The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom,the Coalition, Ice City

22nd February 2013
Before wishing you Shabbat Shalom……….. Happy Birthday Sammy Samsam!! Happy birthday wonderful eight year old.
Now Shabbat Shalom to you all, Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach. Remember that Purim is the story of a clever man with a brave and beautiful niece who together saved the Jewish people from a Persian tyrant. Worth thinking about.
I must start with a very sad story. Sad because it shows how one idiotic telephonist can ruin the good will of an amazing organisation and cause heartbreak and ill health. An Arab Israeli woman in Beit Safafa, right near our home, called Natali ambulance service because her husband was ill. The operator, after a period of waiting told her that they would not come out because Beit Safafa is an Arab neighbourhood. I am disgusted and angry, Beit Safafa is a good neighbourhood of Jerusalem not some crazy wild place! I wish I could find that lady and apologise to her. I am ashamed.,7340,L-4347966,00.html
We still don’t have a government and it seems to be getting further and further from actually happening. The PM brought in Tsippi Livni’s “HaTnuah” offering her Peace Talks with the Palestinians. This horrified both Bennet and Lapid who have formed their own coalition, preferring to sit in opposition than agree to sit with Livni and Shas. Decision will hav eto be made by the PM or we are off to another round of elections and he would not win – Yair Lapids “Yesh Atid” and Bennet’s “Jewish Home” would. Gosh it is frustrating!!
The Israeli press, obviously bored with the election/coalition saga has been concentrating on truly important matters – the PM’s monthly ice-cream bill. Honestly! They make out as if it is just his family without any thought of the staff, security and guests!The only good thing about the idiotic story is that the ice-cream parlour right near the PM’s home has tripled its business from the advertising!!!
After the Bulgarian investigation proved that Hezb-Allah was behind the Burgas bus bomb; the Cypriots have arrested others who were plotting attacks on Israelis. Despite this, and the strong advice of the USA and the UK, the Europeans still refuse to declare Hezb-Allah a terror organisation!
Underestimating threats is the greatest disease of the Western World. I don’t know if it is arrogance or ignorance, but it is not good. When Iran threatens to wipe out its enemies – we negotiate. Now North Korea has threatened to “eliminate” South Korea – which barely hit the news and they forgot to report when North Korea threatened to “eliminate” the USA but no-one seems bothered.
Nigeria, threatened by the Islamic extremists in its midst, decided to show that she is not willing to accept their form of terrorism. Their example should be followed
Because we are different to our neighbours, we upgraded Palestinian electricity lines for free!
You absolutely must read this article from Melanie Phillips. It describes the torture of defending liberty and freedom of press in “liberal” Europe
This week saw many wonderful people who care about the Jewish world arriving in Jerusalem for the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency meetings. Both plenum speakers and individual committees made important decision and Zvi was involved in the meetings. For me it was a time to renew old friendships and to my delight I even had time to sit and talk with Leonard Cole who told me all about his latest book and with Yocki (Johanna) Arbib, the young World Chair of Keren Hayesod who I met an incredible 20 years ago and so many more. I get so excited when you tell me that you feel informed by my letters – it is so important to me.
One of the best aspects of old friends visiting is that we take the time to see museums. Our lovely friends Nattie and Yolli Zonzsein came to Jerusalem and we went to see the new Herod exhibition in the Israel Museum. The site of Herodian is just outside Jerusalem, in the West Bank. The site remained untouched and the artifacts hidden during both Jordanian and PA times. Israeli archaeologists have uncovered wonders , during years of meticulous work, discovering the burial site of Herod himself. What do the NY Times, LA Times et al say about this wonderful exhibit? That we “stole” the artifacts – Herod is now Palestinian according to the NY Times! The exhibit is phenomenal, the detailed explanations exceptional. Well worth seeing. Indeed it is so good that Zvi took David and Anthea Same from Melbourne to see it the very next day! We had fun and then all of us went to Zion ha Gadol for lunch
The next day we went to the opening of the new exhibits in the Mamilla Mall. Our wonderful friend Irit Levhas three gorgeous models on show – I think among her best. Sitting in Aroma coffee shop after the reception, together with friends of Irit and Itziks from Seattle who were amazed at the variety of both passers-by and diners. They couldn’t believe that Jews of all types, Moslems, Christian priests, tourists and Israelis all melded together in the wonderful atmosphere of this open air Mall next to the Jaffa Gate! Yes, the Jerusalem Rainbow is the best people-watchers view!
As we were looking at Irit’s statues some young men were taking a photo of it. Of course Zvi and I went to talk to them and ask them if they wanted to have a photo with the artist. Of course they said yes and we began to speak to them. They were from Beijin, were thrilled to visit Israel and amazed at how open and fun Jerusalem was. They intended going home with their photos to persuade everyone to come!!!
Yesterday evening was a triple joy!!! Our friends Danby and Marvin Meital invited us to go with them to the opening night of “Ir ha Kerach” or Ice City. It began with an incredible show with skating acrobats from China which delighted and then moved on to the central attraction and we froze! No I mean WE FROZE! We wore our huge down coats, two sweaters, hats gloves and scarves (and Ir haKerach handed out more coats to visitors) and entered a fairyland of ice. The Summer Palace, Dinosaurs, fish and creatures, a coloured labyrinth, a carriage, indeed so much the eye could barely absorb it all – and all made of ice. Phenomenal! After that the tourism office took us to the premiere of a new show AH! JERUSALEM which is performed three times a week , in English, and tells the story of Israel in a truly amusing, wonderfully musical and entertaining show.
The Voice” has overtaken the world and Israel is no exception. Two finalists are Lina Machul a young Arab girl from Akko (Acre) and Ataliyya a Black Hebrew from Dimona – see for yourself
I just took a break from you guys to go and visit my glorious grandchildren in Givat Zeev. I love getting them showered and dressed for Shabbat and hearing about their day. Their Mummy, my daughter Rachel, has created an epicurean festival as she prepares the food for Shabbat. I thought I was good at preparing a myriad of salads by my Rachel puts me to shame!! The children were gleaming and scrubbed – waiting for Shabbat as they helped their Mummy set the table, as their Mummy used to help me – tradition, tradition, tradition. It is who and what we are. I know I always wax lyrical about the view from Samuel’s Tomb but…… oh I cannot resist it!!! This time of year the incredible sight is enhanced by puffs of pink and white blossom on every clear space as the wild almond trees, the shkediot, create pinks clouds among the white buildings of the landscape. This is the time that Jerusalem is waking up after winter – the shekdiot, the calaniot (bright red poppies) covering grassland and desert alike after the rains, rakefot (cyclamen peeping out from every rock, hanging on precariously to show off her beautiful pink flowers. So beautiful.
Today I am not cooking, thanks to Harold Finger who is here with his family to celebrate his 60th birthday. We are very excited to be invited to join them in “Spoons” the wonderful home of Hila Solomon, in Yemin Moshe. Harold has taken the path from Young Leadership through to Jewish Australian leadership, taking his natural progression as his responsibility. Leadership demands responsibility and Harold accepts his with a smile. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR HAROLD.
The parking lot of the shopping mall is emptying, the shops closing, the shopkeepers and workers alike wending their weary way home. This has been a very busy week for them. Fancy dress costumes of every conceivable variety and baskets for “Mishloach Manot” the Purim gifts that one gives out to friends and workmates. Mishloach manot is not just sweeties and chocolates, it originates as a gift to those who did not have enough food to celebrate the festivities – and should also contain food of value- not just calorific value!!!
My best moment today was when I was leaving my grandchildren the little one, Ayala, came running towards me with my Mishloach Manot – “just because I wanted to give you something Safta, it’s Purim”
Dear friends, Shabbat is drawing near and then Purim – we must remember that Purim is the story of a cruel Persian tyrant who wanted to kill all the Jews, but was outfoxed by a clever man and his incredibly brave young niece. We are still fighting Persian tyrants, they still want to kill us and now all we need is a good Mordechai and Esther plot!!!
Shabbat Shalom, sorry todays was a long letter but, hey, we did so many things this week!!!!
With love from Jerusalem, the most beautiful rainbow in the world