21st August 2020
Shabbat Shalom to one and all – I never think of people in “boxes” – it matters not what religion or race my friends are, just that they are my friends. I wish everyone a peaceful Sabbath!
This week we discovered that the incentive, or inducement for the Emirates to sign an official peace treaty with Israel had nothing to do with annexation or any other Israeli acquiescence, it was all about aeroplanes; very special aeroplanes, the F35. The incentive was for the USA to provide the UAE with state-of-the-art fighter jets. Before everyone rushes to judgement, one must never forget that leaders have interests and it is in the interest of the USA to create a threat to Iran in the UAE. It is a misconception that America’s prime interest should be Israel, of course it shouldn’t, and it never has been!
As I have written time and time again the entire Middle Eastern fiasco is about the Sunni/Shia rift. The oppression and battles of this area have nothing to do with democracy, which was the big mistake of previous Administrations; it is all about internecine Islamic power struggles. So, are we thrilled that the UAE is getting F35’s? Does our Prime Minister claim that he either didn’t know or fought against it fiercely? Not worth arguing about it, it is a fact of life.
Talking of internecine battles, Khaled Abu Toameh explains the situation in both Gaza and thus the Palestinian Authority since the agreement with the United Emirates and the determined antagonism of Qatar. In fact Qatar, by providing huge sums of money to sustain the Gaza Strip is actually sustaining Hamas, despite signed agreements as to where their money goes. To add a brand new element into the equation – Mohammed Dahlan is back on the scene!! Dahlan, 58, was a major Fatah player in Gaza, then a feared nemesis for Abbas after the Hamas takeover, has been residing in Abu Dhabi, where he reportedly serves as a special adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Some say he played a major part in brokering the Israel/UAE agreement. Are you utterly confused? Khaled explains it with greater knowledge and ability than I. https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/after-uae-deal-palestinian-authority-prepares-for-battle-within-without-639405
Of course nothing stops the Hamas and Hezb-Allah from lobbing missiles, rockets and recently the children’s party balloon incendiary attacks have started again. Apparently they either couldn’t care about the rules of Qatari financial help or the diabolical Corona situation since Eid Al Adha or they simply use it as a cover for more violence. Ah what an exquisite country we have in such a lousy neighbourhood.
When you think of the Mossad you tend to picture spies creeping around in beige raincoats, collars turned up to meet their fedoras, either gathering information or killing other spies…… but the truth is far from Homeland!! The Mossad is an integral part of peacemaking, acquiring hospital equipment, negotiating and so much more that it is nothing like the CIA, or MI6 or any other “Secret Service” Read all about it here https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/the-mossads-trailblazing-role-in-middle-east-peace-analysis-638876
Meanwhile, the threat of a fourth round of elections under the shadow of the pandemic is looming. After his refusal to share the details, indeed the actuality, of an agreement with the UAE with his Co-Prime Minister who is also his Minister of Defence, the Prime Minister is now begging Gantz to forget past altercations and prevent new elections! President Ruvi Rivlin and Minister Arieh Deri are intervening, trying to mend the irreparable anger. Let’s hope they succeed.
A historic fly-past by German and Israeli Air Force jets over Dachau Concentration Camp took place on Tuesday as a moving tribute to the thousands who were slaughtered there. They also flew over Fuerstenfeldbruck airfield to pay tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes killed in the Munich massacre attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics. https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-symbolic-tribute-israeli-and-german-air-forces-fly-jets-over-dachau/
Impact-se is still in the news! This time linked to Brexit and the EU report again. https://www.timesofisrael.com/leaked-eu-review-giving-high-marks-to-pa-textbooks-allegedly-studied-wrong-books/
Tehila Friedman is a new Member of Knesset and I loved her maiden speech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6V21qeJPX4
Israel is a fantastic number 9 on the list of world longevity! This is fascinating https://youtu.be/JkQBo0BzDi0
This week has been hot, very hot, but the balmy Jerusalem evenings make life very livable. On Tuesday Leor, Shiri, Amit, Gili, Ori and little Yuval came to Jerusalem to visit the Botanical Gardens with us. Every evening the Botanical Gardens magically turns into a Fairyland – or the Land of Fairy Tales! It was truly magical with Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit, Witches and warlocks aplenty. The lighting on the trees turned them into mystical forests and the pond, filled with enormous waterlilies was flooded with colours that changed it into the home for incredible water creatures. The children were thrilled and the Botanical Gardens were filled with excited children and families enjoying the wonderful air. Everyone wore masks and distancing was, um shall we say, a family affair! It really was wonderful. At last an outdoor activity that could be enjoyed without fear.
Talking of outdoor affairs, we spent last Friday evening on the beach in Ashdod with Zvi’s grandchildren. I had no idea what an incredible beach it is. Perfectly clean, golden sands which stretch forever, a wide long beach almost empty with just family groups keeping well apart. The waters were warm and welcoming, although the large waves prevented real swimming and “making Shabbat” then watching the sun go down over the horizon casting crimson and gold over the clear waters gave a whole new meaning to appreciating life. It was very different to our normal white tablecloth and sitting formally around the table but it was a fabulous natural welcoming of the bride of Shabbat and felt a little like playing truant.
Zvi just left for his parliament of “wise men”. It’s really strange but the parliament is a very secular thing but tends to be a single sex affair. There are some parliaments, always held in restaurants, which are men and women together but those are the less political ones. Someone asked me why we call them parliaments – well it comes from the French word parley, to talk and boy do they ever!!! Zvi’s parliament is predominantly journalists, which is asking for trouble because they opine on any given subject with absolute belief in their point of view, even though two weeks later they will swear blind that they said the opposite! For most of them it is a weekly injection of friendly banter and camaraderie.
Waking to wonderful sunrises has become the order of the day for me. I cannot get enough of it!! To see the red fireball make its way slowly over the horizon, especially when there are clouds is so exquisite and despite a very busy schedule I try to return to see the moon come up. I am so lucky to live here, so lucky to be in Israel and have a fascinating life. Of course the Corona situation is unnatural and I miss my beautiful grandchildren in the UK and USA, I miss them horribly, but one can either moan or find the good in everything…….as hard as that is. To fill one’s life is so important and our lives are full – even if it is vicarious!!
Which leads us to music
Boaz Sharabi is little known outside Israel but has a magnificent voice. This song “Haleva’i” is both a wish and a prayer for better things to come https://youtu.be/hwEatU285N8
Yahad – Together, a song with both hearing and deaf people from every background sing about being together https://youtu.be/JIdADujEf2g
Words written by a Rabbi Nachman of Breslav the words of the next song are very special, so much so that it was chosen as the most representative Israeli song by the people. “The whole world is a very narrow bridge and the main thing is to have no fear at all”. In other words, don’t be afraid, just cross every bridge as it comes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WnEAxa1tFc
I wish you a good shabbes, a Shabbat Shalom, a Sabbath filled with peace and contemplation as we come toward another period of self-examination and atonement – just another month to get your act right!!
With much love from Jerusalem