The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Sheila


12th February 2010.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are well.

Jerusalem is a special city from every aspect, opinion and belief but there are some aspects which make it spectacular in its complexities. This week I was invited to a press conference near the Jaffa Gate. I set off on a bright, crisp and sunny morning manouevring through Jerusalem’s meandering streets and occasionally static traffic. I walked through the new Mamilla shopping Mall, bringing me next to the Jaffa Gate where I was diverted through a muddy path to avoid the major works on the road. The Jerusalem Municipality is replacing the Ottoman period sewerage with an up to date system. Replacing anything in Jerusalem is a problem since every time you try to dig a road, house, tree or sewers one hits antiquities!!!! Somewhat bespattered, amid the incredible noise of power drills, journalists, some with huge TV cameras, were hanging over the unsteady wooden railings gawping at a small miracle. The deep hole before us was interlaced with sewer pipes but on closer inspection we saw hastily constructed wooden ladders leading to an amazing sight; opposite David’s Tower, after the Jaffa Gate before the Arab Shouk lay a Byzantine road and beneath it a water channel. The archaeologists yet again proved the authenticity of the Madaba map which led to the discovery of the Cardo and many other ancient sites including this one,

It is almost 31 years since the Israel/Egypt peace treaty, not perfect but it is what we have and most certainly better than what we had. Here is a wonderful video of the meeting between Golda Meir and Anwar Sadat, “the grandparents” who chose to create a better life for their grandchildren.

The process continued when Menachem Begin greeted President Anwar Al-Sadat before the steps of his aeroplane at Ben Gurion Airport. Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat two old enemies who were prepared to lay down their arms and create a better future. Israelis have been stunned by Menachem Begins grandson Avinadav, son of Benny Begin, who has become a left-wing activist who stands at checkpoints vociferously protesting soldiers and claims that his grandfather did nothing positive for the history of Israel. History turns upon itself when the grandson has no concept of what drove the grandfather.

“Fatah-gate” Fahmi Shabaneh was the head of the anti-corruption unit in the Palestinian authority. Over time he rounded up evidence of chronic corruption in the government. Included in the large stack of evidence is a tape showing the Secretary General to President Mahmoud Abbas, Rafik Al Husseini offering favours for sex and of his ultimate discovery. Shabeneh claims the tape shows Husseini doing things he wouldn’t want his Mullah or wife to see.

Shabaneh deposited the incriminating documents showing vast monetary corruption and greed together with the sex tape , with Israel Channel 10 reporter Tzvi Yehezkeli, top Israeli Arab expert. Shabaneh demanded that President Abbas must take serious steps to clean up the Palestinian Authority immediately and if not, Yehezkeli is instructed to go public with the rest of the documents in 2 weeks. It does well to remember that our governments, pretty well all of them, give vast amounts of our hard earned monies to these crooks and not a penny reaches the poverty stricken people they rule. The only down side of this brave move by an honest man is that it leaves the door wide open for Hamas. The warrant for his arrest is out in the PA This is the original report – written in English but spoken in Arabic and Hebrew.

St.-Sgt. Maj. Ihab Khatib, 26, z”l from the mostly Druse village of Maghar in the Galilee was sitting in his jeep when a Palestinian man surprised him and stabbed him in the chest. Staff Sergeant Khtib tried to escape but his jeep overturned. The terrorist, who was immediately detained, was a Palestinian police officer; his name was Mohammed Khatib. What bizarre coincidence that both killer and killed had the same surname.

Israel in particular and Jews in general are being deligitimised as part of a very sinister larger plan. The Arab world has long used the Goebbels plan through its cartoons and general PR, and used it very successfully. The suggestion that Israel is not a State; Israel has no historical rights and was simply created on Arab land on a site holy to Islam, is becoming so acceptable that most people forget that this is Biblical land holy to Jews and Christians. So frequently is the prase “2 State Solution” bandied about that everyone forgets that the status quo is the 2 state solution and Jordan and Israel are the two states. The greatest problem is that many Jews are accepting the deligitimisation of Israel without realizing the implications to their own lives.

Shai Agassi the Israeli inventor who has brought the electric car from a cumbersome dream to a reality has opened a visitor’s centre to show the cars and allow people to drive them. Sounds terrific!

Israeli wines have come of age, officially. Wine critics around the world are surprised that after thousands of years of wine-making modern Israel is producing fruity and delicious vintages. Indeed there are many outstanding local wines particularly those from boutique wineries. Gone are the days of sticky sweet sacramental wines – we grew up!

I just took a break from the computer to look out the view from our veranda. The car park of the shopping mall is slowly emptying as shoppers wend their weary way home – home to family, food and Shabbat. The peaceful quiet will soon fall over Jerusalem as families prepare their Shabbat, traditions from all over the world merge in one moment of unity as the candles are lit.

Shabbat Shalom to you all with love from Jerusalem, city of a thousand archaeological finds all pointing to the original inhabitants.