The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


8th July 2011

Shabbat Shalom to you all and a special big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my son Gideon. Only one year til the Gideon Saul book.

This week Israeli news broadcasts are all about the ‘mashat’ – the flotilla from morning to night. Turkey and Greece decided that they would not allow the flotilla to leave their countries and most Western nations warned their nationals not to take part. Indeed on Facebook we had a funny discussion about – flotilla, flotzilla but decided that all will be fine when G-d-zilla comes into the equation. It wasn’t meant to be an impious comment – rather a rational one.

I am not afraid of a few boat-loads of misinformed Infidels and a lot of ill-intentioned Moslems, I am however incensed at the idea that Gaza needs aid. They do not. While Sudan, North Korea, Eritrea and many other parts of the world are worthy recipients of sympathy, food and medicines, Gaza flourishes. It is unfair, unjust and Un-nations to pity the fed and ignore the starving. Please read Tom Gross’ outstanding report this week on that subject.
Truth of supposed aid to Gaza – Tom Gross

As the threat of hundreds of pro-Palestinian passengers arriving at Ben Gurion Airport loomed one Government Minister came up with a great idea. Each and every passenger arriving at Ben Gurion would receive flowers and a warm greeting. The hoards of press photographers waiting for angry troops would have been very disappointed as beautiful young people handed out Israeli grown flowers. Flowers at the airport
The latest news is that five activists did land and tried to make a major demonstration but were generally ignored. Our thanks to the airlines who decided to stop their futile efforts and not allow them onto the planes.

Talking of a very different air operation, it is 35 yeas since the flight to Entebbe to rescue the 254 passengers on an Air France aeroplane. Jew and Israelis separated from the others no-one knew what would happen. Palestinian and German terrorists were responsible. This video tells the story of a truly heroic rescue enabled by personal knowledge of Idi Amin who trained in Israel.

It is 6 years since the horrific 7/7 bombings in London when local, British born, middle class young Moslems drove their fathers Mercedes to London with the prime and only intent of killing as many infidels as possible. They attacked the buses and the tubes and many died and even more were horribly injured. It should have been a lesson but Britain is too lenient a society, still believing in the ultimate good of mankind and sadly I believe will suffer more before understanding that not every Moslems is good, just as not every Moslem is bad. Our hearts go out to the families of the dead and to the injured – may they be healed in heart and body. May they occasionally remember that we not only empathise- we KNOW what they went through – IT IS THE SAME SYNDROME AS ISRAEL SUFFERS AND IT IS TIME EVERYONE REALISED.
Jerusalem scientists at Hadassah Hospital identified a molecular basis for DNA breakage, which results in the development of cancer. This is one the most hopeful pieces of research thus far.

Walid Shoebat was a Palestinian Terrorist. Walid Shoebat understands and speaks out. Please, if you watch nothing else watch this 40 minute video and you will understand the Middle East and your own country.

Not everything in our lives is serious. We had a special treat this week as Australian friend arrived in Israel for the very first time. It was special because Dermot Molloy brought his lovely wife and two children with him, special because young people are more susceptible to media influence than adults and more honest about their reactions. As we sat around a table, yes you guessed, at Zion ha Gadol, in the busy Talpiot neighbourhood of Jerusalem, the table laden with never-ending salads, I asked them how the reality of Israel compared to the impression they had from the television news. ‘EVERYTHING’ was the instant response. Israel is modern, mixed, fun, busy, noisy, beautiful and we have loved every second. Most of our family and friends told us not to come but, my goodness, it is marvellous.’ Now folks, that is what I have been trying to tell you – don’t listen to the news – listen to me.

Jill arrived this week for her annual months sojourn in Israel. It never fails to amaze me seeing Israel through her eyes. I always thought that I appreciate the beauty and wonder of Israel, until she arrives and reminds me of the little things that are so very special. Today we went to collect Yosef and Talia from gan, kindergarten. The sheer freedom of the children is so refreshing. Watching tiny children being carefully walked home by big brothers and sisters with a freedom so few countries afford. Children are loved here – they come with us to restaurants and shopping, they are not told to be quiet and speak when spoken to – they are free souls since responsibility comes all too soon. After taking the children home, reading a story to all of them and then showering them before Shabbat, such fun with the baby Ayala, we drove home past Samuels Tomb and the spectacular panorama of Jerusalem.

We went to Mahane Yehuda, not so much to shop but rather to breathe in the aromas and activity that sums up that wonderful place. The yelling of the costermongers, the incredible summer fruits piled high – nectarines, peaches, figs, cherries – white and rich juicy black -, firm cucumbers in pyramids and vine tomatoes giving off the smell of summer. The people are as varied as the fruits and vegetables but much noisier. I feel that I live and breathe Jerusalem each time I go there.

The German Colony has a very mixed history. Built to house the German pilgrims to the Holy City the houses are a wonderful mix of Middle East and European. The roads have changed name though, once German streets are now call ‘Lloyd George’ and ‘William Deedes’ and ‘Josiah Wedgewood’ proving that one can change history to suit the times. Many of the roads have taken on the names of the Twelve Tribes and the Matriarchs, gosh this is such an interesting place.

Jill is now sitting on the veranda, reading my Jerusalem Post and watching the City slow down, become drowsy in the summer heat and then give in to tiredness after a weeks work. Sleep comes easily to the men but the women are still tweaking the spices in the cornucopia of delicious dishes – not with Egyptian Fenugreek though. The most popular spices used here are Hawiej, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamon, tumeric; with lots of hot pepper and garlic thrown in for fun. The helpings are generous and the variety enormous. Don’t forget that Israel is the only country where you can have twenty salads on the table and none of them contain lettuce. I will pop down to Shoshana soon, to wish her Shabbat Shalom and then cross the entrance to Michal and Kobi before Zvi comes home from his Parliament.
We have another busy week ahead of us which makes Shabbat all the sweeter. In fact it is a very exciting week but……………….. you will have to wait til next week to hear about it since I am off to set the table, finish off the gefilte fish and tweak my spices.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, love from Jerusalem, the most precious and beautiful jewel of our crown.