The view from my veranda

Mid-week Shalom

5th May 2012
Yes I know it isn’t Shabbat but I wish you a happy Wednesday!
Last night I wrote an article for the Times of Israel talking about Yair Lapid, son of Tommy Lapid, who is the new face on the Israeli political scene and uses the old slogans of his father about religious Jews and the IDF. I agree that the Hareidi community must be part of our society but it cannot be the only item on ones political agenda. I felt the possibility of a new party was simply splitting the face of Israeli politics into even more factions and compared his new party’s name, Yesh Atid (there is a future) to Obama’s Yes I Can. I wrote of how we need a safe and moderate coalition not even more parties. This morning I ditched the article for a simple reason, speaking until the small hours last night the Prime Minister and new Kadimah leader, Shaul Mofaz, reached an agreement bringing Kadima into the coalition, which is what Kadima voters wanted in the first place and Tsippi Livni refused to do.
The brilliance of the political manouevering, presented as a fait accompli to a surprised nation, disappointed journalists and politicians alike when they suddenly lost their bete noir and their trauma was breathtaking. I am so happy with the situation while those politicians left behind are shouting “anti-democratic government” I actually believe that this is the ultimate expression of democracy because now the majority are represented in the new order.
I don’t now what the media is going to do now that they can no longer say “Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Right Wing Government”. Now that the PM has a wider government the probability of successfully passing new laws to include our entire society in the responsibilities of democracy and ensure that everyone “gives back” have increased enormously. Finally a government that has the ability to change the mistakes made by a very naïve David Ben Gurion.
Of course Israel isn’t the only country to ring in changes of government but in France we enter the unknown. Hollande is a socialist, we know he is against boycotts of Israel and intends visiting the area and more specifically Israel. We know that he supports the ideal of Two States and a secure Israel but then one must also ask about the future of the French economy and the drain on French society that its huge immigrant community presents. It will be interesting to see how this new chapter in European history plays out. I wonder how quickly the EEC will fall apart as an economic entity where the strong countries support the weak bringing the entire deck of cards tumbling down.
This morning we had a fascinating meeting with Nir Boms to discuss aspects of IMPACT-SE ( I am so proud to be part of such an important organisation which presents academic research into tolerance (or not) in the schoolbooks in our region and worldwide – acceptance of the “other” according to the criteria of UNESCO. The information gathered and the resultant reports are used by our own governmental bodies and international organisations as an outstanding research tool to respond to the constant false accusations against Israel. What countries teach their children speaks of the nature of their society and the future they bring to our world. Nir is involved both as a representative of one of the donors and a member of the board and he brought us up to date with current research and events. Our new Chairman of the Board, Jean-Claude Nidam is indeed a fine, upstanding and brilliant choice who will undoubtedly bring even greater honour to the organisation. As usual (this is Israel) we had our meeting in the kitchen over home-made Shakshuka!!!
After our meeting we made our way to the Mamilla open air mall where we had the pleasure of lunching with Zvi’s wonderful cousins Gina and Jorge from Mexico City. Gina and Jorge are here with Aish ha Torah and have really been on the run for 10 days of touring and learning. I loved them the first time I met them, warm and intensely Jewish, giving their children a traditional Jewish life without extremes. Their son is now studying for his medical specialisation in Tel Aviv and they ensured that their children understood the importance of Israel in their lives. It is such a pleasure to sit with people who have no doubt as to their identity, and as such are tolerant to all they meet. Tomorrow is a day of meetings and then on Thursday we drive north for a family wedding stay over in Haifa to absorb some of the gorgeous scenery on Mount Carmel and maybe visit the Bahai Temple Gardens. We then wend our way back to Jerusalem in time for Shabbat.
On Shabbat we expect a very special guest! Canon Andrew White is coming to sit on our veranda, enjoy the view of his beloved Jerusalem and talk about our lives and his incredible work in Baghdad. His understanding of reality coupled with his deep belief in G-d and Christianity coupled with tolerance of the beliefs of others makes him an exceptional man and I am proud to call him friend. I am so excited!! Among our other guests will be Prof. Gabby Barkay who is not only a dear friend and of course my hero for his work sifting through the mounds of earth taken from the Temple Mount by Sheikh Raeed Salah, Gabby also helped Canon White in his work on the renovations of Ezekiels Tomb in Iraq after I endangered his lived by asking him to go and see if it was intact and ended up enriching his life through what he found! Also coming is Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Naomi Tsur who wants to meet the Canon and tell him how much we Jerusalemites appreciate his work and hopefully gina andjorge will join us. I wish that Bob Simon could be here too – he could fill another 60 minutes with the truth of the situation of the Christians in the PA with the full backing of Canon Andrew!!!
So dear friends, this morning we awoke to a new beginning. I for one am hopeful that what was already a successful government will reach new international recognition and national success. As former Speaker of the Knesset and member of Kadimah Daliah Itzik said of the new coalition- “Maybe this new marriage will produce wonderful children”. I certainly hope so!
With love from Jerusalem where the huge, golden moon is just peeping over the horizon above Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, climbing fast and growing in brightness lighting this amazing city from above.
Be well and be strong – it’s a new day………………… every day!!!