The view from my veranda

Storms of Every Sort


14th February 2020


Good Shabbes, Shabbat Shalom and Happy Valentine’s Day. I know that last one doesn’t exactly fit in with the first two greetings since Saint Valentine was an anti-Semite supreme, but on the other hand I support any day that is devoted to love.


Yes, I’m back, relatively mobile and very happy that I chose the right surgeon. My recovery has been little short of miraculous, thanks to the guidance of Eliezer Elkon. My new hip is behaving very well and I have to decide whether to enter the geriatric Iron Man, the Jerusalem Marathon or climb Kilimanjaro. Perhaps I’ll put off the decision until this country decides whether we go for a 4th election process or we come to our senses.


Since my surgery the world has gone mad, from the Corona Virus, terror attacks, the “Perfect Peace Plan”, storms Ciara and Dennis hitting the UK, Abbas speaking in the UN and of course yet another UN attempt to create a total embargo on Israel. The political rhetoric has risen to unprecedented levels here in Israel where anyone who isn’t with Netanyahu is decried as a left winger (even Liberman!!!) and after withdrawing his immunity from prosecution our Prime Minister will face a trial which may well take 5 years of fury and confusion assuming that he continues to appeal after appeal.


So much of the above is beyond my descriptive abilities but the legal system is easy to explain. The Prime Minister’s trial will be held in the Middle Court and Jerusalem District Court President Aharon Farkash announced the panel of three judges who will hear Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trials, in which he will face charges of fraud, corruption, and bribery. The lead judge will be Rivka Friedman-Feldman along with justices Moshe Bar-am and Oded Shaham. In Israel we do not have trial by jury, which is too often an emotional judgement, judges, the number can be one in minor cases all the way up to a panel of 13 judges, who hear the case, read the reams of evidence and judge on a purely legal basis. One can be heard in a lower court and then appeal in the next level (for instance if your case is heard in family court or small claims court one can then appeal in the Middle or District Court, if in the Middle or District Court one then goes to appeal in the High Court ultimately reaching the Supreme Court of Appeals). Zvi and I are proud to call Rivka Friedman friend, a legal scholar of absolute integrity.


This week the United Nations excelled itself in its mendacious hypocrisy. By yet again declaring over 100 Israeli companies illegal, from banks to the water company, supermarkets and more, they have yet again expressed their disdain for the ordinary Palestinian, answering only to the grandiose plans of their leaders to destroy Israel. I could argue time and again that international law does not deem Jews living anywhere as illegal! I could argue time and again that the companies that thrive in disputed land give Palestinians a chance to earn a salary which allows them finally to support their families with honour. Rather than write the story of Israel Twitto yet again, please click on the link to my visit to his factories in the Barkan Industrial Estate which is next to Ariel. 

The Palestinian response to President Trumps Plan of the Century is not exactly warm and accepting, however there are always two sides to every story and here Khaled Abu Toameh explains the difference between Abbas’ public threats and his actions, or inaction. Abbas is caught between a rock and a hard place, his verbal threats appease the more extreme factions while his inaction follows the needs of the majority.


Netanyahu’s determination to announce the annexation of the Jordan Valley was not met with the approval he expected. Jared Kushner made it very clear that there should be no unilateral annexation and the announcement did not advance negotiations.

There has been a huge internal storm over Ehud Olmert’s decision to appear together with Mahmoud Abbas in a press conference in New York this week. Mud-slinging became the name of the game, bringing up his indictment and prison term, however one must not forget that Olmert resigned his Premiership in order to fight his legal battles at the demand of Benjamin Netanyahu and it is as a former Prime Minister, but private person, that he chose to sit beside the only leader who can end the impasse. Netanyahu met with, even hugged Arafat, so isn’t it hypocritical to now decry Olmert’s meeting I repeat, you don’t negotiate for peace with one’s allies, one negotiates for peace with one’s enemies, praying that ultimately they will become one’s allies. 

The elections loom yet again with little hope for change. I find it hard to understand, that is, I understand why people would want to vote Likud, after all it is a political statement and perfectly valid- however, I don’t understand why the Likud Party is willing to support a man facing such serious charges! These are not crimes drummed up for political gain, these are very real crimes, investigated over a long period and two Attorney Generals. They have been investigated by police legal experts, investigated by the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Government Legal Advisor. Time to reject rhetoric, time to rethink our system. The only good thing to come out of this round of elections is that there are far fewer parties as parties combined according to their natural political leanings. I am neither right wing nor left wing, I am pragmatic, demand a pragmatic leader, a pragmatic government which will defend Israelis from attack, fight tooth and nail against the diabolical victimization and dehumanization f Israel in the UN but be ready to listen and talk on finding a solution to today’s stalemate. We are a people sick of rhetoric which doesn’t stop a single rocket, terror attack or incendiary device.


On Sunday we held a Tu b’Shvat Seuda, a celebratory meal for what is commonly known as the New Year for Trees, but is actually a true harvest festival, a planting for future harvests. Since we are not in New York to go to the cemetery for the shloshim (30 days) after Daniel’s passing, we chose to invite some of Daniel’s Old Carmeli friends and family to celebrate my son’s life. I chose to speak of the great Rambam who’s entire ethos was to heal, to study and to teach balance in one’s behaviour, a time for everything in its season which is the path that Daniel followed all his life. Rachel cooked up a storm, Zvi ensured every went smoothly in the kitchen, Rachel Feuerstein Rubin and Abby Borisut Messer organised and I managed to hold it together while speaking. I was pleased that Daniel’s father, Philip and his wife Barbara, were able to come as well. Hearing stories from those who knew him from his childhood was wonderful, cathartic and I am proud that we honoured him with our celebration.


Just incidentally Rachel Feuerstein Rubin has a fabulous company call The Shabbat Collection ( you really should check it out for wonderful gifts.


Here in Israel, not everything is bad news, far from it!! One piece of news of which I am very proud is the effectiveness of Impact-se in fighting intolerance in education, or rather fighting for tolerance in education. Two huge successes in the last few weeks saw Marcus Sheff succeed in bringing attention to both the Saudi and Palestinian textbooks. and UNRWA has been placed in the embarrassing position of having to acknowledge  the report of fellow- UN body CERD (The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) calling on the Palestinian Authority to remove hate speech and antisemitism from their new school curriculum textbooks. UNRWA uses PA textbooks in its classrooms. Go to to see the reports.


The amazing rains of the last month or so have been a huge boon to nature, the Sea of Galilee, the Kinneret is almost full, the ominous islets disappearing once more under metres of water. Even before the snows of Mount Hermon have melted the waterfalls of the North are spectacular and the wadis full of babbling brooks.


Israel has chosen her representative in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest – Eden Alene has a great voice, she’s beautiful and I have a feeling that if the public will choose a good song she could easily win!!


Since we are already into the music, here is one of my favourites, Shabechi Yerushalyim – bless Jerusalem.


Songs of the Sixties often had deep social meaning and none more so that the Byrds “Turn Turn Turn” The words come from Ecclesiastes

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace


Dear friends have visited us, to check I am on my feet both physically and emotionally. Zvi has become adept at hosting, ensuring that all comers are not only regaled with wonderful history but that their culinary needs are also attended to.


I love the sudden “Wow! The view from your veranda really is incredible” which elicited appropriate exclamations and photography from Dubi and Margie Gordon from Boston who have “done” Jerusalem from top to bottom and back in their few days here. After the blessed rains the only colour is that of the kumquats that ripened despite the clouds!!


I wish you a good Shabbes, a day of rest, a day of family and a day of good health.

I missed you, missed writing but couldn’t sit for any length of time. I’m certain that we have lots more to talk about and that I have missed many aspects but then there is always next week!!!

With much love from Jerusalem