The view from my veranda

Shabbat shalom letter

15th June 2012
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. This week there is lots of news, good and bad, so I will try to inform you rather than depress you and give you brief information so that you get an overview and can click the link if you want more.
In a ceremony at the White House on Wednesday, President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to Shimon Peres, the President of Israel. Proud and dignified President Peres accepted the medal, saying that this medal was not for him but rather for the State of Israel. His phenomenal career spanning 60 years culminated in his becoming President of Israel and we are grateful for the love he engenders around the world. The usual nay-sayers who cannot bear to recognise a good news get things wrong as always……. Shimon Peres is not responsible for Oslo, Yossi Beilin is. Read
Talking of historical documents, Zvi found this at the National Archives while doing research and found himself looking at the exchange of letters between President Truman and Chaim Weizmann,frameless.htm?NRMODE=Published and I found this wonderful statement by Winston Churchill Minister for the Colonies in 1922 “In Palestine as of Right and Not on Sufferance …”
“When it is asked what is meant by the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, it may be answered that it is not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish community, with the assistance of Jews in other parts of the world, in order that it may become a centre in which the Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride. But in order that this community should have the best prospect of free development and provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its capacities, it is essential that it should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on sufferance.”
Clever analysis of how the media twists and edits in order to make the news what THEY want it to say
Israel has a problem. The very freedom which we take for granted has proven a magnet for illegal immigration, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, looking for work in Israel. They pay huge amounts ot get here and most are Moslem. A dear friend is an anaesthetist in a large Tel Aviv hospital and when one of these women are given free treatment for childbirth, including epidural etc, she turned ot him and said ‘You will get out of this country, this is our country not yours’. The Israeli government has taken the first steps to return these immigrants to their countries of origin and for this we are portrayed as racist. There is no country in the West which does not do the same yet we are vilified as racist.
As always Iran is in the headlines and as always the finger points at Israel as if other countries are not equally threatened. Ex-Mossad Chief: Israeli Attack Would Help Iran Go Nuclear- Meir Dagan says Bibi and Barak are serious about attacking the Islamic Republic.
However, I believe the headline is misleading. If anyone attacks us we will respond but to assume that Israel will attack alone – is not realistic. Also “attack” has so many connotations today and it is my guess that we will attack in a very different way – not by land and only by sea if the Allies join us.
Closing down facilities works and does not unite a currently very divided people.
Professor Irwin Cotler is an exceptional politician who is true to his principles. Prof. Cotler just succeeded in passing his proposal that the Canadian government demand a minutes silence at the London Olympics to honour the sportsmen so cruelly murdered in the Munich Olympics. Bravo Irwin, bravo to the Canadian government for yet again caring more for what is right than what is convenient.
The country is in shock at the diabolical graffiti on the walls of Yad Vashem. ‘Thank you Hitler for the Holocaust which brought the State of Israel upon us’ and other such foul words. The police are looking toward the extreme Hareidi community but Rabbi Lau says the terminology is not appropriate. Whoever did it should hang his head in shame.
Now to the happy news. Our very favourite Australians, some of them at least, have been in Jerusalem for the Hebrew University Board of Governors meetings. Robert and Anita Simons, Victor and Judy Berger and of course the incredible Saul Same with his delightful grandson Joshua. Spending time with Saul is a life lesson in love and history. Born in Beer Tuvia, Palestine in 1918 Saul’s parent emigrated to Melbourne, Australia when he was just 6 years old and life proved to be excellent for him. He married the love of his life, the wonderful Lucy z’l, and they built a truly Jewish home, welcoming and proud, and while serving Australia with devotion Saul never forgot his roots. His stories are fascinating and we are honoured he calls us friends.
Zvi was Saul and Josh’s main guide, I just joined in the food………. they went to the Herzl Museum, to the Old City and the Kotel and did the driving tour to show them all the aspects of Jerusalem that even after all these years Saul still hasn’t seen.
Next week we are taking many of our friends on a tour of Jerusalem. We begin at Emek Tzurim the site to which our friend Professor Gabby Barkay brought all the remaining earth dug out of from under the Temple Mount Sheik Raeed Salah and rescued by Prof Barkay. Our guests may just find a pre-1st Temple artifact as they sift the fine earth – from there we will go to David’s Village, finally ending up at Zion ha Gadol for a truly Jerusalem feast. Salads galore – egg-plant, carrot, houmous, tehina, mushroom, garlic and lemon, mejadara, cabbage slaw, chopped Israeli salad, spicey tomatoes, burning hot green hawaj – the Yemenite version of jalapenos but much hotter and so many more and that is just the first course. We will show those Tel Avivim what Jerusalem hospitality means eh.
Some favourite people arrive this week. Our lovely Kim Taylor will make his way from Cardston, Alberta, Canada to see us – oh and to come to the Presidential Conference which takes place this week. The Presidential Conference is a fascinating exchange of views and ideas, great minds come to inform us and teach us, to answer our questions and look for solutions to our complex world. My old friend Jill is coming too, with her friend Victor, to be in her adored Jerusalem and explore and show Victor just what she loves about the place.
So dear friends, it is almost that time. Shabbat is nearing, the aromas gathering and rising to tempt the palate and remind us that Shabbat food is an ethnic cornucopia, just as our music and our traditions are. The dispersion served to create variety so that now, now that we are home we can merge our traditions, whether culinary or religious, making this such a fascinating conglomeration of humanity.
The searing heat, today was 38 degrees, is beginning to find its way into the shadows of evening as homes prepare for Shabbat. The Parasha, Bible portion, this week is Shelach and talks of the 12 spies that Moses sent into the land of Canaan to see if it really was the place to take the Israelites. 10 returned and said it was a land of giants and inhospitable but two, Joshua and Caleb came back with huge bunches of grapes a pomegranate and a fig as proof of a fine and fertile land. Had we listened to the nay-sayers we would never have come here, and today the nay-sayers still outweigh those who see the truth- that we have great abundance and beauty and innovation and freedom and that this really, really is the land of Israel. Read it, it is as if it was written yesterday, or today.
Shabbat shalom dear friends
Always remember the cup is half full and smile.
With all our love from Jerusalem