The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem


24th August 2012.

Shabbat Shalom, dear Friends. Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem and a confused correspondent in a progressively topsy turvy world.

It seems that the moral and ethical standards my parents taught me are now considered out of date, obsolete. The leaders who were our moral compass and  stood up for right now kow tow to evil and spout rhetoric about the Middle East to veil their own ineptitude when faced with economic crises and the Jews have become the scapegoat yet again. Of course the Jews are not the butt of the rhetoric, I hear you say, it is Israel. After all Israel is the cause of all the problems, isn’t it? If only that pesky little country would disappear all would be fine.

Syria is killing thousands of citizens each week and preparing to use chemical weapons acquired from Iraq (I told you they got them 6 months before the Allies went into Iraq) on either their own people or you know who; Iraqi’s are killing each other with explosive devices on children’s buses because we left a terrible mess there expecting democracy in a country that should be split into three ethnic entities; Egyptians are killing Coptic Christians because we decided to swap one dictator for another without considering the consequences; Lebanon’s  Nasrallah, leader of Hezb-Allah, is threatening to wipe out Israel and the West simply thinks he is a clown; Iran’s puppet of the Ayatollas, Ahmedinejad is preparing to wipe out all Jews but Israel in particular; all of the above invoke the death penalty for homosexuality, allow honour killing and are guilty of ethnic cleansing; In the Philippines the Moslem minority is killing the Christian majority;…. but who does South Africa’s government choose to boycott as apartheid? Yup, you guessed it, Israel.

In 2007 when then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked the Americans to help Israel in bombing the nascent nuclear facilities in Syria, Condoleeza Rice strongly advised President Bush to continue the diplomatic tack with Syria, despite recognising that they were quickly achieving nuclear capability.  PM Olmert knew what had to be done and after tell the American President he his intentions but not giving them details he ordered the bombing of the site. His actions saved the entire area – the question is whether it is now too late, after too much diplomatic persuasion, to act with the same determination in Iran. “Evil draws its power from indecision and concern for what other people think.” Pope Benedict XVI .

If you believe that the evil countries cannot acquire the uranium they greedily amass to remove you and me from the face of this earth……… think again and see this video made by Israeli television (English subtitles) in the Congo. It wa sent to me by Serge, a young Congolese student currently in South Africa campaigning against the South African governments determination to boycott Israel. Serge helped the reporter and appears in this video. It runs for about 50 minutes and is essential viewing.

In yet another example of closing eyes to evil and choosing the wrong foe for fear of waking the dragon, this article questions the decision of so many churches to side with the very people who are killing Christians rather than the only country in the Middle East where the Christians are ensured freedom of faith and prayer and their numbers are increasing. ISRAEL ASSAILED AND ISHMAEL ABSOLVED

The real Israel is shown in our work overseas. Mashav, IsraAid, Zaka, Save a Child’s Heart, so many Israeli NGO’s and government ministries extend the hand of friendship and aid to the world. WShile the enormous countries hummed and hahed Israel had teams on the ground in Haiti, and they remain dealing with the psychological and economic problems left after the disaster. We rushed to help in the Pacific after the Tsunami, even to Sri Lanka which initially refused to accept aid from the Jewish State. Just check out the list of our deeds in and go to Mashav. The last country to receive much needed aid was Japan, read what they had to say.

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has chosen his running mate. Paul Ryan is young but well known in Washington. We in Israel watch the election race with fascination as the very diverse candidates begin to raise their particular issues and skeletons fly out of the closets. We noted that Romney chose another financially savvy person to run with him to lead a great country whose economic situation is not improving. Tactically brilliant but only time will tell if he can pull it off. It is hard to “turn” Americans from their favoured political party and there are issues which apparently over-ride security and economy.

The West Wing episodes dealing with the debates and campaign appearances of the Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda characters are re-running right now in Israel. I wish the real campaign and the issues addressed were as clear but then in the fictitious campaign we see the background discussion, the staff and the real people.

Prince Harry had a terrific time while on vacation in Las Vegas. The young soldier partied and the world got to see just how much he enjoyed himself. What amazes me is that the British media, so open and uncensored on every other subject, accepted the Royal request not to print the pictures.

Israel is less than 01% of the world’s population but three of our universities reached the top 100 in the London Times Higher Education review.

After all the high profile events surrounding the London Olympics, which I thought went extremely well, we now come to the Paralympics which begin next week. The youngsters of Bnei Akiva are going to Heathrow to welcome the Israeli Paralympics team this Sunday (26 August). at 13:00 This team is made up of war heroes and victims of terror all of whom have exactly the same hopes and determination as their able-bodied equivalents.  This time however we stand a great chance of coming home with gold!!!

Israel has been a huge childrens playground this week. Schools re-open next week and there is not a park, theatre, museum or zoo which doesn’t have special events. Even the shopping malls are more like fun fairs!! Books are bought, clothes fitted, shoes broken in and the new style school-bags chosen. We have two grandchildren off to Kita Aleph (class one) and their fine, wheelie back-packs are bought with great ceremony and the equipment within.

As their final treat Zvi and I took four little grand-daughters to Ain Yael, right next to our home. It was so much fun! They learned to weave Indian eyes, create mosaics, frescos and fresh hot pita bread which they shaped with mucky hands and then the “madrich” put it on the “upside down wok” on top of the log fire. It was delicious, kinda earthy, but delicious. They met a Roman Smithy, Leather worker, fletcher and peeked into a Roman home. Even the animals took on a new light as they pecked and trotted the “Roman” paths.

The weather is beginning to wear us down, 30 -35 degrees every day but, aaaah but then comes evening. The Jerusalem evenings are a boon. Balmy, gentle breezes cool us off as we sit on our veranda, taking in the incredible view. The clear skies above us and the lights of Jerusalem before us, who could ask for anything more?

The Jerusalem Friday is beginning, the epicurean aromas starting to filter upwards from our neighbours. Shoshana has already started on her “Marak Kubeh” her Kubeh Soup so it will be ready when all of her 6 children come for lunch.

Chaim and Daisy are on vacation so we won’t get the Tunisian chicken, but Kobi and Irit will send us the scents of Kurdistan. Pour home has absorbed all the ethnicity of our surroundings. Today I prepared Moroccan chicken with prunes and apricots and ‘Ptitim” with onions and mince (does anyone know what ptitim is in English?) I love the variety, the rainbow of sounds, aromas, accents and tastes that make up our building, our city, our country. Today an extra aroma will emanate from our building as I make the first Challot ever with my brand new bread-maker a surprise gift from my lovely Zvi!

As your song for Shabbat I decided there is only one that fits the insanity of our world – and my favourite song of all time. Al Kol Eleh by Naomi Shemer sung by Yossi Bana’i. Don’t forget the hope.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem the city I love more than any other, our city, our capital, the most open and beautiful city in the world.

With love