The view from my veranda

Hudna, Salaam, Sulch

21st May, 2021


Shabbat Shalom dear friends


So, it happened, just as we expected. Hamas was out of the public eye during the entire Covid-19 period. Nobody cared, we were all too busy. How do you draw attention? You launch thousands of rockets on ordinary Israelis, not to kill them, although that’s a very attractive side-product, certainly to scare them but most of all to draw attention to “the plight of the poor Palestinians in Gaza” Now, yet again we have a Hudna, a ceasefire but the cost is yet to be announced.


We got Hudna, we wanted Salaam and recognise that we will never achieve Sulch. Hudna is a ceasefire, a cessation of hostilities until it no longer suits you; Salaam is one step further, a cessation of hostilities without intention of extending hostilities; Sulch in Arabic is forgiveness, in Hebrew to forgive is “lisloach”, if only, if only. Hamas greatest victory in this confrontation is to increase misunderstanding of who is the aggressor and create a situation whereby Palestinian supporters feel free to attack and beat Jews, particularly in New York City and Los Angeles, London, even in Winnipeg in Canada. In those cities the verbal abuse blew up into virtual lynching on the streets by what can only be called “Free Gaza” mobs, a Jewish man lay on ground, kicked and beaten within an inch of his life. Don’t they know that we left Gaza 20 years ago? Do they really listen to the disgusting cant of “The Squad”? President Biden has shown that he is not afraid of them and did what he knew to be morally right; supporting Israel’s need to defend herself, the President was in constant discussion with our Defence establishment. Having met him and heard his views I was not surprised, although there are those who doubted him and said I was wrong to trust him


Photographer Daniel Edry made a video which puts everything into perspective.


I gave you a detailed explanation from Zvi and I at the beginning of the week and here is what Rabbi Jeremy Rosen wrote. Actually he wrote lots more and I am giving you the link

“I believe we Jews have as much a right to our homeland and to defend it as any other people in the world. But it is obvious to me that we are the only people who can take responsibility for our survival. And that being the case I believe that we must sadly recognize that we cannot rely on many of those who still call themselves Jews. There is such a thing as family loyalty. Even when a member of the family lets it down, or even commits a crime. Those who think Israel should not defend itself or try to pre-empt death, cannot be members of my family. We Jews are not just divided by denominational differences, but also by whether we want to see Israel survive and thrive or could not care less.


I want peace, I believe in peace. And I want a negotiated settlement. I want to see people of all religions  living with dignity and amity not ruled by violence. I want the Christian community return to their homes in Gaza. I would love to see the extremists on all sides transported up to heaven to enjoy whatever it is they think they will find up there and leave the rest of us to cope on earth. No matter what ceasefire is agreed on, this is not the end of the war.”


Israeli society has a great deal of healing to do after the last two weeks, which will not happen as long as the current lack of leadership continues. We are tired. We are tired of the world getting it wrong; sick and tired of the likes of the BBC, CNN and so on blaming tiny Israel; this is a gorgeous country, welcoming, social medicine for all, education for all, and I mean ALL, freedom of prayer and faith for all……..think about it.


That’s it. I don’t want to talk about it any more even though when I collected Talia from school she was adamant that I explain, very firmly, that we didn’t start it, didn’t want it and they don’t care about their families………. There Talia, I did it.


This morning I started to write to you when I got a phone call from Rachel. “Mum, Ayala asked if you can pick her up from school” Of course I dropped everything, writing, cooking for our guests today and tomorrow and headed off to collect the two girls. I love to see their smiles when they see me and my heart leaps! Their school is on a street which like all Jerusalem Streets, is quite steep, and as you drive down the road you suddenly realise that the beautiful new homes in the near distance, on the next hill, is Ramallah. A cool relationship to say the least but at least they still have a leader who while not a friend, is in control of terrorism. The PA police and the Israeli police work hand in hand to control the extremists.


So I picked them up and we bought a few things I needed for tonight then I took them home to Givat Zeev. Givat Zeev, described by the left as a “settlement” has a little shopping centre near the entrance to the town, the owners and workers in that shopping centre are Jews and Moslems, Israelis and Palestinians, and even as the rockets were falling and the Hamas instigated riots taking place, everybody arrived for work. The plant nursery, owned by two Palestinian brothers, was packed as always, service stopping only when they needed to kneel in prayer. Incredibly for most of us, life went on…..and life goes on. Talia loves the latest in pop music and of course she turned the radio to 106….and I danced on my seat all the way home


I said that I wasn’t going to talk about the last 11 days, but then it’s easy for me, I don’t live in Ashkelon, a large seaside town which suffered 1,000 rockets and missiles in 11 days, imagine being afraid to go to the toilet or shower in case the Red Alert siren sounds.


Leaving Givat Zeev I climbed the hill toward Samuel’s Tomb and looked out over the panorama of Jerusalem. I could identify all the neighbourhoods and of course the tall buildings, which increase every week but there are the landmark ones – St John’s Church, Augusta Victoria, Mount Scopus, the YMCA, the Scottish Church and Hospice, the Calatrava Bridge all easily identifiable then down the hill, remembering to turn right toward our new home rather than continue to our old one!


Tonight we have friends coming for Shabbat dinner. Although it is going to be cooler than during the week, I hope we can eat outside. Thanks to Zvi and help from friends, most of my plants made it to our new veranda and I added colour with some beautiful vincas. Stanley will be happy to know that the little lemon tree, the orange and kumquat trees, several hibiscus and others made from Malha and of course I couldn’t resist planting pots of herbs outside the kitchen window. Flat leafed parsley, rosemary, thyme, basil, lemon balm, lemon verbena and of course mint – what self-respecting Israeli isn’t ready to give their guests and mint tea? Tomorrow Amiad and Noga are coming with the children, ready to explore our park and playground and of course the new apartment.


What I am trying to say is that we get on with it, normal life, as best we can. After a direct hit on a house in Ashdod, within one hour the residents tended to, the fire put out, the rubble cleared and damaged cars taken away. Life must go on.


So dear people, we will hopefully have another year or two of quiet, children will begin to go out of their homes without trembling or preparing to race to the shelter. As I said, Hamas’s real victory is wherever you live, and it will not make your life any easier and denying support for Israel won’t help.


This is crazy, I want to end on a happy note, that’s what I do! OK so I’m about to go and prepare the soup, “orange soup” with sweet potato, leeks and celery root; fish on a bed of lovely fresh tomatoes, leeks and red peppers, with a big chopped salad, tabouleh,  Rachel’s aubergine, egg mayonnaise, roasted vegetables and cauliflower……I haven’t decided on dessert yet but it will definitely be fattening and comforting!!!


For our music I want to go to tradition

Eden Elena is stunningly beautiful, talented and Israeli. Eden is representing us in the Eurovision Song Contest! She was to represent us last year but the Covid-19 put a stop to the entire competition so this year………here she is!


Probably Israel’s most popular Eurovision win was Halleluya, still love it. I bet you sing along!!


Yaakov Shwekey wrote this music, made the video. We Are a Miracle


Remember just how strong we are, we have been through so much more and come out even stronger. It depends upon you.


I wish you a peaceful Shabbat filled with love and contemplation. Worry not, this too will pass. I still see Jerusalem in the distance from our veranda, beautiful as ever.