The view from my veranda

Trump, Cyprus, Barak, Australia and so much more

18th July 2019


Shabbat Shalom! Good to see you again.


Please can I start with the bad news and then move on to the searing heat before I calm down and tell you some pleasant news items?


I know you think you know how I feel about President Trump, but my job is to be enigmatic and leave you guessing. This week he tweeted “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,”. Words that an individual can utter/tweet but not a President. Had he said she must remember where her loyalties lie, I could have accepted it but his words rang too many alarm bells. Despite his contentious personage I felt he had fulfilled many of his election promises but this was not one of them.  Since I am not American I will not go any further.


12 Israeli teenagers went to Cyprus, on a vacation before conscription, to a beach resort that many Israeli and British youngsters enjoy. I don’t know what happened but all 12 are under arrest for allegedly raping a 19 British girl and apparently recording the incident on their phones. I am deeply ashamed. I am sure they were all drunk but their nationality doesn’t reduce their crime.


Coming out of his corner fighting, Ehud Barak denies all insinuations that he disguised his visit to sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein’s apartment in New York, despite a report with photographs in the British newspaper the Daily Mail. Since one cannot claim that the Daily Mail is anti-Israel one must assume that they have more than they published since they refute Barak’s claim that their article is libelous! Barak even intimated that the story came from Netanyahu! Watch this space!


After WWII Jews, many from the Camps, looked at the world map and chose the place furthest from Europe and their nightmare, then emigrated to Australia. Australia, so far from racism, Nazism, the evil they had suffered – and it certainly seemed that their choice was the right one. Australia is an exceptional society with enormous freedom of spirit, physically and socially a million miles from the origins of its immigrants.  In recent years we have seen a gradual but apparent change and most recent reports show that at least one Australian school set an paper ” A sample exam paper for Year 12 students claimed as fact that ­Israel has persecuted Arabs by demolishing their homes ­because “they don’t follow the Jewish religion”  It makes one wonder where else such teachings have slipped through the net.


Gush Katif was a wonderful experiment whereby about 8,500 ordinary people, not fanatics, ordinary folk, many of whom had been evacuated from their homes in Sinai, built small towns and farms in Gaza, they worked agricultural wonders in the farms and gave work to Gazans, as did the villages, it appeared to be a win-win situation. The decision to evacuate the Jews of Gush Katif came from an unexpected source, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, It came after a series of attacks by the ever strengthening of Hamas. In August 2005 Gaza became Judenrein. Members of the World Bank purchased the highly productive greenhouses left behind so that Gaza could be self-sufficient – but they were destroyed within a day of leaving them; in their place a theocratic, tyrannical regime which has brought Gazans to starvation and incited to warfare and hatred.


Jeremy Corbyn is facing major dissent within his own party after the Panorama expose of Anti-Semitism within the party. The latest move is by Labour Peers who are about to take a vote of no confidence in the Labour leader. About blooming time!!


Not sure where to put this item – in the happy or the sad!! As of Friday the 19th of July 2019 Benjamin Netanyahu is the longest serving Prime Minister of Israel, beating Ben Gurion by a day. He has served 4,875 days spanning 3 terms, 2009, 2013, 2015. Is this a case of Bibi beating BG?



  1. Depression over


Israel loves Maestro Zubin Mehta. He has a wonderful relationship with the Israel Philharmonic and with the State of Israel. Since his debut as conductor in 1961 he has been an essential part of Israeli culture. He flew back from concerts all over the world to stand with us from the 6 Day War to the Gulf War and beyond, even conducting a concert through sirens of the Gulf War attacks on Tel Aviv. The world renowned conductor, born in India, has played a huge part in the cultural, musical development of Israel, saying that when he began the orchestra was older than he, but now, at 83, he is 3 times older than the orchestra members! He finally decided to retire and gave his final concert this week, choosing Verdi’s Requiem. Thank you Maestro.


We all know that Sdom (as in Sodom and Gomorrah) is hot. After all it is in the lowest place on earth, on the Dead Sea, but yesterday it beat all previous records as the temperature reached 49.9 degrees C!! That is insane!! It was a strange heatwave which lasted only 5 or 6 hours but my goodness even Jerusalem was 37 degrees.


A 9,000 year old village, the largest Neolithic find in the entire Levant, has been uncovered by Israeli archaeologists close to Jerusalem, in Motza Illit. So much has been learned about that period. See for yourselves


I am a curious person and when I hear something I have to know why or how! Why does one say (in Hebrew) that a non-Jew is met (dead) but a Jew has Niftar? Firstly I couldn’t find a translation of Niftar so I asked my mentor, Zvi! That’s when I learned the meaning. When a Jew dies ones says he is niftar not he died. Why? Because in the service at the graveside one says that he/she is released of the responsibilities he/she had in life.  Niftar (released)


When I first met Erel Margalit he was just starting out on a fascinating journey. He was the CEO pf the Jerusalem Development  branch of the Municipality. Since then he became one of Israel’s best known and socially caring entrepreneurs. His latest project is conceivably his most interesting. Margalit, together with Mars, are funding research into healthier, more viable food


In the 1980’s, the Mossad, in a top secret mission, created a Diving Resort in Arous on the Red Sea, near Port Sudan, with the sole purpose of getting the Ethiopian Jews out and to Israel. It was an international operation. Now there is a Netflix movie based on the book Mossad Exodus by Gad Shimron. The movie, The Red Sea Diving Resort had excellent reviews so here is a taste


This Shabbat is the 17th of the Hebrew Month of Tammuz. We never fast on a Sabbath, that’s a day of joy and prayer, so Sunday will be a Fast Day. Why? Because it commemorates the day that Moses came down Mount Sinai with the Tablets of Stone to find that his brother was unsuccessful in containing the impatience of the Children of Israel and they had built an idol for prayer, a Golden Calf. In anger he raised the tablets declaring that they did not deserve them and smashed them to the ground. Not the only reason to remember this day but surely a huge event. Today we bow to the Golden Calf but where is Moses?


I still haven’t started driving and I really miss that drive over Samuel’s tomb to see Rachel and the children. Last week I had an email from Stanley Roth, that after umpteen visits to Israel he and Charmaine finally saw the panorama for themselves, and he understood why I am so enamoured of the place! It is spectacular and apparently it is even more incredible from Samuel’s Tomb itself. As soon as I am driving again I will go there with Rachel.


Zvi decided I needed a change of scenery so tomorrow he is taking me to Tel Aviv, via Givat Ze’ev to say Shabbat Shalom to Rachel, Igal, Yosef, Talia and Ayala, then to Modiin to meet Leor, Shiri, Amit, Gili, Ori and baby Yuval in their favourite store and on to Tel Aviv. We will try to see some friends, without pushing myself too much. I am actually excited about the thought of looking at different walls. We will stay tonight with Amiad and Noga (I can’t wait for Shabbat morning and Ella (6) and Yonatan (5) climbing into bed with us!) It’s time.


The veranda is even more spectacular than usual – apparently my friend Ronit’s loving care last week is paying off in a blaze of colour that takes my breath away. Each morning I sit and wonder at the view, the flowers, the incredible sense of peace as I look all the way to the horizon. The neighbourhoods of Gilo, the Ramat Rachel Kibbutz Hotel, Bet Tsafafa, Talpiot, Baka, the German Colony, through Katamon Old and New, back around to the Football Stadium, Basketball Arena, Tennis club, Hi-Tech Park, Train station and the inevitable shopping mall and I cannot see another person. It’s as if I own it all!!!


Today’s songs are very special, special to me.


David Broza sings of hope, pragmatic hope, with his incredible song Yihye Tov – It will be good.


I am crazy about Idan Raichel and his Idan Raichel Project. Here he sings Bo’ee, Come to me and give me your hand and don’t ask to where……


Bob Dylan, songwriter, singer and prophet. Listen carefully to the words. “The Times They Are A’changin'”


That’s it! Talk to you in a week. Have a good Shabbat, a wonderful weekend and remember what David Broza sings – Yihyeh Tov!!!


With much love from Jerusalem