The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila, Daniel Tragerman, Chicago, Yair Lapid,

29th August 2014
When we heard of the death of little Daniel Tragerman this week, his photograph everywhere, videos of a happy and funny little boy jumped back from the television screen and I, along with all Israelis, sat and  cried. Such beauty, such potential, wiped out in one moment of hatred his parents and siblings never to be the same. Why? Why did little Daniel not run for cover from the big tent his Daddy made form sheets in their lounge so the children would not need to play outside? Why do people hate with such foul passion that they celebrate the death of a wonderful little boy, changing his family for ever? Why?
Three Israelis died this week. One was 4 year old Daniel in Kibbutz Nahal Oz and two brave men men who went to repair the electricity supply of Kibbutz Nirim which was damaged by rocket fire so that the children would not add fear of the dark to their daily terror.
The missile was launched from beside an UNWRA site. UNWRA the United Nations organisation which keeps the Palestinians in constant refugee status which foments fury, degrades the Palestinians and allows rampant fanaticism to enter the lives of people without hope. Hamas began as a provider of free schooling, medicine and food, filling the void, and thus kidnapped the minds of children into the cycle of hatred.  If you think this war is over you are wrong. Until the UN is disabled wars all over the world will continue unabated because the watchdog has no teeth.
As soon as the ceasefire was brokered through the hard work of Egypt and others, I said that trouble would start on the Northern border of Israel. I barely had time to form the words when the rockets fell on our northern border from Syria. Oh and by the way, Al Qaeeda placed a huge flag on a hill in Quneitra, merely metres from our border, just in case you still  thought it was about occupation! Evil by any other name, be it ISIS, Al Qaeeda (you remember 9/11) Hamas, Hezb-Alla, Daish and so many others each more extreme than the other. They behead their detractors. We saw it last week. After so long in dire captivity they beheaded a journalist, a young handsome American, James Foley. Why? Maybe even more importantly, WHO? The why is easy, because he was an American. The who is so much more complex. A young British guy, wealthy, educated (relatively) with nothing to gain but violence and hatred, went over to ISIS, aloong with many others from Western countries, young men who took the best from freedom and then spit in our faces.  This week in Gaza Hamas decapitated dozens of detractors – supposed spies – who simply disagreed with them.
I couldn’t decide whether to show you this video but it explains the extent of the nightmare. It isn’t bloody but it is bloodcurdlingly terrifying as a child learns to decapitate using doll
 I received this letter from my niece Ruth in Canada. It is a letter from a young Journalism intern in Israel who saw the truth with her own eyes.
The ultimate idiocy took place in Chicago this week. Two women from Jewish Voice for Peace, Lynn Pollack and K. Émilie, stood up during a fundraiser speech by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel shouting “We are Jews, Shame on You! Stop killing children now!” In case you wondered, they are not on my list!!!!
Not everyone is stupid or uninformed. Even Hollywood has moral upstanding folk who want to show their support for Israel. Good people.
What you don’t see on the map of Gaza – excellent presentation
My birth city of Cardiff is hosting a huge NATO conference next week and Cardiff has been forced to build a huge defensive Wall!!! The bustling city centre has been turned into a fortress to protect the participants from………….. well not from Welshmen that’s for sure!
Yair Lapid is Israel’s Minister of Finance. Although relatively new to Israels political scene he comes from a very politically involved family and understands the media. I did not recognise the power of his ability to deliver a message. Please listen as he speaks from Berlin, standing on the railway tracks that took his grandparents to the camps
I am thrilled to say that not everyone deserted Israel this week!!! Lots of wonderful friends visited and sat on our veranda to soak in the view.
I told you that Arlene and Milty Wittels were here and we had a ball. They decided to stay here in Jerusalem rather than going to Tel Aviv which thrilled me because it gave me more time with them!!!! Despite the language difference they had a great time with our Tel Aviv friends on Shabbat evening. Arlene got to absorb the stories I always tell her and of course she loves the insane amount of food I put on the table!! If I don’t tell you that the group of 16 friends included Ilan and Cilla Horowitz Ilan will never talk to me again. He believes he is my greatest fan but didn’t dare say it in front of Arlene.  Ilan made me laugh because he inspected both the veranda and the view and came to the conclusion that I do not exaggerate!!! When I made my special herb tea from herbs picked right next to him his smile grew and grew!!!
Arlene and Milty got to do everything she usually has no time for. We went to Zion ha Gadol where Milty loved seeing the huge number of salads places on the groaning table; they sat on our veranda and had Shabbat Dinner with us;  got to spend time with Orna and Isaac Levy too; we went on a tour of the new Waldorf Astoria and enjoyed the wonderful architecture and the exquisitely appointed rooms; we sat and had the unbelievable breakfast in the King David – no guys, you cannot imagine the sheer variety and plethora of food of every nature. From home smoked salmon and herrings to 15 types of cheese and a huge display of every vegetable and fruit  which can be whizzed  into drinks or eaten whole and pastries……. oh the pastries.
On Tuesday I met the Tarsh family in the Botanical Gardens. I didn’t know Elaine but she is the daughter of Victor Brazil, partner of my friend Jill in Leeds. It was love at first sight! We shared a huge sweet potato Oreganatto salad while the children all had fish and chips! Sitting beside the lake of the gardens I was fascinated to hear the stories of Joe, the eldest son who just made Aliya and who already wants to do great things with WUJS (World Union of Jewish Students) I see Joe as a future politician or diplomat – once he finishes his IDF service of course. We came back to the veranda after lunch and Joe continued his conversation this time with Zvi – who was exactly like Joe at his age. Loved it!!!!
Finally for now, last night was very special for me because an old friend came to supper. I collected him from his hotel and we slipped right into conversations as if years had not passed since last time. Our children were at school together in Carmel College and they are still as close as ever. Ivan and Daphne were an integral part of our lives and Justin, ah Justin, still is together with his Daniella. Whether in Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, London or Jerusalem the Seligs will always be part of our lives.
Tomorrow about 20 people come for Shabbat lunch to celebrate Amiads birthday and then on Tuesday about 45 people are coming for a get-together of the group who travelled to Romania with us. You see guys, life goes on with gusto. While you worry about anti-Semitism and anti-Christianism we live a full life where everyone can live in peace – if only we are allowed. I went down to the shopping mall yesterday and was thrilled to see that the normal rainbow of society was shopping together again – black, white, brown, hijabbed, kippot, bewigged – mini-skirts and ear-locks passing each other without comment. This is Israel.
For your musical delectation this week three videos. The first has no purpose but to make you smile! Where the hell is Matt (from the lovely Martin Myers) brought a smile to my face. Martin, Love it love it.
This song is not a Shabbat song but my goodness it is phenomenal. IDF soldiers singing Leonard Cohens “Hallelujah”. Breathtaking  ​​
Yehi Shalom – Peace will be. The ethos of Israel.
We wish you a Shabbat Shalom a Shabbat of peace for you and for Israel. All we want is to live and let live.
​ With love from Jerusalem, beautiful Jerusalem.

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

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