The view from my veranda

Prayer, Pain and Pride

10th of May 2024

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Yes I really think of you as friends, even those of you I haven’t met! It’s strange but you have become my catalyst for rational thought. When I write to you I have no choice but to think in a rational, pragmatic manner because otherwise you may think I am either too left wing or too right wing or unable to condense the thoughts of being an Israeli.

I was thinking, in the past student protests have also been catalysts for change, for social change bringing about a kinder, more thoughtful world, in almost every case. No matter how rowdy, even violent, the protests were always against racism, oppression and other social injustices, the difference this time is that the student protests are for oppression, anti-American/Canadian etc, without moral compass, the unthinking support of rape, slaughter, racism and simple anti-Semitism, the old scapegoat. These young people have been brainwashed into forgetting the savagery of October 7th and in their stupidity believe that they are supporting the underdog without realizing that the aim is Sharia Law for all. Perhaps the epitome of their stupidity is the young woman who demanded pizza for the protestors that overtook Hamilton Hall as a right.

Two fascinating videos for you, videos well worth listening to

This video of the US Senate Appropriations Committee hearing two days ago. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) questioned Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin and Gen. Charles Q. Brown about the Israel-Hamas war and the notion of a disproportionate response. The relevant section is from 02:10 minutes  By the way, no decision has been made about arms to Israel, the President said – If Israel goes into central Rafah. Even the Democratic Party is against the possible sanctions. Haim Saban, a huge contributor to the Democratic Party has written a strong letter to the President.

The second video is much longer and certainly taken from a further right wing view, but just as important, interview by Dr Phil with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Jewish Students of Columbia and Barnard Universities wrote a letter. They wrote an open letter written with great literacy and emotion to their Universities. It makes important reading and unlike the masked, grotesque rantings of the demonstrators the added their names. A very important read

Never generalise, never ever generalise. Mohamed Ali was a refugee from Somalia. As a Moslem he has spent his life in the UK determined to create good relations between the Moslem and Jewish communities. He recognised his affiliation, his loyalty belonged to the country that opened its arms to him and others like him, both of which subjects led him to become the Vice-Chairman of the British Conservative Party (a misnomer since they have always been open to diversity). In an interview he said that he saw similarities between the real ethnic cleansing that occurred in Somalia with what Hamas is trying to do to the Jews and Israel. He says that Britain will always stand with Israel.

Yosef Haddad, Arab/Christian/Israeli, was born in Haifa and grew up in Nazareth, the son of a teacher and an Orthodox priest. He is brave, outspoken and fights the media injustice, which is something that has made him a highly respected journalist, spending most of his time as a proponent of Israel. On Independence Day, Yom haAtzma’ut, Yosef will light one of the 12 beacons, an honour well deserved, earned by unwavering support for Israel to all who will hear his voice and those who do not wish to. He takes on anti-Israel journalists with relish often reducing them to agreement.

This coming week we enter that period of grief and joy, but this year the joy is muted, the Independence Day ceremony will be held without an audience. The grief is tangible, 711 new graves for soldiers, many died on October 7th and too many in the war. The tears will fall as the families visit their graves on Remembrance Day, but I promise that the families who are sadly doing this for many years will console them for the inconsolable visit, and yes, it is made worse, as if anything could make it worse, by those ignorant screaming anti-Semites around the world.

By the way, those ignorant screaming anti-Semites were shouting in the wind in Malmo Sweden. The fabulous Eden Golan singing Hurricane in the Eurovision Song Contest (the biggest show on earth, literally) not only got into the final on Saturday night, in the betting she is already at number two and the Italian judge (accidentally on purpose) leaked that 40% of the Italian popular vote was for Israel! It’s true that the powers that be demanded a change of lyrics to “ensure that the lyrics had no hint of politics” yet they did not ban the Swedish entrant who came on stage wearing a keffiyeh on his wrist! Can you imagine if Eden’s fabulous performance results in Israel winning? Haha, Next Year in Jerusalem!

May 11th 1949, in Resolution 273, Israel was accepted into United Nations with a vote of 37 for, 12 against and 7 abstentions – even my brain can add up to 57 members, today there are 193. The speech of Abba Eban before the Assembly declared that we would abide by UN decisions concerning our membership. Of course, that was the cause of great jubilation, but it was also before the UN broadened it membership to include some 56 Moslem countries!

In the latest statistics from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s population currently stands at 9.9 million people. When broken down into sectors, there are 7.247 million Jews, who make up 73.2% of the population, while the Arab population stands at 18.1%. 1.9% are Christian and 1.6% Druze. Considering the fact that our neighbours, indeed most of the countries in our region, have been trying to kill us since we declared Independence, that’s not bad for a country that began with a population of about 706,000!

Each year Barbara Sofer writes a special piece in the Jerusalem Post entitled Reasons I love Israel, Last year it was “75+1 reasons I love Israel” unfortunately I don’t yet have her “76+1 Reasons I Love Israel” since it isn’t online yet! So here is last years, pre-October 7th

This was an interesting week, part sad but predominantly hopeful. Holocaust Day concentrated, obviously, on the last Survivors living in Israel who number an incredible 147,000, over 400 aged over 100, which proves the belief that if they survived the Shoah they could survive anything. However nearly 300 also survived the horrors of October 7th and its implications. Their “Salon Conversations” which are becoming a tradition as families invite Survivors to tell their stories to youngsters and parents, has taken on a new face. President Herzog and his amazing wife Michal, hosted both Survivors of the Shoah and Survivors of October 7th into their home to talk, to talk of their experiences and of their similarities. There is no real comparison to the Shoah, but the intention of Iran/Hamas/Isis/Islamic Jihad is the same.

Then to the good part of this week. Living where we do has brought me beautiful new friendships. From our fascinating group in the “Mind and Movement” class to the craft group in the Village Library, women together and incredible support through this uncertain time. One special lady is called Gila, she hails from Sydney but has lived here for many years, leaving Australia at age 17. Like the very best of friendships, our relationship is unfolding like the petals of a beautiful flower, slowly and creating a special bond.

A very special happening was meeting up with my cousins Steven and Debbie Tucker. Although I have known Steven since he was born, somehow our lives took very different paths, but through the good offices of our mutual cousin Ian and his lovely wife Sue, we have reconnected and the connection is stronger than ever. Both of these wonderful people are au fait with what is happening here, working hard to promote the truth and my greatest joy was when they met Zvi! We met up in the Ezra Restaurant in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem where we were joined by Sam Bettsak. It is almost impossible to describe the place! You walk in, are ushered to a table (they happily move tables around to accommodate the number of diners) and immediately no less than 20 small bowls of delicious salads appear out of nowhere, together with burning hot “lafa” or Iraqi Pita, which arrives straight from the Taboon, the ancient clay ovens. I love the way Zvi can’t resist explaining, teaching, answering all questions with his wide knowledge of Israeli affairs.

Tomorrow is Yonatan’s 10th birthday! My contribution to the delightful celebratory lunch will be stuffed peppers, challot and the inevitable scrumptious, juicy, seedless, water melon, or avatiach, which I cut on the skin, into slices that one can pick up in one’s fingers and slurp! The Israeli water melon bears no resemblance to the watery excuse for a water melon elsewhere – and I am not even remotely biased.

And so to song.

It may seem strange to people outside Israel, but at our saddest moments we join together and sing our pain. This year, on Remembrance Day Eve, Zvi will sing the song Habayita – Come Home, a prayer to bring the hostages home, both alive and already killed. Habayita in Caesaria.

Yehoram Gaon sang a song many years ago, after the Yom Kippur War, promising one’s daughter/child that this would be the last war, we would do everything to avoid another war.  Of course, it wasn’t up to us, as much as we want peace, our enemies want war. A beautiful song

For the last song, for Independence Day 2024, what better song than Am Yisrael Chai? Don’t forget to click on cc for subtitles! This is the most hopeful song I could find, remember, we have survived worse. In fact, not only survived we have come out of the dark tunnels (even of the Hamas) and thrived.

My message this week is simple, although we said Never Again, the incidents that we are seeing now show their ugly faces in each generation, however all the Empires that tried to kill us off have disappeared into oblivion. We are strong, we can survive even this, but we have to remain united, we must present a united front to the world. Of course, there are those, even among us, who believe the lies, do not look the truth in the eye, but as a rule, we are strong and our friends in the Christian world are with us all the way.

Sending much love from Jerusalem, from beautiful Israel. Pray that the hostages will come home and that no more young Israelis will die defending us from oppression.

Shabbat Shalom. Shalom, that elusive word, the one we greet with, part with, bless with, pray and wish for.   


If the media does not inform us we must inform the mediaMy Website      Sheila Silver Raviv