The view from my veranda

The end of an interesting week

14th November 2019


Shabbat Shalom


The great Jewish satirist, Ephraim Kishon, wrote: “The State of Israel wasn’t founded so that anti-Semitism would end. It was founded so that we could tell the anti-Semites to shove it.” His best known work “So Sorry We Won” in 1967 was the herald of things to come.


Shalom, Peace, Paz, Pais, Salaam, Heddwch, Friede, Vrede, incredible that there are so many ways to say the word peace but we just don’t seem to achieve it.


Actually I have learned not to expect peace, that’s too much to ask for in this land-greedy world, a world of religiously oppressive regimes determined to vanquish all around them and more, but I think a little bit of quiet would be acceptable.


This week has been rather too exciting here in Israel although living in Jerusalem we see few signs of conflict. Perhaps one of the most surprising signs is that police, fire and ambulances do not use their usual sirens but switch to something similar to the old gendarmerie or Z-Cars. It took me a while to work it out – the last thing one needs is to have anything that sounds like a Red Alert siren in a country that has suffered no less than 450 rocket attacks!


The rockets were of much greater sophistication than previous attacks and reached as far as Tel Aviv and Modi’in, some fell in Gaza itself, these expensive rockets are funded by Iran.


I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at NGOs like Amnesty or news agencies like Reuters that claim that Israel attacked Gaza totally ignoring the plight of a million Israelis who had no time to shower or go to the toilet for fear of another Red Alert – both dangerous tasks when you have between 10-15 seconds to get to a safe room or shelter. Of the eleven Gazans who died in Israel’s pin-point attacks, nine were Islamic Jihad activists most in the act of firing rockets. The IDF released a video explaining Islamic Jihad and why they decided upon the pinpoint attacks in a video called IJihad Enough.


As in any attack upon Israelis the very best in people comes to the fore. Israelis all over the country opened their homes to residents of the South, owners of luxurious zimmers in the north opened their hearts and gave southerners a free weekend. Many residents chose to stay in their homes. Farmers had little choice because they can’t leave their animals and families often feel safer when they know where their shelters are. Businesses, especially restaurants, were left with rotting food since they had no customers and shops simply didn’t open.


Netta Barzilai heard that a young couple were forced to cancel their 400 guest wedding party (not a big wedding in Israel) and hold their wedding celebrations in a shelter with close friends and she decided to pay them a surprise visit. When her musicians refused to travel south she got into her car and drove herself to the wedding, giving the young couple the surprise of their lives!


Egypt and Hamas with the UN brokered a cease fire which of course was instantly broken by PIJ operatives. Perhaps they misunderstood the principles of Cease Fire


As to the latest European demands for labelling of products from the disputed territories……….It hurts the ordinary Palestinian far more than any Israeli because the Israeli companies that produce in, for instance, Barkan or Mishor Adumim provide solid work and Israeli work conditions and pay for Palestinians who otherwise would be on the bread-line. If one takes the example of SodaStream – they were basically forced to leave Mishor Adumim and although the owner did everything he could to employ those same Palestinians it became hard for them to travel so he employed locals. There is no logic and a great deal less understanding of the true situation here in Israel. The ICC in the Hague is conceivably the most anti-Semitic/anti-Israel body, only equalled by the UN and the Red Cross – oh I forgot and Amnesty, Save the Children Fund, Americaid, Christian Aid……….. need I go on.


There were two wonderful flickers of light in my week when former UK Labour Parliamentarian Ian Austin spoke of the ghastly support of terrorism that is the Labour Party under Corbyn, who incidentally also supported the IRA when they were blowing up, killing, ordinary Brits. They are not fit to lead the Labour Party, they are racists he said. Austin is urging Labour voters to vote Tory and Boris Johnson. When asked why he did it he said “To honour my father who came to Britain as a Jewish refugee from the Holocaust” The second, when 24 major British personalities came out against Anti-Semitism  in the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn in particular and some 57,000 people have signed a petition declaring Jeremy Corbyn “unfit for public office”.


If you didn’t receive the newsletter over the past few weeks, you can always catch up, and maybe find points of interest in the search, on my website. I should be switching to MailChimp next week since Gmail is such a problem


Marcus Sheff, CEO of Impact-se, meetings with many European and USA parliamentarians and senior civil servants is really beginning to pay off – but more of that later when their promises become actuality. Here are a few reports of the changes in the news and for those who think that North America is free of intolerance in their schools


Some 30 years ago Shlomo Artzi wrote a song entitled “Under the Mediterranean Sky”. The line repeated in the song “At what cost” is so relevant today about the price we pay for being here in our own land.


Arik Einstein wrote the song Ani v’Ata – You and I will change the world – here it is sung by

Ofra Haza and Dan Shilon joined by Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres

Ani Ve Ata – You and I will change the world. Ironic really.


You and I will change the world

You and I by then all will follow

Others have said it before me

But it doesn’t matter

You and I we’ll change the world


You and I will try from the beginning

It will be tough for us, no matter, it’s not too bad

Others have said it before me

But it doesn’t matter

You and I we’ll change the world


We are in Tel Aviv again this Shabbat. Firstly for Ronit Dotan’s 70th birthday party lunch, then Shabbat Dinner with Amiad and Noga and the children and then on Shabbat we will have lunch with Laura and Uri Neiger who live very close to Amiad and Noga. Once home we will pack our bags for 2 days in the Dead Sea. Israelis don’t sit around and feel sorry for ourselves, we have learned to love life and live every moment. It’s rarely boring! Not just our social life but incredible theatre, opera, clubs and for many, singing groups which become family. Talking of singing groups, you have a bonus song this week! Zvi’s choir, Hakol Yachassi, with a wonderful song On the peak of Har Hatsofim.


With love to you all, wherever you may be. Remember, our dangers make a big noise but actually, Israel is one of the safest places on earth. “How on earth can she say that” I hear you cry… because we spend a large sum of our budget on DEFENCE. Defence of our people to ensure that no matter how lousy our neighbours are we Israelis are safe.


Shabbat Shalom dear lovely people, if you have time try to read this weeks Torah Reading, Vayera, it will explain a great deal about the situation in the Middle East, just in case you thought it all started in 1948!!


With much love from our veranda. My little lemon tree, a present from my dearest Welsh friends, was very sad and I feared it may die, but after spending time and effort with a lot of love to revive it, I found several blossoms  and even a few new fruits peeking through its freshly green leaves! An omen of better times?


Shabbat Shalom