The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem – Naftali Frankel, Gilad Sha’ar and Eyal Yifrah, Andrew White,ISIS,

27th June 2014
Shabbat Shalom dear Friends. I hope this letter finds you well and that your loved ones are well too.
As you can well imagine we are all deeply involved in the search for the 3 boys so cruelly kidnapped by Hamas. The incredible work done by the IDF and the Shabak have born fruit but we still don’t have the boys home for Shabbat with their families. We know it was Hamas, we have the names of the terrorists, who are recidivist prisoners on terror charges,  Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha are from Hebron and longstanding Hamas members. The Shin Bet added that both were wanted as soon as security forces learned of the kidnapping.
Thanks to UN Watch and the excellent work of Hillel Neuer, the mothers of the three boys,  Naftali Frankel, Gilad Sha’ar and Eyal Yifrah, spoke before the United Nations. What incredible strength.
As the IDF continues the military operation in Judea and Samaria following the abduction of the three Israeli teens, Israeli doctors of Save a Child’s Heart (SACH; <>) continue to save the lives of Palestinian children at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. Why? Because we honour and respect life.
Canon Andrew White reports the horrendous slaughter continuing unabated in Iraq and the horrific plight of Christians.  Canon Andrew, aka the Vicar of Baghdad, is a light in a dark dark region. How sad that for the lack of one single word Babylon is burning – what word? Tolerance. Tolerance is sadly missing in todays world and we are all expected to follow one route to prayer, one route to God, one route, one manner, one regime. How sad, all for the lack of tolerance. There are, as I said, beacons of light and this week Canon Andrew presented The Prize for Peace and Reconciliation in the Middle East to Lord and Lady Carey the former Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife for their untiring work for peace and understanding in this troubled world. Congratulations.
ISIS is now threatening the USA if they defend Iraq. These threats have been delivered through messages on ISIS’s #CalamityWillBefallUS hashtag and feature images of the 9/11 attacks; dead American soldiers; the body of slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens; a threatening message from Anwar al-Awlaki, the late leader of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); and the Nick Berg beheading video among others. “We will kill your people and transform America to a river of blood”. Know that these ar enot empty threats, they mean every word.
David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, believes that wider surveillance is essential for Jihadist groups in the UK. In the debate Liam Fox, Former Minster of Defence said “The whole area of intercept needs to be looked at. We have got a real debate, and it is a genuine debate in a democracy, between the libertarians who say the state must not get too powerful and pretty much the rest of us who say the state must protect itself.”
The Jerusalem Forest suffered a huge fire two days ago. From Hadassah Hospital to Yad Vashem including the neighborhood of Kiriat Yovel. Homes evacuated, fire damage but most importantly, thanks to the incredible work of the Jerusalem Fire Service nobody was seriously hurt. The weather didn’t help, searing hot and windy, but the police and fire investigators are certain it was arson. Fires simply don’t start in 6 separate areas at once.
The Jerusalem Light Festival took place all last week. I thought you would enjoy seeing two videos – one of the Damascus Gate and the other of the “Circus”on the Rothschild House
As promised, our wonderful friend Dr Kimball Taylor, arrived all the way from Cardston, Alberta and we dropped him right into the Raviv lifestyle. Our quiet Shabbat dinner grew (of course) and was fascinating. Ambassador Zvi Mazel and his authoress wife Michelle; Eli and Eva Yaron and Sharon and Reuven Rosenfelder. I loved the direction of the conversation and the beauty of the night, the moon made its appearance again to the delight of all of us as we sat at the Shabbat table out on our veranda.
The most spectacular moment of the week was when Zvi fell, like a log, diagonally, from the pavement right into Arlosorov Street in Tel Aviv. Of course in my usual crazy fashion I jumped into the road and did my Superwoman act of stopping traffic. Thank G-d a million times there was no car on that incredibly busy road and after Kim checked him thoroughly we went back to Jerusalem. Bruised, scratched but other than that………….
Shabbat with the Bettsaks, Sam and Debbie, visiting from Atlanta and then both Kim and Zvi were deeply involved in the Keren Hayesod and Jewish Agency Congress.  Decisions made for the future of the Jewish World had a simple thread throughout – the link between Israel and the Diaspora must be strengthened based on the premise that life outside Israel is becoming increasingly uncertain. On our 18th wedding anniversary there was no time for romantic dinner for two, actually there was no time for anything during the Congress. Instead we went to the Knesset as  the Prime Minister and Knesset Speaker Edelstein welcomed us  to the Knesset Chagall Hall for a reception to honour Jimmy Tisch as  he leaves his position as Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Agency. Both spoke of the 3 boys and of the essential link between Israel and the Diaspora. I love, but love going to the Knesset. Not only is the entrance beautiful but the Chagall Hall with its huge tapestries is truly magnificent.  The tapestries form a triptic telling the story of Exodus – exquisite
On Tuesday morning we took Kim to the Bible Lands Museum (well worth a visit) to see the Book of Books Exhibit. It was fascinating in fact so fascinating that Zvi went back for a third time with Sam Bettsak determined that Sam would also enjoy it – well worth it.
I went to my little grand-daughter Ayalas graduation ceremony – graduation from kindergarten of course!!! I was so proud of her as she sang and danced with perfect precision for the entire hour show. She was so beautiful! Even at this wonderful and happy celebration her Teacher, Noa, reminded us to say Tehilim for the 3 boys.
Last night we went with Sam and Debbie to a beautiful event to honour Naftali Frankel, Gilad Sha’ar and Eyal Yifrah and their families. Before the concert Danby Meital gave me some yellow ribbon to give to passing people. I stopped one lady who told me that two of her sons was in the IDF and searching for them in the Hebron area.  Noa Voss, daughter of Sharon Voss who initiated the evening,  sang Tehilim in her beautiful soprano, another singer  sang Shlomo Carlebach  which was fun and yet spiritual then came Shira. Shira Golan sang so many beautiful songs but the one that really touched my heart was – Ha Ish ve ha Or – The Man and the Light. May the heavens open to all our prayers for the safe return of the three boys, an end to the tears and prayers of their mothers and a return home for all the soldiers who search for them.
We ended the evening by going to “The Tahana”which was originally an Ottoman then British train station and now is the “go to” place in Jerusalem. Despite the late hour all the stalls were open, the restaurants seething, the dancers who come each Thursday evening to Salsa, Rumba and Tango to their hearts delight laughing and smiling, and the kids on the beach – yes they even brought a beach to Jerusalem for the summer – enjoying a wild graduation party  and families enjoyed the activity while just out for a stroll.  Sam commented on the fact that at 11 o’clock at night the  place was still rocking!!!!
I haven’t given you a Pat Condell video for a while which is a major oversight on my part. Here is one of his latest offerings – I think you will love it – I did!!!
And so to Friday – as Shabbat comes closer I must go and prepare our home for the bride – the bride of Shabbat. Tonight it will be just my Zvi and I. He is now at his Parliament, solving the major problems of the world while I just report them. In a few minutes I will prepare the table, the challah and the wine, the beautiful dishes and the traditional white cloth then when my work is done I will sit out on veranda, swinging on the hammock and watch Jerusalem slowly take pause from the hustle and bustle of daily life and prepare for Shabbat.
The Torah portion this week, V’Yegash is incredibly appropriate, it talks of Josephs betrayal by his brothers which forced him to spend most of his life in a foreign land and their ultimate meeting when they came to beg for food to discover their brother. Rather than remaining in jail Joseph became a high officer in Pharoahs court – he took what he had, he strived despite his initial captivity and never forgot from whence he came. He didn’t want revenge for his suffering he wanted his father to come and see him. He wanted his father.
My prayer is that age old prayer Shema Yisrael – Hear Oh Israel. It is a prayer that goes up to heaven – it is a prayer from our hearts – make it a prayer for our boys that they come home safely.
I leave you with the words of the three Mothers – Mothers just like you and me.
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom

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

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