The view from my veranda

Reuven Rivlin and Pope Francis, Iran, Israel best, Canary Mission

4th September 2015
Shabbat Shalom dear friends and a special one to Zachary David, my grandson, Chelsea fan and gorgeous boy, who was 7 years old yesterday! Happy birthday darling boy. Incredibly my wonderful, wise eldest son Daniel celebrates his 46th birthday this week too.  How did that happen?????
My favourite story of the week came out of President Reuven Rivlin‘s visit to His Holiness Pope Francis. While discussing the wave of anti-Semitism plaguing the world the Pope agreed with the President that anti-Semitism should be seen as an evil malady, while all those who sought to threaten Israel’s existence were rooted in anti-Semitism. President Rivlin told the Pope stories of his childhood, growing up in Jerusalem, playing near the Western Wall. They continued to cover world issues then His Holiness asked the most important question of all “Who is the best footballer the world has ever known – Pele or Maradonna”? President Rivlin thought deeply about the question and responded “Each generation produces its football heroes, all are excellent”. Yet again you did us proud Mr President.
My least favourite story is the ongoing and seemingly never ending story of the “Iran Agreement“. I fully accept keeping ones enemy close, but how can one make an agreement with a country whose leaders do not cease deriding, berating, calling for the destruction of your country, burning your flags and creating hate-filled cartoons of your President. I am not talking about Israel, we are the hors d’ouevres, it is time the USA understood that you are the main course.
If you want to know where YOUR Senator or Congressperson stands on Iran
One of the most believable and pragmatic journalists that I know, David Horovitz, wrote an op-ed on the political battle between PM Netanyahu and former PM Barak over Iran. I love David’s no-nonsense approach and agree with him!
The Guardian is hardly a pro-Israel newspaper, but they held a marvellous photographic exhibit of Israelis and Palestinians playing football together. The city of my birth, the Welsh Capital city, Cardiff, has a City Council that prior to the major football match on Sunday evening – Wales/Israel in the qualifying rounds of the European cup – it was not politically correct to hold the self same exhibition. Why? Perhaps it shows that all preconceptions of our region are false
The Canary Mission is a logical extension of our concerns as to the political leanings of people we employ. No I am not talking about which party one votes for, whether you smoked pot in university or stood on anti-war rallies, or even if you are an anti-Semite or not; this organisation keeps records of those who openly threaten life and limb of Americans, Jews, Israel etc. Do you want to check if the person you trust with teaching your children International Affairs is a radical?
Some American Yeshiva students, visiting Israel, decided to go to Hebron in their own car, took a wrong turn and wound up in a problematic Palestinian neighborhood. They would have been lynched by a group of youngsters but Fayez Abu Hamdia saw something was wrong and took the men into his home and safety. I tell you for two reasons. Firstly that there are good people everywhere and secondly, go to Hebron but go with someone who knows the route or take a tour!!!!
And so to something entirely different. I intend putting a smile on your face this tough week.
Young people, and young families travel these days. They travel far and wide and parents would be much happier if they knew their companions and that they had somewhere to spend a Shabbat, Yom Tov or just a name to keep in contact. Especially important before Rosh Hashana. That is where Jewgether comes in! This organisation gets young Jews together to travel, matches them with hosts appropriate to their religiosity and generally gives them information relative to the country they want to travel to. I think it is terrific. Takes a bit of parent concern away when children a a long long way away on the adventure of their lives.
A Palestinian entrepreneur tired of waiting for the PA to build housing so he took the situation into his own hands and built an entire town!!! Rawabi. Rawabi has opened its doors and people are moving in. Excellent – finally someone got it right. Happy families in happy homes.
Do you remember the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld? “No soup for you” was his cry to those who broke his stringent rule. Well, the Soup Nazi was in Israel
Bravo Haisam, when you arrived from Egypt to study in Israel you learned far more than a Masters Degree from Tel Aviv University – You learned that one must always question our assumptions. Your world changed when you saw an IDF soldier reading the Koran an a train.The one thing one should expect from life is that life will defy your expectations. Haisam’s valedictorian speech at Tel Aviv University.
10 ways that Israel feeds the world. Yes, not through Aid, nor outreach, this is serious folks
Which are the top ten cities in the world? Well, I will give you a clue – Jerusalem is 10!
Which are the best countries to raise a family? This is independent research and Israel came in number 4 after Austria, Finland and Sweden
I AM AN ISRAELI. That isn’t a hollow statement, it is something I am so proud of. This video makes me cry and before giving it to you I saw it several times and cried my eyes out in pride every time. I dare you to try and watch it without a Kleenex nearby – it’s like trying to eat a sugared doughnut without licking your lips!!!
What a week (again). This week we saw all sorts of people that I really love! Gloria Goldstein is a wonderful lady and she brought us Dorothy, Michael and Ilana, as a special treat. Gloria shares her time between Sydney and Israel and Ilana is getting married in Jerusalem so life is busy for them. We had lunch in the Botanical Gardens then they came and ate Raya’s 7 minute Chocolate cake on our veranda. It was so lovely and I especially loved it when Michael asked to have a photograph on himself with the Israeli flag and Jerusalem behind him.
Yesterday we spent time with Dalia Herman and her sister and brother. Dalia is the Mother of Flory Hariton and her face lit up when we took her to see the music centre that Flory and Paul donated. That is where HaKol Yachassi recorded this song, My Israel in Ladino
Tonight I have a special treat as my dear Cardiff friends, although they emigrated to Perth Australia many years ago, Shirley and Michael Fine are coming for supper. I will collect them early and take them for a ride around Jerusalem before Shabbat then to ours for candle lighting.
Each week I find you songs to welcome Shabbat – but this time I thought you would love this video of an IDF soldier playing Shalom Aleichem on his violin. and another rendering of Shalom Aleichem with a modern twist.
Now I am off to see Yosef, Talia and Ayala. I will climb over the high point of Samuels Tomb, down toward Givat Zeev. I know it cannot be true but I think I can smell Rachels Challah already! My children say they still remember coming home from school on a Friday, the aroma of freshly baked, hot Challah wafting toward them as they got off the school bus. I always made them little “bulkes” which would come out of the oven as they walked in the door, broken open and spread with thick butter (it was considered healthy then). After all my hugs and stories of school from all three children (Yosef took his first exam in a new school this week and got 102%) I will come home and set the Shabbat Table.
Supper will be just the four of us, but no Welsh food. Moroccan fish, Teriyaki salmon, baked potatoes and the usual multitude of salads.
Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, the city most worth visiting – in my view!!!!!

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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