The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from jerusalem

20th may 2011

Shabbat Shalom dear Friends. I decided, taking into consideration the current situation in the Middle East and the abominable misreading of the cultural, political, strategic and logical map by our world leaders, to see if you are more knowledgeable than they are and if you are, to understand why you aren’t doing something about it? When was the last time you wrote to or lobbied your local politicians or congressmen about Israel? I am not talking about demonstrations because although they catch the headlines they don’t get anything done! Anyway – I thought I would give you a question and answer test, not exactly multiple choice but you do have a choice of answer – then you get to hear what wonderful things happened in Jerusalem this week!!!! OK here goes!

1. Just one country was ever ratified by the United Nations and subsequently the condition that its borders be “safe and defensible” was added
Was it a) the Palestinian Authority or b) Israel
2. One “country” has in its declared statement of intent the complete annihilation of the other. Is it a) Israel or b) The Palestinian Authority
3. One country has successfully absorbed over 1,000% of its population all of whom were refugees from persecution and terror, at least 30% from Arab countries, while the other is the only “country”? in the world whose inhabitants are considered refugees for ever while those who flee dire and real oppression are not more than 2 years! Was it a) Israel or b) the Palestinian Authority
4. Which country has constantly given aid to the other and helped industry, agriculture, infrastructure and habitation of the other country even while under threat of terror attacks? The Palestinian Authority or Israel?
5. Was it Israel or the Palestinian Authority that sent rescue and medical teams to every corner of the earth when help was needed irrespective of diplomatic relations? A) Israel b) Palestinian Authority
6. Which country has complete religious freedom written into its laws and constitutional precepts and which country persecutes and kills Christians and has made their undeclared country Judenrein…. Sorry that one is obvious – no choice!
7. Which country has lied consistently and used Nazi material and cartoons to dehumanise and even demonise the Jews and the Jewish State? Israel or Palestine
8. Which country has a full democratically elected government without coercion or threats to those who demur? Israel or Palestine
9. Which country has taken the suffering of its inhabitants, from oppression in the past and terror in the present, and turned it into a productive, giving, economically successful country filled with initiative and innovation? Duh!!!
10. Which capital city has been ignored and diminished by constant governments by their refusal to place their Embassies in the Capital of the Jewish State despite, in the case of the USA a virtually unanimous vote in the Senate to do so? Jerusalem was never the Ottoman capital city – so it is not a return or they would have chosen Ramleh!!! Ooops sorry didn’t give you the option of answering!
11. What is the only Jewish State in a sea, no an ocean of Islamic States?
12. Which country is an actual country with a centre of government and full civil service together with all the bureaucracy that comes with it and which country has been too busy hating to build anything including to form a country with viable leaders?
13. Finally – lucky thirteen. Which country would you want to live in? Want as your neighbour? Want to learn from? Want to live in? want to set as an example ot our children as to how they should look to the future with a strong and proud identity?


Ok – tirade over. I just don’t understand why President Obama, who is clearly a clever man, would allow his State Department advisors to influence him to the extent that he really believes that the Pals are the beleaguered ones and Israel the aggressor!!!!

This week Zvi and I have been sorting through his parent’s apartment and found the most incredible things. Quite apart from his birth certificate and his parents curfew night permits from the Mandate period – again declaring them as Palestinians – we found letter from Alas parents and her friends in Lodz written in Polish, exquisite tiny autograph books in which her school friends wrote little signatures and messages; both Kalman and Alas medals and ribbons from their Hagana service during the War of Independence; photographs from Ala’s high school, the Gimnasia Lodz; breathtaking documents all which we need to go through, separate and put into albums and decide what goes to Yad Vashem, what goes to the Museum of the Diaspora and what stays in the family. Such incredible lives representative of a generation that understood why Israel must exist and thrive, people who lost everything because there wasn’t a Jewish State and who survived because they were prepared to fight for one, but not just anywhere, right here where we started from.

The weather has changed and the warmth is creeping into our days although the nights are still very crisp. Children roam the streets searching out any burnable piece of wood, loading supermarket trolleys with their treasures and heading off to any available clearing. Tomorrow night is l’ag b’Omer
The 33rd day of the counting of the Omer – precedent for Lent – which, despite the somber time of mourning between Passover and Shevuot we celebrate the saving of the disciples or students of Rabbi Akiva from a plague which raged throughout the area.

In Israel it is an excuse for a party – of course – and for children to stay up all night while eating the burnt offering otherwise known as barbeques. Parents occasionally drop in but once they reach the age of 8 or 9 they take care of each other, most staying close to home. Children here are safe, they are very independent and love to feel that they are “grown up” enough to be out all night. Bonfires and singing in true cumzitz style – from my perch above Jerusalem I see the bonfires like a myriad of stars on the ground, the air redolent with burning wood and sausages!

Don’t forget dear friends, most of our religious festivals and celebrations are because we fought back and so survived – we have to pre-empt and make sure that everyone in the free world can answer the 13 questions properly without hesitation and don’t make the mistake of thinking that it is not worth standing up because you are only one…………… if all the ones stood together and yelled we could make one heck of a din!!!! THE POWER OF ONE IS HUGE – THE POWER OF LOTS OF ONES IN UNIMAGINABLE.

Shabbat Shalom dear wonderful friends
With much love from Jerusalem our Capital City