The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


Friday 13th November, 2009.

Shabbat Shalom! I hope you are well.

Just because we are paranoid doesn’t mean no one hates us! Israelis, are the major cause of instability in the world and the annihilation of the “Palestinian People”. President Shimon Peres’ visit to South America has been cancelled due to security considerations and Brazilians have likened Peres to Hitler.,7340,L-3804608,00.html Those who do so are ignorant of the past, gullible to the cant of the present and are using their hatred to change the future. Shimon Peres of all people. Born in Poland he came with his family to the nascent State in 1934, to become one of the most respected Statesmen in the world, highly educated, known for his unstinting, although sometimes contested, efforts toward peace in this arena. If there is anyone today to be compared to Hitler then choose an ignorant, vicious xenophobe like Ahmedinejad. They would do well to read the words of Ambassador Yoram Ettinger

To see the Dore Gold – Richard Goldstone debate at Brandeis University last week please click on this link

The murders at Fort Hood have raised many questions and fears. An educated man suddenly becomes a religious fanatic and kills 13 people, maiming many more while screaming “Allah U Aqbar”.

Misinformation suggests that poverty begets terrorism but that is far from the truth. Most of the major terrorist leaders are not only wealthy but highly educated, a surprising number are medical doctors. In this arena wealthy leaders keep the ordinary people in poverty to maintain power over them. In Fort Hood, the United States of America, an educated psychiatrist who served his country in the military was inducted into a vile sector of a religion which is becoming more and more violent and killed in the name of that religion. The press and government reports chose to remove the word Jihad from their texts. Political correctness will be the death of us – literally. We are not new at the PC game as Daniel Pipes writes so well

Sadly we have our own, though very rare, insane terrorists. Yaakov Teitel came on Aliya from the United States. He kept up the appearance of a normal, kind man, father of 4 married to another English speaker. He was far from normal, he killed an Arab out for a walk, two border policemen and maimed the child of a Messianic Jew. At the risk of being extreme – I hope he rots in jail for going against everything that Judaism maintains.

Ban Ki Moon has finally urged the Lebanese Government to implement Security Council Resolution 1701 and disarm the Hezb-Allah. The Lebanese Government, however, is acting out of fear of retribution and chosen to ignore the call. How short our memories can be. Lebanon, “Pearl of the Middle East”, Christian Democracy, has become a battleground which is in danger of a rout by the Moslem extremists – Hezb-Allah – Allahs Warriors. Another piece of misinformation is that the Middle East is a single fight between Moslems aka Arabs and Jews aka Israel, but this is far from the truth as the Christians of this area will tell you. Dr. George Habash, a Christian Arab from Lydda, did not understand the ever growing monster he gave birth to by aligning his FDLP with the PLO in the late ’70’s.

President Abbas is thinking of stepping down. His Presidency has no country and he and his would be his allies recognise that if he steps down, elections will be held and Hamas will win. It is essential to understand that Gaza and the West Bank have nothing in common. They came from different countries; they hold different views and West Bank Arabs spent a great deal of time in and with Israel learning that there is a better way. A contiguous Palestinian Authority would destroy even the minimal democracy which exists on the West Bank. For this reason, and maybe only this reason, Israel and the USA are hoping that Abbas will recant on his intentions.

Yesterday saw the dedication of the Keren Kayemet (JNF) Israeli Memorial to September 11th. We met beside Binyanei Ha Uma in Jerusalem for the short ride to the site, and inevitably leaving very late which gave me the opportunity to talk to the assembled folk and make new friends from New Jersey. We drove out of town, under the Calatrava Strings Bridge (inspired by Davids Harp and the 70 names of Jerusalem in the Tenach) toward Mevasseret Zion. At Mevasseret we turned sharply off the road and began a “Safari” through the Judean Hills arriving at the site, nestled in the hills, apparently solitary yet visible from the main Jerusalem Tel Aviv highway. The Memorial itself is a Bronze American Flag at half mast and buried underneath it in a glass box is a metal beam from te World Trade Centre. Representatives of the countries of victims of that terrible day were there and also the families of Israeli victims. Politicians spoke, poets recited and singers sang and all I could think of was of the day that America was raped of her innocence and this war was to be fought every day, at home, on her soil, not thousands of miles away.

I went to Mahane Yehuda this week! Zvi and I met our friend Rachael there for breakfast in the trendy coffee shop. Always a paradox we sat eating highly sophisticated food while the usual “tumult” of yelling costermongers, the “allo allo” of the push-carts bringing in fresh produce carried on around us as in the earlier days of this colourful market. After breakfast we went shopping. First stop was the cheese shop whose selection would satisfy any epicure. The colours are easy transmit

But the aromas are something else – you have to be there. Have you ever smelled Hawaiij? Or fresh cinnamon sticks…not the usual neatly curled ones but the fiery broken twiggy ones which give ten times the flavour. Halva? Halva of thirty different varieties. Mangoes and passion fruit vie with papaya and guava, which in turn are overtaken as one passes the fish shop where the ladies shout out to David how they want their fish cleaned, cut and chopped and with what and in what proportions. Every time I go to Mahane Yehuda I promise myself that I will buy only what I need. I am so restrained in a supermarket but here…. every piece of fruit calls to me in its ultimate ripeness and picked-from-the-vine freshness.

The variety of people matches the variety of produce. Burkas beside men in long black garments and payot (earlocks), free spirited, miniskirted teenagers beside the “Taliban” Jewesses who cover themselves from head to toe and then put scarves over their capes so that not a single outline of their bodies is visible. Religious affiliation is expressed by style of head covering or lack of it! I pray for the day when I can freely shop in a market in Ramallah or Gaza City in the same way that the young Moslem women shop in Mahane Yehuda.

Tourism reached an all time October high for Israel. Keep coming – we want to see you all!!!!

I wish you Shabbat Shalom, Salaam and Peace from Jerusalem.