The view from my veranda

151127 Trudeau, 29th November, Hamas, Shmuel Benalal

27th November 2015
“Black Friday”
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. It is so incongruous that in the United States people are willing to risk life and limb, even get into fisticuffs to buy something they don’t need for the sake of “saving” money when half of the world is in utter turmoil and fighting for its life and sanity.
Our world is in a dark state and we are unable to see a way out because the predecessors of our current leaders did not have the vision, were unable to imagine the unimaginable, of human beings so filled with rigorous, unerring belief that all who do not believe in their version of Islam should die. I am not talking about your neighbor, your friend or mine, I am talking of those who would take the world back into the Middle Ages through acts of foul slaughter inducing terror into the hearts of all of us.
In Israel we have an additional problem. Our terror attacks are not on the massive scale of NYC, London, Bali, Paris or Mali, but every day, mostly in disputed land, against soldiers and “settlers”, apparently sane people are persuaded to take kitchen implements and attack, stab or their cars and ram and kill people – and the world says we deserve it! Why do we deserve it? because we stole land from the indigenous people. What a gullible world we live in. A world in which people are ignorant of the Bible and even more ignorant of recent history believe the rhetoric over the facts. So lacking in a sense of history that the United Nations made the 29th of November Palestinian recognition day!!!! 29th November – on that date in 1947 the United Nations itself declared the State of Israel!!!!
Just in case some gullible and naïve person still thinks it is all about land and settlers, it’s not, of course it isn’t. By the way do you see the absurdity of comparison between Thanksgiving in the USA which glorifies the settlers and the denigration of Israeli settlers?  Rhetoric wins again. Just ask Fawzi Barhoum
We all feel sympathy with the genuine refugees from the dire situation in Syria and other ME countries. Well, perhaps not all. Christian refugees in a little dinghy had their dinghy pierced and were left to die had they not been saved by a passing boat.
 I am sitting before the computer and the tears run freely down my cheeks, in preparation for what I must write next.
 Shmuel Benalal, was a dear friend, wonderful man, incredible husband to Flory and a fine example to their sons, Avi, Asher and Netanel. Clever, kind, the ultimate gentleman – was killed in the attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in faraway Mali. Mali, when just a dozen kilometres from their home young soldiers are being attacked every day. Shmuel, sweet of voice and manner, travelled the world setting up systems of education in many countries, in all corners of the globe. The Ministry of Education of Mali requested his help to set up an education system that would give the children of Mali a chance in todays world.
The murdering fanatics, after entering the hotel shooting in all directions and throwing hand grenades, killing those eating breakfast, took hostages and went from one to the other asking if they could quote the Koran – if not they died.
I am so incredibly angry that our leaders have not found a response to this deadly disease of death and oppression.
After a week of uncertainty his body finally came home on Wednesday night and his funeral yesterday gave evidence of the level of love this man, this giant of a man, emanated. Everyone spoke of his genius, humour, patience and tolerance. Zvi also spoke of his beautiful voice, as lyrical and tuneful and his person. Sammy was a beacon of light in a dark dark world.
Steve Linde, Editor of the Jerusalem Post wrote a beautiful editorial about Sammy. Shmuel, Shmulik, Sammy – Loved you so much. יהיה זכרו ברוך
If you wondered how on earth these young people become so fanatical, so incredibly hyped that they can perform these acts of terror – read on.
Many were concerned at the election of another Trudeau as Prime Minister of Canada, having trounced the incumbent and strong proponent of Israel, Stephen Harper, many of our fears were allayed when PM Justin Trudeau voted against numerous propositions against Israel in the United Nations. His decision comes as great relief to many.
Canon Andrew White is globetrotting again! His enthusiasm for human contact never waning. This article captures his personality, devotion and honesty as few have.
I have often written about IsraAid the amazing Israeli NGO, run by Shachar Zahavi, that provides aid and succor around the world. This Monday, the 30th of November, IsraAid has a fabulous conference in Tel Aviv, with Sean Penn, concerning their work in Haiti. I am honoured to have been invited and of course will attend.
This week has been a flurry of cooking for the bereaved family, shiva without the funeral, a nightmare of uncertainty. I made them a huge pot of warming vegetable soup and then another huge pot of stuffed vegetables. Israeli stuffed vegetables bear no resemblance to those of the West – probably closer to the Greek dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) – but wrapped in onions, carefully boiled and separated into individual layers; cabbage leaves, also parboiled; aubergine slices carefully grilled; tiny baby multicoloured peppers, all filled with herbs, round rice, Tivol mince and lots of love. The first batch went so quickly that one of the sons didn’t manage to eat even one, so the next day they received another potful. Even at the funeral he said “But I still didn’t get any” to which of course I already planned the next batch, then he relieved my distress by admitting that he did eat, they were delicious and he just wanted more!
Tonight, once the Shabbat table is set, the challot baked, the food prepared (actually I am in the middle of grilling the antipasti, running between keyboard and grillpan) I will light the candles in the silver candelabra that I stood beside my Mother so many years ago, and the light from the Shabbat
Lighting the Shabbat candles fills my heart and brings light into our lives. Only then we will be able to rest, relax a little before the children and grandchildren arrive. Once Zvi’s children and grandchildren arrive everything is crazy, and we love it. The food will disappear at a rate of knots! Their favourite oven baked cauliflower in turmeric and paprika; a mangold (swiss chard) and feta roll; Moroccan mushrooms; spicy carrot salad; chopped salad; roasted potatoes; and for the children their favourite sausage rolls (I use the wonderful Tivol vegetarian sausages); Tuna and sweet potato patties;  all this after two soups, my famous veggie soup for the adults and a pureed courgette and sweet potato soup for the children. We will round it all off with jelly cups for the children and fresh fruit for us.
I love Shabbat. It allows me to rest and catch up with myself.
Your songs this week include a beautiful song by Hakol Yachassi The choir that Zvi loves, where we have so many friends and Shmuel was an integral part of every event. You will see a tall, bespectacled, kindfaced man next to Zvi, that is Shmuel. The song Israel Mio, My Israel,  sung in Ladino, written by Eli Yaron, music by Adi Hayat both of whom mourn with us.
Yom ze l’Yisrael. “This day, for Israel (Jews) is a day of light, joy and rest; Shabbat rest, Shabbat rest”.
I wish you a Shabbat Shalom. I wish you, your country and our beautiful Israel a week of peace, a week of respite, a week of light.
With all my love from Jerusalem the spiritual home and City of Light.

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

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