The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

24th February 2011

Shabbat Shalom to all but especially to Tomer Silver, our adored young Israeli who is 13 today! Mazal tov Tomer. Tomer, with his parents Ira and Valery and little sister Sheli celebrated Tomers calling to the Torah while we were in Miami, but the photographs showed his pride. I wonder now that he is a man, will he be able to ask the 4 questions at this years Seder(Passover meal)?

New Zealand suffered a terrible earthquake of 6.5 magnitude on the Richter scale. The epicentre was in the mountains close to the town of Christchurch. The damage was terrifying and the after-shock demolished the Cathedral, commercial buildings and housing leaving many homeless and buried under rubble. Israel offered to immediately fly a team out to help but the aid was refused. We send the people of New Zealand our condolences for those who perished, a speedy recovery to the injured and a fast return to normal.

Chaos reigns in the Arab world. Some demonstrations were nipped in the bud by violent means; some are continuing despite brutality from the regimes; some appear to be resolved but without a clear outcome. Ghadaffi and his Libyan regime are killing hundreds of civilians in the streets and his bully-boys are beating people up. The latest reports tell us that Ghadaffi gave the edict that any soldiers who refuse to shoot demonstrators must be killed and the photographs of the dead soldiers is almost worse than the former pictures of dead demonstrators as they were lined up and shot publicly and their bodies burned. I chose not to give you the link to see the bodies because it is horrific beyond belief. What a mediocre response from the West, where is the outcry? The Arab revolutions are not about nor will they create democracy, as the left believes, but rather create a hiatus giving opportunities to the MB and its ilk to step in and take over. Look at the countries that revolted – Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, none were radical Islamic regimes; on the contrary, they were no friends of the extremists. Mr Obama and other world leaders must watch the situation very closely because it could well lead to WW3 if not nipped in the bud. To understand the horrors that Libyans are suffering look at this report from Tom Gross, I warn you the videos are graphic.

Israel gave entry permits to 300 Palestinians escaping the horrors of Libya and almost simultaneously, Hamas in Gaza chose to bomb (Grad missiles) the civilians of Beersheba. We, Israel, have stood by all of our promises in the truce with Hamas. We never initiate only respond, we bring patients from Gaza for medical relief in Israel; we provide large quantities of aid to Gaza – yet they have not respected even one condition of the truce.

I was jeered at when I said that I was privvy to information which was absolute proof that nuclear materials were moved from Iraq to Syria 6 months prior to the Iraq war….. remember the denial of any WMD’s in Iraq Well – they are there after all and will proliferate if someone doesn’t wake up soon. ? In total 4 facilities are discovered,7340,L-4033407,00.html

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron told students in Qatar University that some Middle Eastern rulers were using the Israel-Palestine conflict as a distraction from their own oppressive regimes. “In too many countries in the Middle East, rulers say to their people ‘be angry about that (Israel), don’t be angry about the fact that you live in a non-open society,’” Cameron told his audience after taking a series of questions on Israel. Good morning Mr Cameron!!!

The fact that the BBC (aka Auntie Beeb) leans so far left it is unable to tell the truth from its Guardian is well known but those inside dare not speak of it. Peter Sissons is an exception and after his retirement from that once august institution which costs the British taxpayer the economy of a small country, he decided to blow the whistle. “Left Wing Bias is in the BBC’s DNA”

A vigil of over 500 souls for Gilad Schalit, organised by was held in Manchester, UK this week and Joy Wolfe wrote of its success. The event opened with Dudu Fishers song, “Bring Him Home” and Joy reports that Alistair Burt, the Middle East Minister called the ongoing detention of Gilad an outrageous crime saying “He should be released immediately and unconditionally We have repeatedly called for the International Red Cross to have access and I will continue to do so” And true to his word Alistair continuously refers to Gilad almost every time he answers a question about the Israel/Palestinian issue in the House of Commons – the British Parliament.

I am sure that American industrialists are quaking in their shoes because the PA wants to boycott the USA!!! Unfortunately they have no intention of boycotting your aid – Abbas announced that $460,000,000 does not allow the USA to dictate to them. Woulda thought it bought a little loyalty though!!!!

Chicago, oh Chicago, most beautiful city in the entire USA and you are such slow learners! Electing Rahm Emmanuel as Mayor sounds to me a bit like the Polish policemen. 4 Polish policemen died – two in the accident and two in the reconstruction!!! Why would you take a man who admits he was a bad Presidential advisor, made crucial mistakes, and then elect him Mayor. Sorry if I am stepping on toes but… aw c’mon!!! I just hope I am proven wrong because my son studied medicine at the Pritzker School and Zvi’s son studied for his MBA at UC so we really know and love that city.

I intended meeting the Chilean miners as they walked the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where they were blessed by a priest, through the Arab Shouk and ancient arches to the Kotel – the Western Wall.They expressed their respect for the Jewish Holy site by wearing skullcaps and placed their prayers and dreams on a note, carefully placed in the huge stones of the towering Wall. As we watched their miraculous release and saw them drop to their knees thanking G-d, today, walking through the steps of the Bible brought their experience to a natural spiritual conclusion. I wish I had been there but unfortunately I was on a two hour conversation with my internet provider who was trying to repair the problem with my Wifi so that I could take my laptop to the meeting! Ah well it was emotional through the television screen and I will meet them on Sunday at the Presidents house (don’t worry I will watch where I walk) and travel with them to the Dead Sea and Massada……… wifi willing!!!!

You guys amuse me!!! I work so hard to bring you the news yet the words I hear time and again are “We love your descriptions of Jerusalem” .

This week the gentle winter sun came out to warm our souls and I took the opportunity to meet friends and eat the amazing Oreganetto Salad at Caffit in the Botanical Gardens. Oreganetto is without question the best salad in the world!!! Huge bowls (per person but we split it!) of cut cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, mushrooms, laced with wonderful “Tsfatit” white cheese and topped with oven-baked strips of sweet potato, with crunchy croutons, with a beautiful fresh dressing of Israeli olive oil and a little lemon. Sitting on the veranda of Caffit beside the lake, watching the swans with women I love, catching up on our lives was just heaven!!!

The gardeners are still cutting the grass on the park opposite, as if they want the park to be ready for Shabbat too!! I am in the middle of my Shabbat cooking – the vegatable soup with all the goodness of our rich earth in it and the wonderful Moroccan mushrooms, tiny mushrooms gently sauteed with onion slices in olive oil and the magic ingredients of salt, turmeric, black pepper, ground coriander seeds, ground cumin seeds and a little garlic…. sauteed and then served on wonderful local houmous! Mmmmm, I wish it was ready!!! Shoshana is making kubeh soup – hers is with tomatoes and Shula is making kubeh soup with beetroot; Rivka makes chicken and rice and Sarit makes Hamin (Shabbat stew) with everything in it……. without the kishke (I cannot bring myself to tell you what that is but it is only Ashkenazi Jews who eat it!!!). Yossi will make a whole slew of dishes for his family…. and then take it all to his fathers home so that they can eat together. This is Israel, if we didn’t need to talk politics we would talk of food, cook food, teach food and nothing else.. not quite true, the women would talk of hairdressers and the men of football (the real one) and basketball.

Now to continue with the Shabbat cooking – you took me away from my kitchen – I love cooking, love creating, love the love it expresses and of course…….. love preparing for Shabbat.

Be well dear friends – enjoy a good meal – the diet will wait for tomorrow!!!!

Shabbat Shalom from a wonderfully aromatic Jerusalem, redolent with the cuisine of the dispersion brought into a wonderful cornucopia of culinary delights in Jerusalem – home.


PS I thought you may like to read what the incredibly witty Ephraim Kishon wrote about Israel.

Ephraim Kishon was Israel’s greatest humourist. Here is his explanation of Israel.

Israel is a country surrounded on all sides by enemies, but the people’s headaches are caused by the neighbours upstairs.

Israel is the only country in the world where the coffee is already so good that Starbucks went bankrupt trying to break into the local market.

Israel is one of the few places in the world where the sun sets into the Mediterranean Sea .

Israel is the only country in the world whose soldiers eat three sets of salads a day, none of which contain any lettuce (which is not really a food), and where olives ARE a food and even a main course in a meal, rather than something one tosses into a martini.

Israel is the only country in the world where one is unlikely to dig a cellar without hitting ancient archaeological artifacts.

Israel is the only country in the world where the leading writers in the country take buses.

Israel is the only country in the world where the graffiti is in Hebrew.

Israel is the only country in the world that has a National Book Week, during which almost everyone attends a book fair and buys books.

Israel is a country where the same drivers who cuss you and flip you the bird will immediately pull over and offer you all forms of help if you look like you need it.

Israel is the only country in the world with bus drivers and taxi drivers who read Spinoza and Maimonides.

Israel is the only country in the world where no one cares what rules say when an important goal can be achieved by bending them.

Israel is the only country in the world where reservists are bossed around and commanded by officers, male and female, younger than their own children.

Israel is the only country in the world where “small talk” consists of loud, angry debate over politics and religion.

Israel is the only country in the world where the ultra-Orthodox Jews beat up the police and not the other way around.

Israel is the only country in the world where inviting someone “out for a drink” means drinking cola, coffee or tea..

Israel is the only country in the world where bank robbers kiss the mezuzah as they leave with their loot.

Israel is one of the few countries in the world that truly likes and admires the United States.

Israel is the only country in the world that introduces applications of high-tech gadgets and devices, such as printers in banks that print out your statement on demand, years ahead of the United States and decades ahead of Europe .

Israel is the only country in the world where everyone on a flight gets to know one another before the plane lands. In many cases, they also get to know the pilot and all about his health or marital problems.

Israel is the only country in the world where no one has a foreign accent because everyone has a foreign accent.

Israel is the only country in the world where people cuss using dirty words in Russian, English or Arabic because Hebrew has never developed them.

Israel is the only country in the world where patients visiting physicians end up giving the doctor advice.

Israel is the only country in the world where everyone strikes up conversations while waiting in lines.

Israel is the only country in the world where people call an attach� case a “James Bond” and the “@” sign is called a “strudel”.

Israel is the only country in the world where there is the most mysterious and mystical calm ambience in the streets on Yom Kippur, which cannot be explained unless you have experienced it.

Sunsets in Jerusalem are gorgeous every evening.

Israel is the only country in the world where people read English, write Hebrew, and joke in Yiddish.