The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter


Friday 13th of August 2010.

Shabbat Shalom to you all and an extra happy Friday 13th to our smashing friend John Gandel who is celebrating his 75th birthday. John is ever young thanks his wife Pauline….. who fills his life with love and humour.

Did you know that in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, indeed almost all the Arab States, Palestinians are not recognized as citizens and cannot obtain citizenship? In this article Zeina Karam tells us of a highly qualified young man from a “Refugee Camp” in Lebanon; 63 years after they arrived the Palestinians still do not have any rights. It is worth remembering that Israel absorbed 900,000 refugees from Arab countries without any outside help yet the Arab countries chose to keep their refugees without rights or hope.

The British National Union of Journalists decided to petition the Israeli Government to release Vaanunu, the Israeli spy who gave the world Israeli nuclear defence secrets, from his incarceration. There are a number of inanities revealed in their petition.

1. He is not incarcerated!

2. He was released from prison on the sole condition that he doesn’t talk to the press – and he did.

3. The slimeball insists he is not Israeli, no longer a Jew, speaks only awful broken English and has been “adopted” by the journalist who initially pled his case.

4. Several of tose whose names appear as signatories of the petition are dead!!!

5. Why in heavens name would the NUJ petition for his release when he is not in prison yet do not see fit to petition for Gilad Schalit’s release?

Turkey used chemical weapons on the Kurds. Erdogan, that great supporter of Palestinian human rights, is slaughtering Kurds in one of the worst cases of genocide seen of late, according to press reports, 20,000 Kurds were killed over the last five years by gassing. Erdogan is slowly taking Turkey back to the pre-Attaturk days when Turks slaughtered one and half million Armenians. EAT YOUR WORDS DAVID CAMERON

Rockets fall on Southern Israel most days and the NUJ, and most media and governments remain silent. The truth is that they rarely fall on their desired targets but they fall anyway. Last week they succeeded in destroying a paediatric rehabilitation centre….. such heroes our Hamas neighbours; they not only launch rockets without care as to the target they cover their faces like the craven cowards they are.

Yaron London is a veteran journalist, left wing but very pro-Israel. Two nights ago he told us of his visit to the Schalit tent near the Prime Ministers home. He took his grandchildren so that they would understand the importance of supporting the Schalit family. As he returned home and watched the news on TV he saw Arab MK Hanin Zoabi who lied about her recorded involvement in the premeditated violence aboard the Mavi Marmara , laughing happily at a social function after seeing the vacant expression of Aviva Schalit, a broken woman whose son is still in captivity, without the most basic of human rights. “I understood that something is terribly wrong with our world if such inconsistencies can occur”.

Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has served with honour. When PM Netanyahu was asked about his part in the Flotilla decisions he said “I wasn’t in the country” When Ehud Barak was asked he said “I relied on the Army” When Gabi Ashkenazi was asked he said “Obviously we made some mistakes”. Only by recognizing mistakes can you prevent them recurring. Gabi Ashkenazi will leave his position in 6 months, after serving his full 4 year term and the plots are already afoot to choose his successor. General Yoav Galant is Baraks favourite and a letter outlining a full smear campaign on the other candidates has been revealed by Channel 2 television and the heads are flying! My personal favourite is Benny Gantz – who is not involved in the mud slinging except as an intended target!

Jerusalem is one great big party!!!! From the huge international art and craft fair in the Sultans Pool with nightly performances by great Israeli artistes like Shlomi Shabbat and Achinoam Nini (Noa), to the puppet theatre in the park and every afternoon there is a children’s story telling corner in another park. Thursday nights see the Mamilla Mall filled to capacity with street artists and “Shira b’Tsibur” Folk singing. The circus came to town (human artistes only) and street parties abound – each telling the history of the neigbourhood. The Citadel (David’s Tower) has a fantastic “Son et Lumiere” (sound and light) show each night and every street is popping! On Monday we went with Rosa and Bernardo to the Shouk, not to buy but to have fun! Each alleyway and square had music of a different ethnicities and the crowd danced everything from line dancing to debka, from hora to hip-hop! On Tuesday we met Sam and Debby Bettsak who are here for a family bar-mitzva. Sam wanted to go to the craft fair but this presented problems on several fronts. The police had cordoned off the entire area so I couldn’t get near their hotel and then when I did we found that most of Israel had reached the ticket office before us!!! The Bettsaks family from London were with them and we all convinced him to cross the road to the Mamilla Mall instead where we found all the restaurants filled to capacity until we reached to top floor and sat down to a delightful meal with Jerusalem panorama before us. A gentle breeze broke through the heat as we watched the masses still arriving at the Sultans Pool at 10:30 at night. Since it was Tuesday the Mamilla Mall was only packed instead of heaving and as we wearily wended our way home at about midnight the place was still alive as entire families enjoyed the evenings balmy air. We don’t leave the children at home in Israel – we enjoy them!!!

Zvi is at his Parliament – I think I can hear the political arguments from here – 5 kilometres away!! There are Motti, Itzik and Gad on the far left, Ilan on the right and Zvi who is always willing to play Devil’s Advocate just for amusement! The ever patient (and beautiful) Shira serves them their salads and breakfasts, their “Café Hafuch” and their pastries with such good humour, she is my heroine because I would have lost my temper with their raucous arguments years ago!!! When he gets home we will sit out on the veranda for a few minutes, shoot the breeze and watch Jerusalem close down. Each week I thank G-d anew for giving the world a day of rest, we need it so much. As I light the Shabbat candles tonight I will look out of my window upon the pinky gold of Jerusalem before sunset and recognize that I am the luckiest lady in the world!

I wish you Shabbat Shalom and hope you will remember that texting and emails are just useful tools which can never replace communication.

With much love