The view from my veranda

150326 Tragedy in Brookly, German plane, Rubio, Cameron, Pesach

26th March, 2015
On this day in 1934, Hitler declared the boycott of Jewish businesses. BDS, you had a great teacher.
Shabbat Shalom dear friends.
This has been a week of thanking G-d for what we have, taking nothing for granted. The Germanwings/ Lufthansa aeroplane crash over the French Alps was a tragedy. While inured to aeroplane tragedies, that the co-pilot committed suicide taking the lives of 150 others is beyond belief.
Another tragedy does not bear thinking about. A religious family decided to pick up their roots in Jerusalem and head off to the Goldener Medina – to the USA, there, in their beautiful new home, an electrical Shabbat Platter shorted and caused a terrible fire, killing 7 of the Sassons children. As we read of the tragedy my son Gideon suddenly realised that the father of these beautiful children was a fellow student at Carmel College in the UK. To close the circle my son in law carried the body of the youngest child for burial here in Jerusalem. Life is a circle within a circle, of tragedy and joy, of connections and breaks, of lives cut short, of a father whose will never see his childrens future because they decided to stay in Brooklyn rather than go to New Jersey with their father, because of bad weather. Heart breaking.
We all watched the West Wing with deep fascination as White House Press Secretary, C. J. Cregg, conducted a spin on the journalists, against her will; I feel that real White House press sec. Jen Psaki has been thoroughly enjoying her constant berating of Israel in general and Prime Minister Netanyahu in particular. As with all such people she leaves her post to rise in the hierarchy of the White House. While I feel that Mr Netanyahu was unwise in a few statements prior to the elections, for instance, concerning Israeli Arabs for the elections, his statement concerning the two state solution (so-called) was severely misinterpreted. A wise leader does not make statements that can be misinterpreted, but nontheless, he said that a peace would not be reached in his term – Why? Because peace has not been reached despite best efforts of PM’s, over the last 67 years so why should it happen in his term? I am very confused by the American President who immediately congratulated even the most evil of leaders when they won corrupt “elections” yet made it clear he didn’t want to call Mr Netanyahu. Surely this fit of pique has gone far enough? He congratulated the Moslem Brotherhood when they won the Egyptian elections; even Hamas in Gaza when they won; indeed every new leader gets a call from the American President. Threatening to go against Israel and not exercise the veto in the United Nations is going a step too far
Marco Rubio, Presidential hopeful and determined supporter of Israel gave a phenomenal speech in Congress
Prime Minister Cameron’s words gave pause for thought:
When I was at school, I remember watching “The World at War”, listening to the voice of Laurence Olivier and learning about the Holocaust. I thought it was part of history and could never happen again, but somehow, after all the horrors of the past, people are once again being targeted simply for being Jewish. During my visits to Yad Vashem and Auschwitz last year I had some time to reflect on where bigotry and prejudice can lead. It doesn’t matter how many books you’ve read, documentaries you’ve studied, films you’ve seen……it’s only when you stand under that sign, “arbeit macht frei”……when you walk alongside those train tracks that brought millions to their death……when you see the children’s clothes, the parents’ luggage, the hair…the gas chambers and the ovens……that the horrific enormity of it all comes home to you.
I found that I kept asking myself some difficult questions: ‘what would I have done if I had seen this terrible crime unfolding in front of me?’ 
Would I have hidden my Jewish neighbours?
Would I have had the courage to speak out against the murder?
Would I have joined the resistance?
Would I have tried to do any of these things if I placed my family at risk?
These are really difficult questions. I suppose that you never know precisely how you would behave until you are faced with the choice. But as Prime Minister of this country………….
Yemen. I remember as a child the British Forces Posted Overseas would broadcast home from Aden and now, now the world fell silent as Yemen falls to Iran, Iranian backed forces, and Saudi Arabia is considering fighting back.  Another country falls to deaf ears.
The Jews of Wales. I never experienced anti-Semitism but apparently it existed at the turn of the last century when poverty hit the mining towns. A small Welsh mining town of Bryn Mawr ( Big Hill in Welsh) stood up to the rioters and a Home Secretary by the name of Winston Churchill ordered the troops in to protect the Jews of Wales.  My children should be very proud of their family name, and their Bryn Mawr origins, as you will see.
Coincidentally, tomorrow, in Haifa, Wales plays Israel for a place in the UEFA Cup, football that is, the real stuff where the players use their feet – thus the name!!!!
This video with Admiral Ace Lyons is an eye-opener and should go viral. “We had many opportunities to change the course of history but whether Democrat or Republican we failed. Reagan approved combined strike Wienberger refused to issue the order, In the Gulf, bring down Khomeini Regime, and the one who undercut the administration was Chief of Staff.  Mind blowing statements!
When friends asked me what to buy for Zvi’s birthday gifts I said “Anything that doesn’t need food or space”! As a result we have some wonderful concerts and theatre tickets to look forward to. It began after Shabbat when we went to Herzliya, to a concert of the Duda’im. Special because today Yisrael Gurion (nearly 80 years old) sings alongside Assaf Amdursky, the son of his former singing partner. The songs were like old friends revisited.  On Tuesday I went to a concert for “Jerusalem Good Deed Day” at the Municipal Council Chambers. The singing group appropriately called “9 Lives” since all of them were severely injured soldiers who got together while in rehab. Each has made a life for himself, lawyers, doctors, married, children, and now they give their wonderful singing services to charity, this time for Keren Or and the disabled children they serve. A young blind, autistic man, led into the chamber by the Mayor Nir Barkat, got up to sing with the group – phenomenal.
Wednesday night we went ot a concert of both chazzanut ( Cantorial Singing)  and show tunes to benefit Keren Malki – a charity set up by her parents after Malki Roth z”l  was killed in the diabolical homicide bombing of the Sbarro restaurant. When we left the theatre, with Danny and Judit Liwerant, the foyer was filled with music lovers at a free concert – three Israeli girls singing the songs of the Andrews Sisters! I loved the charitable gifts most of all! Last night we were back at the theatre for a show of Hora Yerushalyim, dance and song with Adrienne and John Kraus of Melbourne, Australia.
OK, I admit I am trying to avoid the forming of the coalition because it is so ridiculous! Not this coalition but the fact that the electoral system forces coalitions!!! President Rivlin has called upon Mr Netanyahu to form a coalition and he is trying his best to make a broad choice although admittedly it must be difficult to ask those whose election slogan was “Just not Bibi” to join in government!!! I want a broad coalition not a right wing one because I have never been right or left wing – I have always been pragmatic, socially left, politically pragmatic and very, very proud and loyal to Israel. We do not always do everything right but we must stand firm with a rational policy that does not include being forced into unsustainable policies in a world that tries to tell us we are not the indigenous peoples of this area – we have been enslaved and exiled more than once and as we read the Hagaddah story we swear that it will not happen again. Interestingly, Zvi pointed out that it was actually former Generals and chiefs of Staff on the left who worked hardest and got closest to bringing peace to the region – with an unco-operative PA. It is time for a new approach, time to talk openly, together without interference.
Israel smells of cleaning fluid, carpets hang from windows and the sounds of scrubbing is in the air………….. Pesach (Passover) is nigh!!!! I will give you a wider description again but since the wonderful Tim Vince, Canon Andrew White with Hana and Hannah Rivka came for lunch I seem to be running out of time and space! Tim was so excited to see the view from our veranda and the explanation of the Jerusalem he knows from ground level, it looks different from up here! The little orange tree decided to burst into blossom  just for Tim’s visit and the sun shone upon us as we waited for Andrew, Hanna and Hannah Rivka. We spoke of shared experiences and the joy of being in Jerusalem. I loved taking a few minutes to appreciate the plants and trees that are finally showing signs of life after their winter hibernation. Cyclamen, Freesias, fuschias and of course the newly leafy pomegranate tree, even an Ixia and the first rununculus peeking out from behind the foliage. As we sat to eat, I love the banter between Zvi and Andrew, of the stories of each of the guests, always something new to learn no matter how long you know people, especially people who have had even more adventures than you!!!!
I am watching the 3 hour morning news programme (I told you we Israelis have news mania) and I learn that the alliance of Britain, France, Russia and China have succeeded in reaching a proposal for an agreement with Iran – a glimmer of hope. Apparently the Iranian leader trusts them. ?? 
To bring a smile to our faces – a beautiful, moustached, wonderful Druze gentleman proudly told Israel that he is entering the 2015 National Zionism Quiz. Love it! Hope he wins!! He, and most Druzim are more Zionist than Jews. Hey J Street – learn from him please!!!!
And so to Shabbat. My regular and so special visit with Talia, Yosef and Ayala, my view of the panorama from Samuels Tomb and the flurry of activity as I pass through the religious neighborhood of Ramot – and then the week toward Pesach and the frenzy of last minute preparations.
I leave you with something special. Hatikva as you have never heard – on the Jerusalem Light Rail!!! Watch the faces of the surprised fellow travellers!!!
With love to you all from Jerusalem, spectacularly beautiful this morning even though we lost an hour last night! The sun is shining, the view from our veranda breathtaking as always.
May your week be kind, your Shabbat gentle and your preparations for Passover or Easter filled with pride, history and joy.

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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