The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


13th February 2009.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Valentines Day!

This week I have no intention of trying to untangle the web of intrigue and power that is Israeli politics, so anyone who thought they may just hear some form of explanation – sorry! If you think that Tsippi (Kadima) won the elections you would be right but Bibi (Likud) thinks he did!!! Now since Bibi thinks he won he intends taking the Prime Ministerial seat away from Tsippi and forming a coalition with Yvette (Avigdor) (Israel Beitenu – Israel our home) however Yvette isn’t sure he wants Bibi and Eli (Shas) won’t sit in a coalition with Yvette because Yvette wants to make conversion easier and civil marriage available to those who need it.

As if that isn’t complex enough Tsippi prefers not to sit in coalition with the religious parties who have tended to suggest that she should be at home cooking supper for her family!!!! Ehud (Avodah) has announced that despite the awful election results he is not going anywhere and stays as head of the Labour party and I bet that if he is offered the Defence Ministry he would go back on his harsh words about everyone else; Meretz takes a similar stance with their measly 3 seats, castigating the possible rightist government.

Are you still with me?

Bibi thought he had a shoo-in coalition but in fact – Tsippi is making him sweat and Yvette is not quite as flexible as he thought!!! In addition Yvette claims that everyone has tainted his reputation because now he is under investigation by the police. Simultaneously, the President, hereinafter known as Shimon, is pressuring all the parties to get a move on and not leave the citizens of Israel in limbo!!!

The citizens are crying out for a different system of selection of Knesset Members. Proportional representation doesn’t work any more and we want constituency government, each MK responsible to his particular area and that areas needs. The percentage of votes to attain recognition for a party must be raised from 2% to 4 or even 5% and rid us of the ridiculous number of small parties which slew the final results when people think it funny to vote for them (110,000 votes were wasted on these parties which could have given the larger parties a clearer majority).

Dr. Malcolm Hoenlein is an exceptional man and a wonderful representative of American Jewry to the world and to the American President. Yesterday Malcolm led a group of American Jewish leaders, for an audience with His Holiness Pope Benedict in Rome to ask His Holiness to denounce Holocaust denial. The Pope, in an emotional speech before the leaders, denounced any form of denial of the Shoah, using the Hebrew word for Holocaust, within and without the church and described the Shoah as man’s greatest crime against mankind.

I see more and more severe anti-Semitism (often in the guise of anti-Zionism) on university campuses – whether in the UK, Canada, the USA or Europe, don’t be fooled into thinking it isn’t in a university near you. There are some amazing people out there working the campuses and trying to combat the incitement but I believe it has gone beyond that. We need professional help from major PR firms to fill the internet with counter information; to undermine the direct incitement with positive exposure in the media; to ensure the showing of “The Wave” in all schools as a compulsory part of the curriculum to include discussion groups on the films relevancy today. I would also persuade a film-maker of consequence to create an up-to-date version of the movie Exodus with the original Pat Boone lyrics and Ernst Gold music The truth has become so distorted through the media and through exceptionally efficient Moslem revisionists that it will take a very professional effort to change perceptions.

So, rather than try to understand our politicians and politics, Jerusalem is slowing down in preparation for Shabbat. The silence reigns as entire families prepare a variety of traditional dishes, do their sponger, a strange technique of sloshing water everywhere – there aren’t fitted carpets here – and then gathering the now dirty soapy suds in with a giant squeegee called a sponger- the marble and terrazzo floors given a final shine with a clean floor cloth. I have to admit that this is not my method of preference, I tend to do the wipe and shine rather than donning my welly boots and scrubbing!!!! The carpets have been beaten to death on each veranda and replaced under the shining tables which are then set with white cloths and fine silver and china…. The food is placed on the hot-plate and then, exhausted everyone takes a siesta in order to be ready to greet the bride of Shabbat.

I wish you a sweet, fresh house filled with laughter, family and the glorious aromas of Shabbat. Be well and remember, Shabbat in Jerusalem cannot be beaten, no matter how hard we try!!!!!

Shabbat Shalom from this confused voter.