The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Pope Francis, New Government and more

Friday, 15th March, 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear friends
President Shimon Peres, in a meeting with the leaders of the Catholic Church in Poland at his Jerusalem residence, welcomed the new Pope. President Peres said, “The newly elected Pope represents devotion, the love of God, the love of peace, a holy modesty and a new continent which is now awakening. We need, more than ever, a spiritual leadership and not just a political one. Where political leaders may divide, spiritual leaders may unite. Unite around a vision, unite around values, unite around a faith that we can make the world a better place to live. May the Lord Bless the new Pope.”
Pope Francis has shown his generous heart when, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, he was among the first to express his dismay at the bombing of the AMIA, extending his condolences and standing with the Jewish community.
We were all shocked to hear of the deaths of two experienced, reserve helicopter pilots on a routine training flight. Father of 3 Lt. Col. Noam Ron  of Oranit and new father Maj. Erez Flekserof Herzliya died in the early hours of Tuesday morning when their Bell AH-1 Cobra combat helicopter crashed minutes from landing. My their souls rest in peace and their families know no more sorrow.
Prof. Alan Dershowitz doesn’t mince his words in defense of Israel and his search for justice. In his article for the Gatestone Institute entitles “Of Course Hamas Killed the Baby” he says “The recent disclosure that Omar Misharawi, the baby son of BBC reporter Jihad Misharawi, was actually killed by an errant Hamas rocket rather than by an Israeli missile, should have absolutely no moral implications. Of course the baby was killed by Hamas. He would have been killed by Hamas even if the missile that ended his life had been fired by Israel. Hamas is totally and wholly responsible for this death, as it is responsible for every civilian death in Gaza and in Israel. It is Hamas that always begins the battle by firing rockets at Israeli civilians.”
A British Peer, jailed for causing a deadly road accident while texting behind the wheel, blamed his prison sentence on a Jewish conspiracy. Lord Nazir Ahmed, a Moslem Peer who was appointed by PM Tony Blair in 1998, said in the London Times, that his prison sentence was a result of pressure applied on the court by Jews “who own newspapers and television channels,” Lord Nazir went on to suggest that the judge was appointed because he helped a Jewish friend of Blair. Lord Ahmed, were you chosen for elevation to the House of Lords for your Jewish connections too?
The scaredy cats of the UN are pulling their forces out from the Syrian/Israel border on the Golan. The moment the situation heated up, especially after 21 Filipino observers were kidnapped. The purpose of the United Nations peace keeping force is to keep the peace even if it means that they take casualties. Time to dissolve the UN and reform into a fair and just organisation. The situation in Syuria is not a simple one – indeed it is a terrifying one. The West must choose between the massacres of Assad, the genocide of Allowites of the Islamic Jihad and the genuine, but very tiny number, of those who want a better Syria.
Teach children hate and they imbue the thirst to kill the children of the “other”. That is what happened yesterday as Adva Bitton drove her three little girls along a public road near Ariel. Youths threw a huge stone, the truck before her swerved and Advas car skidded underneath the truck. They were all injured but little Adele, just three years old is currently fighting for her life. Please pray for Adele bat Adva. The hatred that caused this horrible attack is the reason I serve on the board of IMPACT-SE. The incredible experts of IMPACT-SE analyse, research and report on the presence or absence of tolerance in the school curricula of the Middle East (including all sectors in Israel)  according to the criteria of UNESCO. Respect for the “other” and the lack of it, is the basis of a kinder future for this world. . Help us ensure that such incidents will disappear from our world.
Israel has a government! The new cabinet will be sworn in early next week. The route has been tortuous and the usual blackmail tactics have been used in a very different manner. This time the voice of the people, those who pay their taxes from hard earned wages and willingly go to do their army service and reserve duty and send their children to do the same, their voice was heard. I was unsure of Yair Lapid as a political parvenu, but he has more than proven his ability through his alliance with Naftali Bennet. It was Bennet who kept the sparring partners in the ring and came out with the required result. David Horovitz says it all in his article “Netanyahu and his partner/rivals”
Heroes and heroines come in all shapes and sizes. When Israeli Moran Samuel won gold for rowing at the disabled rowing regatta in Rome the organisers played the wrong National Anthem. Undeterred Moran simply asked for a microphone and sang Hatikva, a capela. Moran – you are my heroine – a fine example to the world for your brilliant act. Instead of getting angry when they were unprepared for your Israeli win you proudly sang Hatikva. Ah, sweet revenge indeed!
This July the 19th Maccabiah Games take place. I LOVE their logo“HIGHER FASTER STRONGER – Sound Jewish minds in Healthy Jewish bodies”. The final organisation took place at Kfar Maccabiah as the MWU family met up to prepare for the incredible events surrounding this years Maccabiah with the two major extravaganzas in Jerusalem and events to include the 6,000 competitors take place the length and breadth of Israel. It is going to be phenomenal – get tickets now, encourage your children to compete and come!!!!
The President is coming!! He is bringing some 600 people in his entourage, including press, White House staff and his own TV crew who will accompany him to all events. The King David Hotel “has no rooms” and the centre of Jerusalem is basically one big “no-go area”. Hopefully the only faux pas already happened when the flag hangers of the Jerusalem Municipality carefully hung the American Flag on every flagpole ( that means every lamp standard in Jerusalem) alongside the Israeli flag. It was only through the eagle-eyed vigilance of one wonderful gentleman in the Diaspora Ministry that they realised every single one of the thousands of flags was hung upside down – indicating distress!!!! Hopefully that will be the only faux-pas and the President will see what he has to see, speak to whom he needs to speak, shake the appropriate hands, listen to the right people and go home with a clearer understanding (without the input of the State Dept) of who proudly hangs the American Flag beside our own and who burns it. The threats are rampant, the demonstrations abound but we are ding our best to make this a memorable visit in the best sense.
Luckily I am a great believer in early preparation. Most of my Passover cleaning is done. Why fortunate? Because I am now four days into shingles!!! I never knew how painful it is. My doctor was wonderful when I called her and said that I think that is what I have and she took me in immediately, agreed with my diagnosis and put me on a 5x a day pill for a week which will hopefully cure me before Seder night. We have 30 diners so it had better work!!! I remember when our dear friend Norman Sarkin had shingles and tried to describe the pain………….Norman dear, now I know! Yesterday was like giving birth in my back without an epidural!!!!
The weather is insane – no I am not exaggerating!! So far this week we had 12 degrees and sunny; sandstorm; today is 34 degrees and next week is another sandstorm then a 20 degree drop in the temperature throughout the country and possible rain! I know that Europe is under snow – and New Jersey again, but this is crazy. Aaah well, I guess spring has sprung!
My veranda doesn’t know that the cool weather is coming back. The Orange tree is smothered in fragrant white blossom and the first tiny, bright crimson buds are appearing on the pomegranate tree. The mint, oregano, thyme, lemon grass, melissa and chives are already providing me with culinary surprises and the flame orange freesias are sending their exquisite aroma over everything. The Kanyon (shopping mall from the word liknot- to buy) is filled to the very brim with people buying their Passover goods before the insanity of next week and of course – new clothes and gifts for the children. Everything in Israel is for the children. We don’t hide them or insist they stay quiet in the corner or go to their rooms – they are part of everything!!!!
We are having a very quiet Shabbat tonight – I am resting as much as possible to save my strength for next week.
Gosh I love Pesach (Passover) – and I love the sense of everything new and different. My only problem is that too many women forget that this is the celebration of our release from slavery!!!!!
Shabbat Shalom to you all. I wish the new Pope health and wisdom to lead his people and heal the world and our new Government to remember why they got their and to fulfill their manifesto to ALL Israelis – to build rather than destroy.
Love from Jerusalem – heart of our world.
News just came in that one of the runners in todays Tel Aviv half-Marathon (the full marathon was cancelled because of the extreme heat) has sadly died. Three others are intubated and barely being kept alive.