The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


March 30th 2012

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

We are all still reeling from the diabolical shootings in Toulouse last week which left a young woman without her family and parents without their beautiful little girl. The father of the murderous brothers says he will sue the French government for killing his son – surely a clear example of the insanity of extreme Islam. As to Eva Sandler one asks “How can she go on?”, the question on all our lips. Sherry Mandell who lost her son Kobi in a terror attack now writes a letter to Eva Sandler. “One day you will celebrate life”

The slaughter is not new. 10 years ago families excitedly unpacked their suitcases as they prepared themselves for Seder night at the Park Hotel in Netanya. A young man walked into the hotel entrance and blew himself up taking 30 innocent people with him.

10 years ago on the 30th March, 2002 Zvi and I received a telephone call from Orly as we drove back from Tel Aviv. “There has been a bombing at My Coffee Shop on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv and Yaffa and Moshe’s daughter Kinneret is in critical condition. Kinneret Boosani was working in the coffee shop and walked up to the young man to offer him a coffee, as she began to walk away he exploded the belt around his chest and the bar burst into flames, engulfing Kinneret. Itzchak Kochav was the first on the scene as a paramedic volunteer with Magen David Adom tending the injured and as they scoured the coffee shop he suddenly saw something move under the bar, just an arm protruded from the heavy wood; thus Kinneret’s life was saved. She spent 80 agonising days in an induced coma, I saw her and even through the drugs she smiled at me. Kinneret was burned on 85% of her body and the exquisite dancer, model, student was never ever the same, she got better and better. That night Kinneret became Kinneret Chaya, Kinneret Lives and live she did. I saw Kinneret Chaya about twice a week at the hospital and the rehab and over the next 2 years was privvy to her first taste of a grape, her Mum’s “ptitim”, her first step, her first shower, her first “real” clothes and her first visit home, and I wrote about every second of her rebirth. The greatest miracle is that today Kinneret Chaya is a wife and mother to two beautiful little girls. She is still beautiful, from the inside out. Beautiful, brave and a true miracle. Happy re-Birthday darling girl.

The elections for a new head of the Kadimah party were unfortunately low key and the incumbent, Tsippi Livni lost. She didn’t lose because she is a woman, she lost because she gave us no hope, no positivity, only anti-Bibi rhetoric. The leader of the opposition needs to form a shadow government and provide a creative alternative not simply go against the current powers. The new leader is Shaul Mofaz, Israeli hero, former Chief of Staff who ironically was born in Iran. Maybe he came forward at a time when Farsi may just save us.

Ambassador Michael Oren wrote an outstanding article on the Plight of Christians in Arab countries. Finally the level of concern and honesty about the poor Christians is reaching higher up the diplomatic ladder and hoefully soon at least one Christian leader will admit this diabolical situation.

Talking of dishonesty…..Bravo America. Refusal of the State Dept to recognise Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel to the extent that they refuse to put Jerusalem, Israel on American passports as place of birth!!. Zvi and I sat in the House and heard the almost unanimous vote to move Americas Embassy to Jerusalem – how undemocratic can one get when 3 Presidents vetoed YOUR representatives! Friends it is up to you to demand recognition of Israel’s capital city. For heavens sake your government recognises Tripoli, Damascus, indeed all other capital cities, even those of tyrannical governments, but not ours not their truest ally. To me that is racist!! See this video of a representative of the State Department facing a brave questioner

Forget your images of romantic desert nomads and read the truth in Ambassador Zvi Mazel’s article “Lawlessness and Terror: The Bedouin Kingdom of Sinai”

Today March the 30th Buy Israel Goods day. Go BIG today – beat the boycott attempts with BUYcotts!!

Walk into any Israeli supermarket this week and every “special” is cleaning fluid, polishing spray or scrubbing brushes!! Pesach is one week away and the frenzy is full on! Carpets hang precariously over verandas as floors are scrubbed within an inch of their lives, dishes are schlepped from store=rooms and the receiving cupboards lined and ready. The supermarkets here, especially the one I go to, undergo a total change. Shelving is scrubbed down and all remnants of non-Passover foodstuffs disappear into depots or underneath sheets of white paper with big “untouchable” signs on them. The array of Passover goods is not simple however, being Ashkenazi has become a challenge! Ashkenazi Jews do not eat pulses or grains on Passover, really not a problem, but since Sefardi and Mizrachi Jews are allowed to eat self-same pulses and some of the grains it all gets complex! I cannot shop for Passover without my reading glasses any more.

We had wonderful rain this week interspersed with spring sunshine. The leaves are beginning to emerge in tiny green spikes from the bare branches and as I passed through Givat Zeev I saw fields of bright pink cherry blossom, heralding a fine crop later in the year. It is strange to see two societies beside each other. The modern Jewish town together with the Arab villagers who still use a donkey and plough to work their fields. Their children tend the flocks of goats and sheep rather than going to school to better their position and although some have started artisan workshops most simply do not move beyond their old ways. The plant nursery in Givat Zeev however is run by young Arab men who come in to work each morning in their Palestinian number plate cars and provide a wonderful service and marvellous plants and do a roaring trade, and their clients are almost exclusively Jews.

What a strange part of the world we live in. As I write thousands of Arabs egged on by ill-informed, dis-informed or mal-informed non-Israelis are walking to our borders to stand and shout insults and tell us to go back where we came from…… the trouble is they don’t accept that we came from here, right here, Judea, Samaria, Canaan……. here. What do you do when you live in the Diaspora and they tell you to go back where you came from (Israel) and then when you do just that they tell you to go back where you came from (Europe)!!! I’ll tell you what you do; you create a brand new wonderful society right where you started from. You build a democratic country, great hospitals and universities, lead the world in research and technology and reach out to help those who suffer whether it be disaster of tyranny and help them. Yes that’s what we did and what we do. That is Israel. Simon Deng says it best in this interview where the former Sudanese slave talks about Israel

The apartment is full of the wonderful aromas of a full Shabbat dinner. Courgette salad, aubergine salad, coleslaw, endive and lettuce salad with fresh orange juice, chicken in mushroom sauce, beef stew, yellow rice – and of course soup to start! Next week I wil begin my Passover shopping but don’t worry I promise to write to you – it may be short but I will write. Now I am off to finish setting the table for supper – only 14 of us today! Zvi is thrilled that his family is here from Argentina and his boys are coming with their families to see them.

Shabbat shalom dear people, remember, we were slaves in Egypt, slaves to the Roman and the Greeks, but now we have Israel, OUR State, OUR home, OUR heart and that heart resides in Jerusalem. No service or gathering is complete without the chanting of the words “Next year in Jerusalem”. This year make it different – make it THIS year in Jerusalem, this year and every year.

With love