The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

10th February 2011

Shabbat Shalom from Florida!

We are nearing the end of our Floridian sojourn and it has been phenomenal. We saw many old friends and made a new ones and life is good.

Betrayal seems to be the name of the political and diplomatic game as the USA turns on those who have been their staunchest allies in the Middle East. Hosni Mubarak is not an angel but he is so much better than any alternative. The demands for democracy from the streets do not always tell the whole truth. Mubarak fought hard and long to outlaw the mutilation of female genitalia when 96% of Egyptian women have been circumcised; he fought to prevent the killing of Egypts Coptic Christians in the name of Islam and most importantly he is a friend of the United States. Saudi Arabia tried to warn President Obama of the dangers of betraying Mubarak since they recognise the meaning of humiliation in the Arab world The level of betrayal means that rather than relying on their Western allies moderate (?) ME leaders turn their heads toward an alliance with Iran. King Abdullah of Jordan, conceivably our greatest ally, did so because he thought “If they betray Mubarak , Ben Ali (Tunisia) and Hariri (Lebanon) they will betray me” Rafik Hariri of Lebanon begged for support against Hezb-Allah, did not find it and found himself talking with Iran, the very leaders who had his father killed and now Hezb-Allah has control of the parliament because Walid Jumblat, the Druze leader who hold the balance in the Christian, Moslem, Druze parliament, understood which way the wind blows. The idiocy of the reportage likened Tahir Square to Woodstock…. are they insane? I believe that Mubarak will remain leading Egypt for lack of a reasonable alternative. Isi Liebler has written an excellent analysis of the recent events in Egypt

The only good to have come out of the Egytian protests is to give young Gazans the courage to demand release from the oppression of Hamas and “the bearded clerics” although since they dare not show their faces or be identified they use facebook to spread the word.

It is really hard to identify or quantify Jihadists, especially those not born to the Moslem Faith, but this guy was on a path that was so easy to recognise!! id=12557232&tqkw=&tqshow=&nwltr=blotter_featureMore

“I told you so”, BENNY GANTZ is to be the new Israeli Commander in Chief. He is supremely suitable, very personable and an outstanding representative for Israel. Mazal Tov !

David Cameron, UK Prime Minster, and Angela Merkel, German Chancellor have come to the understanding that multi-culturalism does not work in its current form. Europe and the UK are tired of absorbing people who do not want to adapt to their parent society but rather to change that society to conform with the very countries they fled from.

Alec Garrard has painstakingly worked for 30 years on an astonishing recreation of Herod’s Temple. Fascinated by religion and buildings Alec built the model which measures 20ft by 12ft and is housed in a separate building in his garden. It is so impressive that some of the world’s top archaeologists and experts come to view it.—admits-wont-finish-it.html

Yet again the soldiers of the IDF show their deep humanity as they help a Palestinian woman who was giving birth, delivered then saved the life of her baby,7340,L-4025082,00.html

I am angry and frustrated by the happenings in Geneva this week. Our dear friend Yitzchak Lev has been working hard, between Jerusalem and Geneva, to create a Gala opening for the Swiss Fundraising Campaign of Keren Hayesod. President George W. Bush was following Bill Clinton and Al Gore among the high class speakers Yitzchak brought to the Swiss campaign over the years. The left wing demonstrated against George Bush’s policies and the USA in general and the right wing against other US policies and both wanted him arrested for war crimes! The Swiss Government and police instead of moving the demonstrators further away from the convention hall where the President was to speak forced a situation whereby the guests would have to walk through the demonstrators creating an impossible security situation. Keren Hayesod was forced to cancel the Presidents visit, thus losing over $500,000 in fees and expenses, and the American Ambassador to Switzerland did nothing!!! This should not be a Democratic/Republican issue the- Ambassador should represent his former President and the Swiss should defend democracy!

This has been a week of friends. Since we last spoke we saw friends from Venezuela, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina and even America!!! Leila and Sheila, the Superbowl at the Haritons, Marna, Jo Ann, Jay and Lisa, David and Lauren, Kathy, Nora and Marcelo, Allen and Maida, Moises and Esther, this afternoon David, Barry and Guiora and more and more wonderful people we met through the family of Maccabi World Union and Keren Hayesod. We went to an outstanding concert at the New World Symphony in Miami with our phenomenal hosts Helene and Martin and were overjoyed to see picnickers on the lawns outside on a glorious balmy night, watching the broadcast concert for free. A most exciting advance this week was sitting with Jay and working on my proposed website. We have a name! “Shabbat Shalom News” and Jays help in setting it up and doing so much work for me has been invaluable. Real friendship is not to be taken for granted. Thanks to those who have offered to help me financially, you will get a permanent mention and thank you on the website!!

Time and again you tell me that you love the way I love Jerusalem. The golden/pink whiteness of the buildings to the walks through Mahane Yehuda, Mea Shearim, the Old City and Mamilla; the flaming red sunrise silhouetting the city before me and the sunset casting its pink glow on the Jerusalem stone; the rainbow of people and most importantly of all……………the view from my veranda.

Next week I promise to describe every special aspect of the places I love in the city that we love. People we see and the aromas of culture rising through our building on Friday as Shabbat meals are prepared in steamy kitchens; the gentle slowing down of Jerusalem as stores close, buses cease their strained roar as they climb the hills and the persistent hum of cars ends as Jerusalem falls into a gentle silence awaiting the Bride of Shabbat.

Helene and Martin do not like me to mention the fact that they are selfless and unbelievable hosts, so I won’t!

Shabbat Shalom and much love from Zvi and I