American journalist who arrived within hours of the massacre described the scene as a “slaughterhouse.”

The slaughter of over 130 Jews took place in Hebron, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Motza and other cities. Makleff was a young man at the time and recorded his experiences.


Back to the UN and high time for some positive news! UNWRA is responsible for the education of 321,000 children in 370 schools in the PA and Gaza. In the past the educational charter was automatically renewed but this year it is not! Behind the scenes is an NGO that I believe is changing the world one classroom at a time. Impact-se reports have influenced UNESCO, bringing about change in the thinking on tolerance in education. Impact CEO Marcus Sheff presented the reports at UN Committee meetings which prompted South Korean representative Ching Sungchung to challenge the Palestinian Authority on its hate-filled curriculum. Teaching children to hate is child abuse at its most foul.


What a strange world we live in where the victim is accused of aggression and the aggressor becomes the victim. A world where half a million die under a cruel regime yet when three die in a defensive attack the world wakes up. Is there a PR firm willing to take on the media?


Sagi Muki became the world Judo Champion in Tokyo this week. To watch his emotions as he sings Hatikva from the winners podium is to understand how proud we are to be Israelis! Bravo Sagi!!


My friend Jill is here, so we’ve been busy visiting the First Station, Modi’in, the German Colony, Baka and next week plan to go to Kibbutz Be’erot Yitzchak, Shouk Mahane Yehuda and of course to have a lazy lunch in the Botanical Gardens. It makes me laugh that I moan about the heat at this time of year and Jill, used to dreary Leeds, revels in it! Even though Jill has visited Israel dozens and dozens of times since her first visit in the ’60’s she is still amazed at the changes. This is a modern country of beautiful high rise buildings, Zvi always laughs that the tall buildings in Tel Aviv are of every shape known to man except square, alongside the old, never competing, just complementing. The highways have grown since her last visit – now wide and efficient changing the route between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv beyond comparison. I still remember my first visit to Israel in 1963 when the climb up to Jerusalem was just that, a winding road, barely more than a lane, twisting and turning precariously as the bus driver miraculously succeeded in manoeuvering his vehicle around the hair-pin bends. Today? 4 lanes in each direction!!!


I went to the community centre in the neighborhood of Givat Massuah, just up the road, to sign up for some courses and of course I thought it would be interesting for Jill to see. Community Centres here in Israel are funded by the National Lottery and many hold courses for all ages. This particular centre is run by my amazing friend Ronit Dagan who has chosen to concentrate (among other things) on the 50+ community. As we walked in Ronit was about to take a fascinating course by a young Magen David Adom woman on CPR. CPR in many situations, not just the usual man falling in the street variety. We learned about how to apply CPR, about Heimlich, seizures, babies, children, in fact, as one who understood most of the procedures, I learned a huge amount.  I highly recommend going to a lecture and if you can to take a course.

Pluralism, as defined in the Cambridge English Dictionary means “the existence of different types of people, who have different beliefs and opinions, within the same society” Pluralism does not mean that only if you think my way are you considered an intelligent and useful member of society. A pluralistic society only survives if the opinions of others are taken into consideration, and the rights of others are protected. The moment that one group misuses those rights the entire system breaks down.


Almost back to school! The summer holidays always seem so long when they are before us and so short when they end! Israeli children will set off for school, their colourful knapsacks on their backs, ready for new adventures and old friends, their first taste of independence. For most Israeli children Kita Aleph is the place they learn to read and write but for the children of Sderot they have a very different alphabet


Our children are our future, they are the ones who will save the world since we did a pretty awful job of it. “T’shmor al ha Olam yeled” means take care of the world child – written and sung by David D’Or


The very first Haredi Koolulam! These Yeshiva students sing the Priestly Blessing. See how many times you hear the word Shalom – what we pray for above all is peace, peace and togetherness.


When the Heart Cries. Uziel Tzadok sang in Israel’s Got Talent, a prayer for peace from a child who holds our future in his hands. “I feel so alone my Lord, please make it so that the pain will end”  Yet again, all we want is peace.


Jill is sitting out on the veranda reading a book, enjoying the sunshine and glancing up every so often to prove to herself she really is here, taking in the view! We are about to leave for Givat Ze’ev, to see Rachel and the family before Shabbat. Tonight we will be with Zvi’s boys for Shabbat and also a very special guest! Shelley will have her first weekend as a real soldier with the family and she has chosen to spend it with us, with her parents of course! They just sent me a photograph of her in her uniform and she looks even more beautiful than usual!!


I wish you a Shabbat Shalom. Remember my mottos, both of them. If the media does not inform us then we must inform the media and of course, never forget the power of one. If each and every one of us wrote letters, talked to people, spent a few minutes tell about what Israel really is we could turn the tsunami that is antisemitism.


With love