The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom – Boston Bombers, Syria, Mahane Yehuda

3rd May, 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear Friends.
The rain went away and the heat came upon us, late, but oh my goodness – it arrived!!!
The plot thickens, as we knew it would. Few thought that the Boston Bombers worked alone. Few thought that this was their only target. No-one honestly believed that it all started because the brother was not welcomed with open arms into his new society – immigrants have to work hard for acceptance wherever they are from and wherever they go to.
The younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose life was saved by Israeli trained trauma specialists in Boston, has given security forces essential information. Through his information and his mothers insane rantings the FBI and police have made great strides in their investigations.
The most recent news is that some of the newly discovered plotters of the Boston bombings got into the States without visas. If this is so, how? If I use my Israeli passport I have to stand in line at the most unwelcoming American Consulate in Jerusalem and undergo questioning and a very unpleasant attitude in order to put my visitors visa application in before finding out within 3 weeks whether or not I have been accepted. If I do it as a British citizen on line with the ESTA form but perfectly honest friends have been turned back at the airports on arrival on US soil!
About 80,000 people, citizens, ordinary folk,or even that foul term “collateral damage”, have died in the diabolical Syrian civil war. EIGHTY THOUSAND and NOW everyone is angry? What difference does it honestly make if they died at gun-point, car bombs, strafing or chemical weaponry? They died! The chances that the chemical weaponry was used by Assads troops is high and those of you who have been reading this newsletter for many years will know that I am still convinced that that weaponry came across land from Iraq 6 months before the Allied invasion………….. but that is another story. What few recognise is that there are no good guys, or very few, in this civil war. The picture isn’t clear – it isn’t that Assad is bad (although he is) and everyone against him is good…………. incredibly there are much more troublesome, nay dangerous sectors who make Al Qaeeda look tame. Iran is certainly involved. As I said, nothing is simple, nothing is clear-cut.

It is no secret that I deeply admire Khaled Abu Toameh. He is one of few honest brokers in this complex war of words. Khaled puts all his words on the table with absolute honesty. Please read -Israeli Checkpoints Stop Terrorists, not Elections by Khaled Abu Toameh

Here are two stories of two Arab women in Israel – very different paths but wonderful results!!!!
Lt. Arin Shaabi, is an Israeli, IDF army prosecutor. She is Arab, Christian, Jewish, clearly Israeli .
Ulfat Khaider from Haifa and is a world class athlete
Israeli Apartheid – Yeah!
UNWRA was created to deal with Palestinian refugees – not the millions of poor and oppressed people of Africa, and millions of the UN’s money is poured into the organisation. See UNWRA’s schoolrooms of hate and understand why I work with, support and admire the work of IMPACT-SE ( We never have enough money but our essential research continues nonetheless.
News in short
A bill that would prevent citizens of enemy countries from suing the State of Israel cleared its reading in the Knesset. The “Dirani Bill,” named because of Lebanese terrorist Mustafa Dirani, who is suing the state for civil damages, was proposed by MKs Ayelet Shaked and David Rotem.
Members of the European Parliament who favour labeling settlement products are misinformed about coexistence in the West Bank, Fiorello Provera, vice chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, said at the Knesset on Wednesday.
Warren Buffet is so confident in Israel that he just bought the remaining part of ISCAR for $2 billion.
Marlin and Betty Levin came from the goldener Medina to Israel in the nascent days of the state, bringing a precious cargo – colour film. Even though this is in Hebrew I wanted to show you the television interview about them and Marlins historic photographs.
So that’s it on the news front – of course there is more but I wanted to have a chance to tell you about the weeks highlights!!!
With the change in the weather I took the opportunity to have lunch with Margalit Tal-Gan and my beautiful Rachel in the Botanical Gardens restaurant. The meal was as always but the view, gosh the view. The incredible bright fuchsia pink blossom of the Judas trees; the magical water lillies on the lake; the beds of snapdragons, narcissi, lupins, aquilegia and so many other flowers and of course the scattered wild flowers create an incredible peace simply serve to lighten ones mood so that even the extremely energetic laughter and conversation beside us couldn’t break the karma!!!!
I half broke my promise because I went to the shouk alone not with Judith! I didn’t have much time so raced to the car park and entered the magical land of succulent abundance!! Walking down the messy alleyway, down just five or six steps and that so very Jerusalem market – Shouk Mahane Yehuda, welcomes me!!! Ones senses are assaulted by the most incredible assortment of colour, aromas, noise, beauty and variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and of course unbeatable Israeli coffee. Walking through the alleyways is such a joy “Hi Yaron! Hi Shmulik! Shalom Yoav! Boker Tov Mizrachi!” It is like coming home. I bought some delicious salads and pickles from Yaron and his incredible tehina filled meat patties; cheeses from Shmulik; spices from Yoav and then had a quick take away cafe hafuch from Mizrachi’s coffee shop. Somehow the courgettes are crisper, the aubergines shinier, the fruit fresher, the onions bigger and sweeter and of course the costermongers have so much more Chutzpah! At Yoav’s the big baskets of dried herbs stand beside those with the pungent spices, piled into mountains of bright yellow turmeric, ground or whole, red cayenne and the deep ruddy colour of hot paprika. Gosh it excites me.
By the way – I shouldn’t have spoken of the hot hot weather – the thunder is currently rumbling and the “sharav” is about to break. The Sharav or Khamsin, is a scorchingly hot, dry desert wind which blows from the Arabian Desert from May to mid-June. My lovely friend Jill and her wonderful Victor will be disappointed – I never understand how “peaches and cream” Jill can adore the searing Israeli summers without breaking a sweat while I can’t – but then she loves spicy food and I can’t go near it. In Israel I am called a “vusvusit” which comes from the Yiddisch “vus is dus”!! I love looking at the spices but everything in Polish moderation!
So it is Shabbat again. Incredibly Zvi and I are alone this week. The menu is different when it is the two of us – simpler but equally delicious! I am going with simple grilled fish, cauliflower cheese and baked potatoes and the wonderful, luscious fresh fruit I got at the shouk………….. especially the succulent water melon or avatiach. Why is it that Israeli avatiach is infinitely better than any other and without the black pips that my kids (at my initiation!) used as weapons in the UK!!!!– we’ll save the meat for tomorrow!!!
Oh Boy!! It’s raining big huge ploppy drops. Somehow I don’t think Zvi will be going to his football match this afternoon. The team he is going to watch is Hapoel Katamon. The little team that could. Owned by its fans and zealously anti-racist today will decide if they enter the football league of Israel!
Shabbat Shalom dear friends and by the way Stanley, that tiny orange tree has dropped its blossom and has about a hundred tiny oranges. Methinks most will drop but right now………..
With much love from Jerusalem, beautiful Jerusalem which has her own, her very own day on Thursday. I promise to tell you all about it!!
PS Happy happy birthdays to Gili and Talia – you are the sunshines of our lives