The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom after Yom Haaztmaut 62


23rd April 2010.

Today is St. Georges Day, the English Saints Day – kind of appropriate to the story of Israel with Balfour, the Mandate, Montefiore, British Rothschilds………..

In a world where Israel feels very alone Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is a rare gem. Ileanas unwavering support for Israel singles her out and this week she spoke about the Iranian threat “I would hope all options are on the table,” she said. “But with this administration, I’m not sure we can give Israel any kind of assurances that all options are on the table. We have got to protect Israel, because Israel protects the United States. We always talk about how we give cover to Israel. But Israel is a strong ally. Because of Israel, we sleep soundly at night.”

Today, still filled with the joy of a glorious birthday party for a truly impressive 62 year old Israel, I don’t want to talk about politics or pain, certainly not about ludicrous “proximity talks” what on earth does that name mean anyway – just about celebrating Israel! I prepared lots of videos to watch and fill you with pride and make you laugh…… to show yet again the incredible rainbow of people and opinions, religion, creed and denominations which make up Israel.

As Yom Hazicharon began with the siren at 20:00 on Sunday night I called my wonderful, incredibly Zionist friend Arlene in Manhasset so that we could share the siren, weep together and thank G-d for Israel.

Israel goes from Zikaron (Remembrance) to Atzma’ut (Independence) officially with the torch lighters of the national ceremony on Mount Herzl were varied and wonderful – as is Israel which is why I chose to describe all of them without omission. 14 lighters were chosen to light the 12 torches and I feel it important that you know who they were.

Raya Strauss-Ben Dror – former business woman and philanthropist

Avraham Greenzeid, who emigrated from the former Soviet Union in 1990. As a young soldier in the Red army, he fought the Nazis and won medals for bravery.

Tzvi Levanon, 79. Levanon is a former IDF general. As a youth, he assisted Hagana members who fought in the War of Independence.

Eyra Chaitin, 30. Chaitin immigrated to Israel from Latvia at age 13, and currently lives in Carmiel is one of Israel’s only foresters.

Kamal Mansour – public servant extraordinaire lit a torch and also Israel Prize Laureate

Rabbi Dick Hirsch Leads the Zionist General Council and is active in promoting Zionism within the Reform movement.

Professor Ariel Feldstein one of the nation’s leading experts on the life and philosophy of Theodore Herzl.

Yousef Matanes, 82. An Arab Christian resident of Haifa, promotes coexistence between Jews and Arabs. In 1947 he hid a group of Jewish workers during an Arab pogrom, saving their lives.

Amnon Lavi, blind from a young age is the Principal of the Golani school for special needs children in Beit Shean.

Tel-El Filou, lit the torch with Amnon Lavi, is active as a leader in the Tzofei Ha’Eda (religious scouts) movement.

Ram Balinkov, held important positions in the government and in the private sector.

Sarah Braverman-Shpechner aged 91 made Aliyah at 19 joined the Palmach, and was one of the parachutists sent to save European Jews during the Holocaust.

Justice Dalia Dorner former Supreme Court Justice and head of the Israeli Press Council.

Yossi Feldman Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, established the Ein Gedi Field School and founded the Society for Protection of Israel Heritage Sites

Dr Avraham Yitzchak emigrated from Ethiopia, excelled in high school, served in the IDF and is currently completing his surgical internship. Dr Yitzchak was a member of the Israeli team which flew to Haiti

We know so little of what really happened in the early part of the 20th century here in the Middle East. Here is movie footage from 1920’s showing the first throes of the birth of the State and the return of the Jews. It helps put everything into perspective

Next and probably finally, the cutest video ever made for Israel!! It is going viral on the net and anyone who knows how should translate the words!!! Israel Israel Que Bonita es Yisrael by an Andean Supergroup!!

After a wonderful Yom Haatzmaut with three parties and a bar mitzvah (!!!) we must return to normal. After this injection of hope and rejoicing Israel will face calumny, demands and scandals with renewed energy. Jerusalem is Jerusalem, different, special, historic, modern, religious and secular and no-one can ever tell me that she is not the Biblical City of David!! Prime Minister Netanyahu said a resounding NO to any suggestions that Jerusalem is on the table for negotiations. To start negotiations by putting limitations upon Israel and none on the Palestinians except stopping terrorist activities (duh) is untenable and I believe that slowly, slowly the Obama administration is beginning to realize its mistake.

Must finish my preparations for Shabbat so that I can drive to Givat Zeev and see my beautiful grandchildren!! On the way I will pass Nebe Samuel (Samuel’s Tomb) and the breathtaking sight of Jerusalem spread before me like a magical white carpet. I promise to think of you as my heart fills with pride at the new city which grew from nothing – land which had been left desolate for 2,000 years is booming and blooming!!!

Shabbat Shalom!

With much love from Jerusalem – the very heart of our world