The view from my veranda

Midweek shalom from London

Dear Lovely Friends
I thought I would drop you all a line from London where I am with my wonderful children and their children out in the greenest of green parts of London. The constant rain ensures the lush pastures even though the dampness seeps into ones bones – especially mine since I am not used to it any more! To all the friends and family who feel that I should have contacted them – I have just one week with my beloved grandbabies and will not give up a precious second – sorry it doesn’t mean I don’t love you or care about you – it means I want to be with them and only them!

Since leaving Israel many stories have emerged which tend to fit the category of “same old same old” – without any resolutions. The usual claims that Abbas wants to declare independence unilaterally and of the marvellous agricultural co-operation between the West Bank and Israel which has produced a source of income for the PA. The papers are still talking of Gilad Schalits release yet we see no results. The reason for the delay is clear – we are being asked ot release so many killers, some of whom are serving multiple life sentences for their heinous crimes- and as much as every single Israeli wants to see Gilad home with his family, the government cannot take their release, indeed the release of even one lightly. Popular opinion wants us to just get Gilad back without thought of the consequences but having seen an interview with Palestinians released in a former deal for the bodies of our boys in Lebanon, listening to them living their lives in Dublin while still preparing the next attacks on Israel, we cannot, cannot think only of the emotional knee-jerk reaction. Yes the IDF is the caring army which always cares for its soldiers but ordinary citizens much be protected too.

Fabulous news for Israel – we have a new Attorney General. Yehuda Weinstein is different to any of the more recent AG’s and is the choice of the Minister of Justice. I feel that the legal conundrums of the country are in the hands of someone who understands the questions from all aspects – the academic, the defence attorney, the legislature and the citizen. I am content with the choice.

My article about Zvi’s meeting with Golda Meir was published in the Jerusalem Post last friday The heading for the article was not my choice and misleading, but every word I wrote within the article was true. There were a few very cranky people who misinterpreted what I said, suggesting I denied the phenomenal work of those who preceded and followed the historic meeting, but they are mistaken. I fully appreciate what was done, who did what and that without the incredible concerted effort of those who both led and followed, the dream could not have been achieved. It was a single meeting, a catalyst to a government decision – a truly momentous government decision – no more no less. It is irrelevant whether I wrote it or a stranger. He is not a braggard and few knew of his story so who better to write it than me? I am inordinately proud of my husband and to demean his achievement would be churlish, mean-minded and historically inaccurate.

I leave for Jerusalem on thursday morning. It is so hard ot leave the children- although they may be glad to see the back of me!!! I love travelling El Al since it feels like home the moment I get on board! faces are friendlier, the sense of urgency to find the “bestseat” irrespective of the fact that we are all assigned – the determination to put all sixteen pieces of handluggage into the overhead bins and of course the food. I don’t know why but El Al food is the best!!! I may not be the hottest, but seeing that little pretend parchment scroll denoting which Rabbi gave his seal of approval just seems ot make it taste right!!!!! Breakfast is almost always an omelette and lunch and supper “Off u Bakar” Chicken or Beef? The crew are prepared to do almost anything for families – no matter how noisy the children and they smile so much – and tease each other. Landing may not smell the way it used to in the days when one walked down the stairs to get the bus to go inside the terminal with the legend “Welcome to Israel” over the portal. Now the scent is of a bright new terminal then it was the phenomenal mix of pine, orange groves, humidity and ……… gosh I don’t know how to describe it…. of ISRAEL!!!

Zvi will collect me at the airport and will drive along highway number one. The road is wide and easy and fairly level until we reach Latrun which the climb through the Jerusalem Hills begins. I can never hide my excitement as we near the city and the joy of arriving home and rushing to open our shutters to reveal Jerusalem before me. Oh joy! My heart is split between London, New York and every place my dearest family and friends may be – but home, my home and our home, is Israel – Jerusalem. Actually, maybe we will come home through road 443 instead. That way I can ease my longing for the London and NY children by calling in on the Jerusalem ones!!! After all, why should Zvi carry all the presents up to the house when I can just drop it off on the way!!!

Hope to talk to you before Chanuka
With much love from London where after all the Balfour Declaration was signed after poor Herzl had travelled the world looking for someone to help him reach his dream.