The view from my veranda

Letter from Jerusalem. Jerusalem Day, Stephen Hawkings and Syria.

9th May 2013
Shabbat Shalom lovely people! Shabbat Shalom. Yesteerday was Yom Yerushalyim – Jerusalem Day, so I will try to get through the news as quickly as possible to tell you all about the incredible sight of thousands of young people singing dancing and marching with flags from all corners of the city to the Old City.
The day went almost without mishap. Some over zealous youngsters called out abuse to Arab residents of the Old City and I am happy to say that they were summarily arrested; there was an incident whereby the Mufti of Jerusalem was arrested for incitement to hatred which has created a diplomatic contretemps with Jordan and Egypt.
Anyway – in the meantime the main news flashes starting with Israel’s decision to eradicate several arms caches which were bound for Hezb-Allah in Lebanon. Not only dangerous but also against international law governing arms. We did what had to be done. The Syrians tried to claim that we used nuclear material but they were obviously trying to cover up their own use of nuclear materials should there be an international investigation! The reaction from other Arab countries was quiet – they are aware of what is going on. Here is the explanation Confident strikes on Syria send a message to the nervous US

Jamal Tirawi was released from his 30 jail sentence on a technicality. Few knew his name, but, it wasTirawi who sent the homicide bomber to My Coffee shop on March 30th 2002. That was the terror attack in which Kinneret Chaya was so terribly injured. Incredibly, Tirawi regrets his terrorist past and believes that today he would never have done such a dreadful thing. He was interviewed in his elegant and opulent home in the “refugee camp”

That well known genius Professor Stephen Hawking was coming to the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem in June., but deicided to cancel because he suddenly became concious of the plight of the Palestinians!!! Cambridge University, where he teaches, said, “Not at all – he is just too sick to travel”. Well, there has now been a retraction of the retraction and he is not coming in order to boycott Israel!!! When you think of how many Israeli innovations are keeping him alive and the fact that Hadassah has just make a huge breakthrough in the treatment of ALS – I wonder how long his boycott of Israeli medical advances will last!!!! So I am asking a favour. Get voting NOW – but NOW!!! Was Stephen Hawking right to boycott President Peres Conference and Israel. VOTENOW

A great article by our friend Danny Adeno Abebe about the financial and social situation of Jerusalem tells us that Jerusalem is doing just fine thank you.,7340,L-4377163,00.html

Yesterday, Jerusalem Day, was the anniversary of the liberation of the Camps in Europe and Memorial Day for those who fell on their perilous journey from Ethiopia to Jerusalem. Pres Peres at wreath laying ceremony, remembered that President Bush (Snr) sent USAF aeroplanes to bring Ethiopian refugees from Sudan. “Many of those who departed for the journey didn’t make it to the Jewish homeland. Today, at this huge event, the State of Israel honors their memory and their bravery. The story of the ‘Exodus from Ethiopia’ encapsulated the ethos of our people, courage – your spirit was a source of pride not only for your community but for us all. Here, standing by our national flag, we salute you all. Here and now, beside this monument, we bow our heads in memory of those Ethiopians who perished on their journey to Israel. To us they are heroes who fell in the line of duty.” Here are the children of the Sheba Choir singing their journey.

I was in Mahane Yehuda twice this week and Shouk Ramle once!!! I took Jill and Victor to my favourite coffee shop, Mizrachis, for a delicious light snack and ………. of course a a cup of Cafe hafuch! I had the most delicious “sandwich” imaginable. Toasted croissant (freshly baked) with melted camembert, thinly sliced pears and rocket! Gosh it was gooooooood! We sat and watched the world go by. As Victor observed, Arabs and Jews, Haredi and secular, Christian Priests and men with long flowing earlocks……….. all bustling and rushing to get to the most delicious piece of fruit or the freshly roasted nuts and seeds. It was delightful!

JERUSALEM DAY celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem after just 19 years of division. All of us who are of a certain age remember that magical moment when Motta Gur said the immortal words “Har haBayit b’yadenu” The Temple Mount is in Our Hands.

At 10:20 on June 7th 1967, the third day of the Six-Day War, Raphael Amir of the Israel Broadcasting Services announced, “At this moment we are going through the Lion’s Gate in a jeep with the Deputy Chief-of-Staff and the commander of the Central Command. I am now in the shadows cast by the gate. Now we are in the sun again, in the street. We are inside the Old City. The soldiers are up against the walls.” In the background could be heard noises of shooting and soldiers shouting, “To the Wall! To the Wall!”

-Hundreds of thousands of young people- parades, dancing and singing – it was heartwarming. Zvi and I took Jill and Victor to David’s Citadel to meet Mayor NIr Barkat and wife who hold a reception for invitees – Jerusalemites – every year. The Citadel is wonderful, sitting and looking at the work of Suleiman the Magnificent – watching the guests, Jews, Moslems, Christians, Bahai and Druze clambering up to the great heights of the ramparts above us – needless to say from our very comfortable seats listening to the children’s orchestra playing Jerusalem songs.

I can’t help but be reminded of Jerusalem Day two years ago when I was stuck in the worst traffic jams near Mount Herzl with our Canadian friends the Kovens and the Robins and the car phone went. It was Andrew White calling me from Ezekiels Tomb in Iraq……… which was the beginning of a highly successful reclamation of the Tomb. A real international effort which succeeded in bringing together Moslems, Christians and Jews as only the Vicar of Baghdad can! Andrew went there at my behest and it culminated in a very emotional conversation with the Imam of the Tomb thanking me for bringing him and Andrew together. If it can be done in war torn Iraq – why not here????

Just about to go off to Christian Embassy for their wonderful Jerusalem Day reception on their lawn. There we will meet up with Earl and Kathleen Cox, Lola and Norman Cohen and so many other wonderful people all welcomed by the director Juergen Buehler into one of the most exquisite buildings in Jerusalem.

I have some congratulations this week. Barry and Cristine Slawsky are nearing the end of their 8 month honeymoon and we had the pleasure of seeing them at the Dan.

Guiora Esrubilsky, President of Maccabi World Union, has been Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress. Mazal Tov dear Guiora and Marta
I guess I should congratulate my grandson Joshuas class at the birth of 5 wonderful ducklings, a spectacular birth that I stayed up to watch on the CCTV in the classroom. It was absolutely rivetting!!!!
So that’s it for today. I hope you will please, please vote and comment in the Guradian poll concerning Stephen Hawking
I wish you a Shabbat Shalom for tomorrow. Remember to be proud of Israel, of Jerusalem and of being who you are. There are too many people out there who are trying to change both history and the worlds perception of who we are………. it was attempted before; it is called dehumanisation.
My daughter Rachel was very upset that I didn’t tell you that there are camels at the side of the road to Givat Zeev!! There were two but suddenly there are now three! What fun!
With love from Jerusalem, the most beautiful, meaningful and spiritual city in the world