The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter – London slaughter, Al Dura inquiry, Kerry

Friday 24th May 2013
Shabbat Shalom everyone.
I very nearly didn’t manage to write today since we have 12 people coming for supper including 6 Swedes (the people not the vegetable!!) and 6 Israelis. The Swedes belong to a choir called Swedish Basta Choir, and they came to take part in a Choir Festival run by Hora Jerusalem ( where Zvi and his choir (haKol Yechasi) practice. Six of the Swedish Choir are coming to supper on our veranda tonight. Last night they gave a performance, together with many other Israeli choirs, and today they did tours of Jerusalem followed by a performance for the public at the newly opened “Rakevet”, the old train station from the Ottoman and British times, now the site of restaurants and shops.
Israelis were horrified to see the devastation of the tornado in Oklahoma. The fury of these natural disasters is something we find hard to absorb. We reach out with our hearts and practical aid in the aftermath of clearing up and building homes and lives.
I was sent something hopeful by my old friend Yitzchok Katz, something w all need this week. In order to change perceptions a number of Moslem clerics went to Europe to visit the concentration camps and meet Survivors. “The main aim is to get Muslims who are leaders all over the world, particularly in the Middle East, to acknowledge the reality of what happened here and to be able to teach it to the people that they lead,” said trip organiser Rabbi Jack Bemporad, who is executive director of the US-based Center for Inter-religious Understanding.
After the horror of the Boston bombing and riots in Stockholm, we saw the ultimate bestial behaviour of fanaticism two days ago on the streets of London. Suddenly in suburban Woolwich, two fanatical followers of Islam took a cleaver and a kitchen knife and hacked a young man to death in the middle of the street. One brave woman got of a bus and lay on top of the soldiers bloody body to prevent any further attack and tried ot calm the frenzied situation until the police arrived. The insane ramblings of the perpetrator for a bystander trying to record evidence for the police also showed his blood stained hands. The reason? Because that young man was a soldier, his name was Lee Rigby, of 2nd Batallion the Royal Regiment of Fusilliers, and he was just 25 years old with 2 year old son. So sad, so very sad. Killed by the very barbarism he fought against so far from home – right at home. May his brave soul rest in peace and his killers rot in hell.
Leaders still manage to rein in their rage and tell us that these are the actions of a very few and take care not to paint all Moslems with the same brush……….. OK.
Serious crime is rare in Israel and when it happens it cuts us to the very core. A gunman shot and killed 4 people after holding others hostage in a bank robbery in Beersheva. Of course some politicians blamed it on his financial troubles caused by the government but most recognised that it was a crime – no more no less. There was however a shining light in this tragedy. As I read an article about the killings in the Jerusalem Post I found this tidbit in the middle. One of the hostages spoke “I’m laying there and there’s a Bedouin guy next to me. I told him I don’t want to die and he lay on top of me, covering me with his body” Incredible and as I always say, very Israeli.
The Muhammed Al Dura affair is back in the headlines as a detailed in-depth inquiry into the footage proved that the child didn’t die (not at the time of the shootings) and the bullets came from a different direction to the Israeli post. France 2 are sticking to their guns but we all know it was a supreme effort at Pallywood worthy of the Palm d’Or for imagination and film editing.
John Kerry is back! Very disappointed to find that he is having no more success than his predecessors he has decided to push the Israelis (well he won’t have any success pushing the Palestinians will he) and demand a halt to all building in the disputed areas. You know what, I could accept that demand on two conditions. 1) If it would bring any form of peace, Shalom, Salaam, Sulcha and 2) if the Palestinians were under the same constrictions. No-one seems to recognise that Ramallah is fast encroaching on Jerusalem!
Suddenly the right have found an old sketch made by Abu Mazen from the days of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, of the areas included in the offer made by the then PM toward peace talks. Many have pointed the angry finger yet when Abu Mazen was questioned as to why he didn’t accept the very generous offer he responded “Because PM Olmert was forced to leave office under fire. Had he stayed we could have reached an agreement” Makes you wonder eh?
I know there is lots of other news but I have to set the table. We are eating outside even though the temperature today is 38 degrees and Zvi would much prefer to be in the A/C!! The veranda is stunning and I want our Swedish guests to enjoy the view. I tried to make an Israeli meal, starting with home made little Challas for all, a multitude of salads, (this time I even have a green lettuce salad) then a main course of beautiful fresh salmon in lemon herb sauce, Hannahs Oriental rice, my baked oniony potatoes, petit pois with green onions followed by my fruit pie and Hannahs multiple desserts!!!!!
I didn’t manage to see the children today, but am thrilled with the knowledge that we (my daughter Achel and I) threw Talia the best 7th birthday party imaginable!! It was at her Auntie Tali’s garden, with a huge inflatable castle, tons of food, cousins from both sides and a Hello Kitty birthday cake made by yours truly!!!!! Talia was beautiful as always and all the children had so much fun…………….. then Zvi and I went to about the worst play we have ever seen at the Khan Theatre which kinda dulled our joy!!!!!
The searing sun has gone behind the building, the shadows lengthening on the veranda as Jerusalem gets ready to schloof, sleep, siesta. The shopping mall is closing down, the traffic thinning, the aromas rising from the neighbours kitchens and the sound of children playing from Shoshanas after they have eaten their fill on her Kubeh Soup!!!
I am so excited that I find it hard to stop smiling – not that I have reason to stop!!! My niece and nephew, Steve and Claire and their son Jake are coming to stay with us this week!!! I have so much planned for them since, in their words, they want to come of the plane running and see as much as possible!! We will leave the airport and drive straight to see my beautiful grandchildren – Steves cousins – who have never met!!! I will then show them the sights and sites I tell you all about – starting with that view from Samuels Tomb over the whole of the city. It will be evening so the golden glow will be at its height. We will drop their luggage and race ot the Old City , walking down Mamilla grabbing a bite on the run and so to the David’s Tower sound and light show. They will then come home and collapse in their beds!! The next day will be full of Yad Vashem, the Herzl Museum and maybe even manage the Israel Museum or keep it for another day!!!! Finally – one of my family can get as excited as I do. Actually that isn’t fair because both of Steve and Claires daughters received the Auntie Sheila treatment!!!!
Off to rest for half an hour before setting the table. Luckily Shabbat is late at this time of year!!! Be well everyone and stay happy.
With much love from Jerusalem – heart of our world.