The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom – Kerry, Tu b’shvat,Ariel Sharon


10th January 2014.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom

Ariel Sharon is finally losing his greatest battle, the battle to live.

The former Prime Minister was a fighter of the old school who understood the importance of defence alongside the search for peace. Ariel Sharon was a farmer and a fighter, a tough leader and romantic husband and possibly the most maligned of Israel’s Prime Ministers. This man who showed great respect for the Arab leaders, many of whom returned that respect for his honesty in negotiations and diplomatic relations. His enormous bulk made him the butt of many a cartoon, and he was unfairly labeled as an adamant opponent to peace. Today, Ariel Sharon’s life hangs in the balance, doctors say only hours now. He was a giant of a man, born on the 26th February 1928 in Kfar Mahal, Palestine farmer, soldier and family man who loved Israel as few others.

There is great discussion of “exchange of population” in the talks guided by John Kerry. Exchange of populations? Does that mean a physical move or moving boundaries and if so who is consulted?  I remember when Yassir Arafat stated that he wanted Beit Tsafafa and the Old City incorporated into his vision of Palestine and the residents of those two places raced to ensure their Israeli citizenship because they feared the loss of freedom involved in being a Palestinian. The majority of Israeli Arabs want to stay just that……Israeli.

Israel’s Christian Arabs are different to Israel’s Moslem Arabs and want to identify as such

I believe that the diplomatic emphasis on Israel is simply because this is the only region where anyone, even America, has any influence, rather than Syria where hope is lost

When I saw the following headline I could not contain my astonishment. The United States Government denied demanding recognition of the Jewish State from Arab leaders! Are you kidding!!! The USA has to deny demanding recognition for its only, repeat, only ally in the region. How low can one stoop to satisfy megalomania?

Michael Dickson is the leader of Stand With Us the incredible movement of students who proudly put forward the case for Israel. Michael wrote this blog for the Times of Israel. Well worth reading because it touches all of us “Do you ever get Weary about Israel?

Hannah Blech is incredibly wise, eloquent and unafraid. Hannah Blech is an example to us all. Listen to her amazing talk at Hunter college entitled “Downplaying the Holocaust”.

Arik Einstein, Israeli musical legend died recently and Zvi was thrilled to find this rare video of Ayala Asherof, daughter of Zvis cousin actress Dalia Friedland, singing with Einstein. Enjoy – we did.

I love Idan Raichel. His music reaches out to youngsters, his Idan Raichel Project is representative of us all and he loves Israel. Back to Jerusalem is a fine example of his work, not like my usual somewhat traditional choice but wonderful

Tu b’Shvat

The number one tenet of Judaism is tikkun olam, the literal translation is to repair the world. We take it to mean that we must leave the world a better place than we found it. This tenet is apparent in everything we do, from prayers to actions and most apparent of the physical actions is to plant trees. Tu b’shvat is the festival of new trees, one of the seasonal festivals related to harvest and renewal, when we are required to plant, be it tree or flower, to make the world more beautiful.

The need to make the world more beautiful and more livable created Keren Kayemet l’Yisrael (The Jewish National Fund). When the KKL began its purpose was to buy land and plant trees and it is thanks to KKL that Israel is the only country in the world with more trees than 100 years ago. Indeed over the last 100 years Israel has planted a phenomenal 240,000,000 thus saving the wonderful earth of this blessed country after 700 years of Ottoman rule where they uprooted virtually all the trees using them for railways and building. We really did return the earth to the Land Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence made this video to explain this festival of Jewish ecology.

I am not going to Givat Ze’ev today – I am taking a complete rest, apart from writing to you of course, but then that is a pleasure! Unable to keep away from my daughter or her glorious children I went to see them last night instead!!! As I walked in the door I was greeted by a phenomenal aroma from the oven, Rachel decided to make rhubarb crumble in my honour!! It was absolutely gorgeous. Yes more proof of the diversity of culinary tastes here in Israel!! Gosh, its tart and fresh flavour satisfied all my food yearnings! Please understand, I adore kubeh soup, hamin, mufletta, falafel and humous in pitta but oh my goodness, when I find rhubarb!!! Anyway enough of my epicurean peccadilloes…….. what I really wanted to say was that my return to Jerusalem was still over Samuels Tomb but this time it was dark and the lights of Jerusalem spread before me was just breathtaking! I pulled the car over onto the hard shoulder just to take a moment to absorb the rolling hills that make up this city. Each hill holds its own Biblical secret, just waiting to be uncovered. This is a part of the world where we don’t just pray, we live our past, our Bible. We walk where our forefathers walked and we sing the songs and pray the prayers in the same language. Who needs our enemies to recognize us? We don’t need it because we know who we are and as long as we don’t forget that we are safe. This isn’t the first time the world has denied our heritage and it probably won’t be the last.

Anyway – back to food. It is high time I finished my cooking! Zvi is at his parliament, thrilled to call me and tell me that next Friday I am getting up at 05:00 to take him to meet the parliament to catch a bus up to the Golan Heights. Oh well – life is never dull in this household!!!

I wish you a Shabbat Shalom, a world that plants trees not bombs and as a flower child of the ’60’s I am still waiting for the rifles to have a rose in their barrels. The Beatles probably said it best as they sang through their pot-induced haze, words that epitomize that period of social rebellion…….. All You Need is Love’t it be amazing if the biggest threat to our society was the Maharishi? Oh how times have changed.

Shabbat Shalom from a very happy Jerusalemite who knows and understands that her prayers have been answered and her baby girl is doing just fine thank you.

With love