The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem – Ariel Sharon, Biden and Blair, Al Jazeera, be like Israel


17th January 2014.

Shabbat Shalom dear Friends. How are you? I hope you are well.

Clearly the event of greatest importance this week in Israel was the funeral for Ariel Sharon. We were honoured that both Tony Blairand Joe Biden came to pay their respects since, after all, he was not a serving Prime Minister at the time of his passing. This was a matter of respect not protocol.

Had you listened only to the BBC report of this great soldier and leader, you would have thought he was a monster of the ilk of Chavez, Saddam Hussein or Assad at the very least. The distortion of truth was phenomenal in most of the world’s media – yet the words of both Biden and Blair suggested a very different man.

Born Ariel Sheinerman in Kfar Malal, near Tel Aviv Arik Sharon became a General in the IDF.  He led an army, an army of defence but nonetheless an army. His decision to turn his back as the Christians of Lebanon went into the camps of Sabra and Shatilla was unwise, ultimately tragic, but it is easy to blame him in retrospect for the deadly venting of years of frustration of the South Lebanese Army after violent oppression by the leaders in those camps.

Yet here he was not just soldier, leader, farmer and adoring husband and father being spoken about in words of warmth and love by those who genuinely knew the man. If you listen to former British PMTony Blair you get a true sense of who Arik, the Bulldozer, was.

Vice President Biden

President Peres.

“He defended this land like a lion and he taught its children to swing a scythe.  He was a military legend in his lifetime and then turned his gaze to the day Israel would dwell in safety, when our children would return to our borders and peace would grace the Promised Land.”

Above all, first and foremost Ariel Sheinerman Sharon was a Jew. May his soul rest in peace and those who chose to forget that this man did all he could to bring peace to this region even to the anger of his own people when he withdrew from Gaza. May his rest in peace beside his beloved Lilly in the farm he loved so much.

As an example of the way the press changes the truth to make it a lie please see this video of Nelson Mandela, a great man of conscience -what he really said and the edited version. Understand how manipulated we all really are

Tom Gross, international journalist of note,  shows us in his most recent Middle East Dispatch, what the world outside the BBC and CNN really thinks of Israel – this comes from Al Jazeera where they implore the Moslem countries to be humane fighters like Israel.

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, does not blindly accept the statements of the media; he makes up his own mind about world affairs and the Middle East in particular. Mr Harper is coming to Israel and will speak before the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. Mr Harper has been an outspoken supporter of Israel even when it has been to the detriment of Canada in the UN.

In a week where 16 Grad rockets were aimed at the children of Ashkelon and the IDF managed to foil yet another terror plot, we need a little bit of sympathy, even empathy from the media. We are the only country that actually stands by their criteria for a democratic state yet they continue to lie about us and our leaders.

On Sunday Zvi and I went to Tel Aviv for an evening to honour our friend Prof. Zeev Segal z”l. Zeev’s wife Lilli produced a marvelous film showing the fun side of this very important legal brain. The thought that stayed with me all week is that one sees a serious man, a brilliant man, an international lecturer and consultant and never understand the other side of him – please meet Zeev Segal

My birthday was delightful! It began with my husband singing Happy Birthday to me, followed by my London Grandchildren and my Welsh sister!!!! Indeed the telephone wires were burning and Facebook filled with good thoughts – thank you!

My beautiful daughter Rachel had booked the morning of my birthday to go to breakfast in the Botanical Gardens, and we were joined by Rosa Romanowsky, our dear friend. The weather was perfect although there was quite a nip in the air so we even chose to sit in the sun, overlooking the lake. The food was amazing as always and the sheer joy of sitting looking out at the peaceful scene simply completed out enjoyment. In the afternoon Rachel brought the children who sang “haYom Yom Huledet” and brought me wonderful home made gifts and balloons.

The evening took a different turn as Zvi took me for a romantic meal, with Rosa and Bernardo, in a fine restaurant in the centre of Jerusalem – Gabriel – oh boy it was amazing!!

I then went for lunch with Betty and Dana to a lovely restaurant in Yemin Moshe – delicious again – what is it with Israeli food, it is always good!!!!

Now it is almost Shabbat. My cholent is made as is the chicken concoction that the children like alongside the chicken soup. If I hurry I may even manage to make some rice stuffed peppers – it is so easy!!!

Zvi is in the Golan Heights with his Parliament. I am sure they argued all the way there and probably all the way home but they will have fun just being together. The Golan Heights is such a beautiful place. Wonderful farms, wine and history. When he gets back we will go straight to our neighbours, Shula and Moshe for Shabbat Dinner. Tomorrow the family will come for lunch and all the goodies I prepared today.

Since I am a bit late writing I can describe the slowing down of Jerusalem with greater accuracy as I see it before my eyes. The shopping mall is closing, the last weary salespeople wending their way home. The buses are lined up like soldiers, waiting for Shabbat to end before starting up their engines again. Indeed the quiet that descends on Jerusalem is so special. I brings that sense of something special, of expectation, of quiet excitement as we know that Shabbat, the day of rest, is about to fall. Families gather, children shine from their special Shabbat scrub and the aromas of a thousands traditions rise above the skies of the Golden City.

I chose several songs for your delectation this week

Shir ha Maalot = a prayer and a poem

Shlomo Gronich and the Sheba Choir singing Adon Olam

And finally – two songs, modern songs, both the same yet so different. Written and sung by Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits, the first is from their 1984 visit to Israel  and I thought to dedicate the second one to Ariel Sharon and the young soldiers he so loved. Knopfler wrote this song for the IDF, Brothers in Arms.

Wishing you a blessed Shabbat in a kinder world and a more truthful one.

With love from Jerusalem, heart of our hearts, the very core of our faith.