The view from my veranda

Iran, Gaza, Cheese Gold and Star Struck!

14th June 2019.


Shabbat Shalom! I hope you are well and that at least a few of your dreams came true.


Did you know that observant Jews say “Shabbat Kodesh” or “Shabbat Shalom” from the minute they do their shopping to cook for Shabbat? I didn’t until this week!!!


Israel struck back at Hamas sites in Gaza after an escalation from a daily barrage of fire bombs to missiles which damaged a civilian building in Sderot. The Israelis of “Otef Aza” have suffered decades of rockets, missiles, incendiary devices on kites and explosive devices attached to party balloons so that Israeli children will be attracted and blow themselves up. One wonders who benefits from an escalation apart from Hamas billionaires and Roger Waters! Gaza’s leaders have become billionaires on your aid money and the people in general get poorer – see this incredible video of the truth of Gaza.


It’s not that the New York Times lies, they just don’t tell the truth! This week they accused US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, of saying that “Israel will annex the West Bank”. Firstly he didn’t say that at all – What Ambassador Friedman said was “Under certain circumstances Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank” Secondly, under United Nations Resolution 242, drawn up by British Ambassador Lord Caradon and Justice Goldberg for the USA, Israel was not required to return a single inch of captured territory unless its enemies recognized its right to live within secure boundaries. Prof. Alan Dershowitz explains


The British government has been accused of a “massive cover-up” about the threat from Hezbollah, after it was revealed British security services caught the organisation stockpiling “tonnes” of explosive materials in North West London in 2015. In an undercover operation almost four years ago, Mi5 and the Metropolitan Police discovered three metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate, the Daily Telegraph has reported. The Home Secretary at the time was Theresa May. The reason for the silence is as yet unknown.


An event that took place this week in the UK Parliament. Israeli reserve soldiers of “My Truth” told the packed audience of diplomats and MP’s, about the complexity of dealing with terrorist organisations and the human rights violations they see every day in Judea and Samaria. Facing the packed hall, members of the organization presented a series of testimonies describing the cynical and cruel use of the civilian population – including children, women, and medical teams – in order to harm Israeli soldiers and civilians.


One of many things Israel has in common with the UK is that both have beleaguered leaders!! Among those vying for the position of Prime Minister of Britain is Boris Johnson, whose hairstyle could well compete with President Trumps except that his colour is genuine!!! Do not be fooled by Johnsons buffoonery, he is clever, eloquent and when I met him in Jerusalem I was surprised by his charisma and connection with his audience. Here, oh boy, here the PM is trying to put off his hearings yet again until after yet another election! It is time to put the people out of their misery and I hope that Attorney General Mandelblitt will just get on with what he has to do. Sara Netanyahu pleaded guilty to misuse of funds but chose to pay back the monies ($50,000) to the country rather than serve prison time. Here the younger generation are hoping to take over the Labour Party, Stav Shafir and Yitzchak Shmuli, who led the Peoples Campaign a few years ago are both hoping to lead.


Iran, once thrived under an arguably benign dictator. Thanks to James Earl Carter the Shah was deposed, the Ayatollahs took over and an oppressive theocracy reigns. Iranian human rights lawyer Amirsalar Davoudi has been sentenced to 30 years in prison and 111 lashes for his human rights work, which includes publicizing human rights cases on the Telegram mobile messaging app and giving media interviews. He will not survive the lashings. He is not alone, dozens of Human Rights Lawyers suffer the same cruel punishments. Yet, somehow, the NYT picks on Israel!! Iran is apparently responsible for the attack on Japanese and Norwegian owned oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. All 44 crew were rescued by USA ships. The political and diplomatic implications are clear but few mention that oil costs immediately rose dramatically in anticipation of further hostilities.


Guess what? An Israeli cheesemaker won a Gold Medal at an international cheese competition in FRANCE!!! Hanoked Dairy, from Gilon in Northern Israel, won gold at the 2019 Mondial du Fromage for its Leshem sheep’s milk cheese and silver for its Beit Hakerem goat’s milk cheese. Israeli soft cheeses are the best in the world and our cottage cheese is so different to cottage cheese anywhere else in the world – it’s smooth and creamy and has no lumps! Almost all Israeli cheeses are available in 3%, 5% and low fat versions just as tasty as their grown up equivalents!


Stars are lining up to appear in Israel! Actors and singers are not convinced by the hate-filled threats of BDS and Roger Waters – who would have been one big “has been” if he hadn’t jumped on his favourite bandwagon. Jennifer Lopez, Tom Jones, Bon Jovi, El Divo, David Garret, John Cleese and Lionel Richie are all scheduled to perform to packed audiences in the next few weeks and of course Dougie Howser, aka Neil Patrick Harris, is here to open the Gay Pride events and today’s Gay Parade in Tel Aviv. As to Jerusalem – the Israel Festival takes off with dozens of international events and free jazz concerts at the Jerusalem Theatre. Always fun in Jerusalem!


Last Friday night, Erev Shevuot, we had dinner on the veranda. Leor, Shiri and the 4 girls, Amiad, Noga and Ella and Yonatan, and our dearest friends Ruth and Josek who made Aliya just a few days prior! Of course I made too much food, I just can’t help myself. The centerpiece of the table, as is appropriate for a harvest festival, was a humungeous bowl of fresh fruit to express the “shefa” the abundance, of the Israeli harvest.  On Shevuot, as I explained last week, there is no meat, we all wear white and a few of us even wore a coronet of white flowers. Sitting out on the veranda was so special. The pomegranate tree,  geraniums, fuchsias, hibiscus and petunias are flowering and the table is situated next to my herbs – mint, spearmint, Louisa, Melissa, basil, stevia, lemon grass and oregano, the scents permeating the air as we ate. The Israeli flag fluttered in the breeze as we sat above the view, the incredible view from our veranda.


This morning I opened my Jerusalem Post to see a familiar face looking back at me. Norman Cohen (95), originally from Coventry in the UK, is the source of a million stories and great biblical knowledge. Norman and his beautiful wife Lola have been at the forefront of inter-religious relations, particularly Judeo/Christian relations for many years. Norman relates how the D-Day landings ruined a nice cup of tea!!


For my religious experience this week I take Rabbi Jeremy Rosen’s musings “God is in the quiet and the silent.”. Well worth reading.


Thank you for your patience, there was much to write about this week. Now to music.

First a fun Jerusalem mashup by Elliot Dvorim


Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu – Peace will yet come to us and all of the world. Salaam, Shalom


“Gut Shabbes” from Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach


Off to collect the girls from school in a minute, one of the joys of being a Safta! Despite non-stop exams, Talia is over the moon because her little sister Ayala organised a birthday party for her this week, water balloons and blessings!!! Rachel’s Challot, the panorama of Jerusalem and then home, to prepare the fruit platter for tonight by special request from our hostess, Galia. Apparently I was too successful with last weeks! Zvi went to Shouk Mahane Yehuda yesterday and bought the most incredible fruits. Not just the juicy water melon, but the cherries and apricots were phenomenal and the plums…. mmmmmm mouthwatering. Zvi parks the car at Mount Herzl, takes the fast light rail into town and does his shopping before the return journey with his old-fashioned shopping trolley.  Of course a visit to the shouk involved a visit to Yaron Tzidkiahu and his stand filled with the best of Israeli salads, olives, pickles, rice stuffed leaves and ready food for Shabbat. I’m certain that Zvi had a taste of everything especially the incredible tehina filled meat patties! I wish I could have gone but one can’t do everything!


Shabbat Shalom, with all my love from Jerusalem and our veranda.