The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem- Obama Visit, Marathon, Kaz Hafeez, Miss Israel.

1st March 2013
Happy Saint David’s Day to all my Welsh friends. Cymru am Byth, and to those who don’t know what I am talking about – Croeso y Gymru and of course Saboth Dda.
Shabbat Shalom. In case you thought I had gone crazy today is the Welsh National Day and the patron Saint is St David or Dewi Sant, who rose to the rank of Archbishop while on a visit to Jerusalem.
Today is the day of the Jerusalem Marathon. Over 20,000 runners will weave their weary way through the Old City, city centre and around the hills to the Hebrew University campus. An increasing number of international competitors keep our locals on their toes – literally!! The unusual aspect of this marathon is the Health Exhibit which continues for three full days, encouraging us all to get fit!!
Stranger than fiction. Finnish UN observers along the Syrian border were robbed, yes held up and robbed of their UN vehicle. The Finns were of course unarmed, but in a very UN/PC manner made it clear that ”they didn’t feel their lives threatened by the gun brandishing Arabs”. Had they refused to hand over the UN vehicle, I doubt that they would have been around to tell the story.
Kasim “Kaz” Hafeez is a British Moslem who was raised to hate Israel but since he thinks for himself, rather than following, Kaz realised that Israel is not the enemy. He is here on a speaking tour right now! Please read his excellent op ed “By singling out Israel, human rights activists abandon those who really suffer from apartheid “,7340,L-4347381,00.html
In a town near you – A court in New Jersey alleges that Moslem man beheaded and buried two Coptic Christians, burying them near Philadelphia because of the deep hatred and persecution of Copts in Egypt.
The Egyptian Courts denied a case annulling the peace treaty with Israel. This is the second case brought in the last year. Yet again this proves that the judiciary and the military is stronger than Morsi – for now. The Egyptian news reportage was careful though – carefully covering their *****.
The Cairo Administrative Court ruled Tuesday that it has no jurisdiction over a lawsuit demanding the cancellation of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The court said the issue involves state sovereignty, which is under the president’s purview.
The plaintiffs said Egypt should void its peace deal over ongoing destruction of Islamic holy sites and the country’s refusal to stop settlement building in Palestinian territories, which they said is a violation of United Nations conventions and treaty itself.
We still don’t have a government!!! The PM has asked for an extension from the President but he has met his match in Naftali Bennet! Bennet and Lapid made a pact to stick together nad much to the chagrin of the more weathered politicians they are sticking to it!!! Together they make a strong fighting force and their determination to put the “Shivion b’netel” or equality of burden, and other social issues, on the forefront of Israeli politics has stumped the process. They and their priciples are not for sale
Whatever you happen to think about President Obama or for that matter of Prime Minister Netanyahu, the upcoming visit of the American President is of utmost importance. Please, those of you who have Facebook go to Daniel Seamans page and “like” it!
Last night Zvi and I went to see the acclaimed Israeli documentary “The Gatekeepers” about former heads of the Shin Bet, the Israeli Secret Service. I found it highly disturbing but one thing came out of the film – we have to keep talking with EVERYONE no matter how vile. A must see but very difficult to absorb.
We have a new Miss Israel and I couldn’t be more thrilled!! Yityish Aynaw didn’t even want to enter the competition but her friend entered her name for her! Yityish is so beautiful and has an innocence that is exceptional in the cut-throat world of beauty. Good luck in the Miss Wrold.
This week, at the Annual Purim Ball, in aid of Israeli Cancer Research, the highlight, even more than the Hippies who abounded in fancy dress, was the incredible Bass-Baritone Yacov Strizak, who Zvi first heard at the Jewish Agency meetings. Yacov and his beautiful bride came on Aliya just 3 weeks ago and they celebrated their Aliya by donating his performance. The audience was blown away as he sang both in Yiddisch and Russian. Zvi helped him attain auditions with the Israeli Opera and the Jerusalem Opera. Yacov was a highly successful Opera singer in Russia but the pull of Israel was too strong and now we await his world success as an Israeli. The last world famous opera singer to gain his first successes in Israel was Placido Domingo so it is high time for another. For me, watching the pride in his young wifes eyes was enough. He really is stupendous.
We had a delightful day with Flory and Paul Hariton of Florida and Venezuela, obviously talking of the situation of Jews in Venezuela, a situation which gets worse by the day. After lunch on the veranda of the Botanical Gardens Flory and I headed off to the Valley of the Cross in search of wild Calaniot (anemones), Rakafot (cyclamen) and Shkediot (almond blossoms). Flory’s camera was clicking constantly as we found fields of red calaniot and the incredible rakafot blooming courageously out of sheer rock. The shkediot, in their final burst of clouds of pink and white, still held a few of last years crop of almonds. Incredibly as we got to the parkland we passed a scout hut and outside a large number of weird structures the scouts had created from wooden branches, sheer initiative!!!
Last week I talked about our forthcoming friday night supper to celebrate Harold Fingers 60thbirthday and this week I want to tell you about it and the subsequent party on Sunday. I don’t want to talk about the delicious food and company but rather about the main characters in the story. Through Zvi’s work and my enthusiasm we have had the honour of meeting many exceptional people who have given their lives to serving their people and their country in a positive and joyous manner. Of all these people I believe that Harold, his wonderful wife Rebecca and his “best buddy” Stanley Roth and his equally exceptional wife Charmaine, stand out a head and shoulders above the others. There may be those who work harder, although I doubt it, and there may be those who reach higher office, but these two do everything with all their heart and with a joy and kindness that is rare and delightful.
I can see them both blushing but that is how I feel. Their love of Israel and of their traditions and heritage is clear in every word, their adoring and adored families surrounded them and we felt deeply privileged to be counted among their friends. I really love you both and your wonderful wives and I cannot wait to see you all sitting on our veranda, overlooking Jerusalem. However, I have one complaint – why did you take the age-old Welsh Rugby call of Oggi Oggi Oggi and turn it into Ozzi Ozzi Ozzi????
Friday, I love Friday. Why is this Friday different from all other Fridays? Because on this Friday only half of the shelves in the supermarket are open because the race to clean for Passover has begun. That includes homes as the heady smell bleach out-stinks the beautiful aromas of the food cooking for Shabbat.
It is my favourite time of each month when the moon plays its seasonal game, growing enormous and glowing red and yellow, peeping coyly over the horizon, after a seemingly endless wait, only to shoot into the sky at an unbelievable rate getting smaller and brighter as it rises over the city. It never fails to amaze and delight me.
I have a request, please can you pray for the speedy recovery of my adored Moshe ben Rachel, someone very close to my heart?
So dear friends, I wish you Shabbat Shalom. As March begins and spring calls make sure you enjoy every moment and Stanley – the kumquat tree awaits your visit!
With much love