The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

10th June 2010
If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

Break the big lie – Helen Thomas eat your 90 year old, mean spirited, heart out. DNA has proven that we are the locals!!! Yup we came from this tortured and mistreated land and all the stories of being exiled by the Romans of being slaves in Italy, of the dispersion and the coming home…all true!!!

My quote of the week is from a speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations in May 1947 by Arab historian, Lebanese-born, Prof. Philip Khuri Hitti of the Institute of Arab American Affairs

“Sir, there is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely

Another wonderful quote from the Scottish Friends of Israel site

“David Cameron has announced spending cuts for us all yet is apparently giving away £19 million to Gaza. Perhaps our elderly, disabled and all our children should all move to the Gaza to get a crumb of Cameron’s empathy.”

David Frankfurter lives in Jerusalem and upon the statement “Obama calls for new approach on Gaza blockade” I think most Israelis agree with him. New rules need to be formulated, which are simple, straightforward and easy to understand. Here’s a suggestion: Whatever Gilad Shalit has free access to is allowed into Gaza. Whatever he is denied will also be denied. That includes visiting Red Cross staff; and access to medical care in Israel. And guns. And bullets…. Let Hamas draw up the list.

Please listen to these revealing interviews with the crew of the Mavi Marmara on the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center website. Chief Officer Gokkiran Gokhan and Captain of the Mavi Marmara Mehmut Tuval,

Humour works where opining and deriding Hamas doesn’t. The shock factor and the humour win through every time! “Con the World” has gone viral with over 2 million hits and are now selling T shirts! of the best PR campaigns I have seen for Israel is through clever satire! Hamas unplugged- and finally Israeli graphic designer Dan Reisinger came up with a wonderful poster “The Erdogan Sandwich”
Two weeks ago we attended a dinner in honour of Dr. Malcolm Hoenlein, a man I have long admired for his leadership, rare humility and quiet diplomacy. Malcolm’s speech brought me to tears in its brilliance and now that speech and more are in the Jerusalem Post. The esteem in which Malcolm is held allows him access to U.S. and world leaders.
Hanin Zuabi is a Member of Israel’s Knesset. She chose to be one of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara and is facing anger from her fellow MK’s. I believe she should be stripped of her privileges if not her position for abusing the democracy which she decries. A dear friend, Margalit Talgan, Israeli, daughter of Holocaust survivors married to a 7th generation Israeli wrote to Ms Zuabi expressing her views
David Efron comes to Israel frequently (especially for our Seder each Pesach) and is very involved with AIPAC and his friend Alan Dershowitz but now he has an even better reason, his youngest daughter Lauren has been studying in the Tel Aviv University for this semester and is now in the IDF for a month! I am so proud of Lauren, David and David’s pride in Lauren! This week David came back to Jerusalem with an impressive group of Puerto Rican participants in the Jerusalem Conference of Hope . 200 dignitaries from Latin America joined the Conference, organized by Amisrael, including Puerto Rican Speaker for the Majority Roberto Arango, Senator Carmelo Rios Santiago, Chief of Staff to President of the PR Senate, Katherine Erazo. David is a busy lawyer but always finds time to work for Israel – and represent Puerto Rico in the over 50’s basketball world championships! Zvi entertained and explained our case to the Puerto Rican delegation- he never stopped representing Israel proudly and his Spanish is outstanding along with his other 6 languages!!!
We went to Nabucco! The performance under the baton of Maestro Daniel Oren, beneath the desert skies with Massada as the backdrop was breathtaking. The lighting of the historic mountain, the setting, the libretto, the rise and fall of the music all came together to make a once in a lifetime experience. “By the Rivers of Babylon” held so much relevance in this place, when they sang of Jerusalem burning at the hands of invaders flames engulfed Massada – and when they sang the Hebrew Slaves Chorus the entire audience was on its feet – at the fourth encore we were instructed to sing along!!!!
Zvi’s cousin Ilana came to Israel with her delightful friend Tanya and told me that after my descriptions of Mahane Yehuda they had to go there! Since I had a date with my grandchildren in Givat Ze’ev, Zvi took them but it gave me a taste to go too – so yesterday I went with my wonderful friend Judith. There is something so Israeli about the market. Not just the cornucopia of herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, the welcome tasting of juicy watermelons, melons, cherries and halva of a thousand flavours amid cries of “Sweet, sweet you never tasted anything so sweet”… it is so much more. The flavours and aromas that fill the air with redolence match the variety of bustling people. I never tire of the myriad of ethnicities and religious affiliations. As I chose my fresh purple garlic a black clad Nun asked me which were the best herbs! The Arab costermonger responded before I had a chance to open my mouth and the Moroccan woman next to me disagreed with his choice and gave her one she felt was better! I love it! Of course, after shopping, Judith and I stopped for a coffee and delicious cold yoghurt soup with fruit.
To end I feel I must comment on the lauding of South Africa as the host of the World Cup. Poverty is rife; inter and intra-tribal strife is uncontrolled; crime is unbearable; corruption and murder are rampant – yet South Africa is held as an example of freedom to the world. What happened to our sense of proportion? Here in Israel I, indeed everyone, can go for a walk near my home or in the centre of Jerusalem day and night without fear and violence is minimal yet we are held as oppressors and violent. Pop stars are “dissuaded” from performing here yet it is our neighbours who oppress and kill gays, Jews, Christians and women! Thank G-d for Sir Elton John and Rod Stewart – maybe their advanced age allows them to understand what their younger counterparts do not. You do not give in to threats!!!!
I wish you Shabbat Shalom and a clear mind of your heritage, your history, your identity and your rich and beautiful traditions. We have undergone worse and we always survive……. We just have to stand up straight and be proud of who we are.
With all my love