The view from my veranda

151231 Happy 2016


31st December 2015

New Years Eve.

Shabbat Shalom to you and yours. May the New Year bring with it a greater sense pf security and a far greater sense of injustice to those who supposedly lead us, wherever or whatever our nation.

This has been a tough year on so many levels, yet as always there were moments of joy.

Too many countries found themselves the target of those who they mistakenly thought just hated Israel and the Jews. Did I actually say “just”? If only our leaders understood that it has nothing to do with Israel, with Belgium, with France, Mali, the USA and UK…. It has predominantly, to do with the fight between the Sunni and Shia, before it becomes a fight against all who do not declare Islam as their religion and Mohammed as their spiritual leader. It is about “reclaiming” formerly Moslem lands……. Remember how we romanticized the Moors? Well they over-ran Spain, parts of Italy, the Holy Land and parts of the Caucasus… and that land must be reclaimed, but so much more. This is now global and a bid to fill the void left by the laziness of modern Western society. We in the West are too pampered and lazy to fight for our right to freedom – we take it for granted.

Benjamin Franklin said “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  Words that aptly describe Western Society today.

This was a year in which the Israeli Prime Minister fought against the policy of an American President when he felt that the Presidents appeasement was a repeat of history.

It was a year of horrific bombings, killings in the West, ethnic cleansing in Iraq, slaughter in Syria and the terror and torture of individual knife attacks on Israelis.

It was a year when Paris woke up to a living nightmare, suffered terror and found that for a few weeks the world loved the French.

In 2015 we discovered that Jews can be terrorists too.  Extremist Israelis will stand trial over the next few months, but it is a truth that rocked Israeli society.

In 2015 the United Nations reached an all time low – as UN Watch shows

Khaled Abu Toameh wrote that the 5 terrorist involved in the kidnap of Gilad Shalit and the murder of  Lt. Hanan Barak and Staff-Sgt. Pavel Slutzker,  are all dead………. Each and every one of them has fulfilled his dream of becoming a shahid – a martyr.

The media reached new heights of misrepresentation and in many cases sheer lies when it came to Israel. The BBC received the Honest Reporting Award as the Dishonest Reporter – but it was a close thing!

Now to remember that there is still much to celebrate in our world- in Israel.

IsraAid and her Founder and Director Shachar Zahavi have done phenomenal work around the world. This selfless organization not only goes to disaster areas, they stay to rebuild. Still in Haiti, still in Nepal and currently holding out a helping hand to the folks of Missouri, USA. I am so proud to be part of IsraAid, albeit on the periphery.

MASHAV is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs international outreach organization. Mashav not only provides daily essentials to Gaza, including staple foodstuffs, medical assistance and essential drugs, fuel, building materials etc, Mashav’s outreach is admirable

30,000 new immigrants came to settle in Israel in 2015 – and Philip and Dorothy Grossman are the oldest ever couple to make Aliya after 71 years of marriage!!

In 2016 Israel will solve a world problem and a local one in a wonderful way. The Arava which lost much of it’s agricultural market is about to become the centre of the flourishing Israeli wonder of medical marijuana.  When they say that we have gone to pot it is a huge compliment. Medical marijuana of high quality can provide relief from pain, neurological disease, ADD and ADHD without the side effects of hashish. Yet another product the BDS won’t want to miss!!!!

President Reuven Rivlin had an excellent year. President Rivlin has proven himself a true, proud and able representative of Israel. A fine man; a 9th generation Jerusalemite and a worthy owner of the title President of the Jewish people.

Former President Shimon Peres, still going strong at 92 sends a message to the world for New Year

We will stay at home this evening, another night of family preparations, cooking, writing, connecting people and happily watching the TV to see what others are doing! Zvi is making meat balls (known locally at kzitzot) for his grandchildren then hopefully he will let me into the kitchen to begin preparing for Shabbat.

This week we will have a Lord, a Vicar (you know who), two total strangers and a young Moslem convert to Christianity……from ISIS to Zionist – quite a big move isn’t it? When I asked him how on earth it happened he simply said “I met Canon Andrew White and realized there is a different way. He showed me that love works and that Jews and Israel are not my enemies, they are my mentors”

I know you all think that Israelis are either quivering in our homes, scared to go out or pacing the streets with an Uzi at the ready. Well I would like you to know that neither situation is even close to the truth! Last week we went to a show at Zappa Jerusalem. It was fabulous, the songs of Arik Einstein and good food. The show ended at about 11:30 and as we came out there were throngs of youngsters going into the next-door club, a car park full of people enjoying the restaurants and activities of the First Station and streets full of promenaders. As we drove home the centre of town was buzzing – not a scared face in sight!!! We are a people who love to have fun, love to eat out at the amazing restaurants purveying every type of cuisine, from Sushi to Cordon Bleu; from Felafel to Fish and Chips; from exquisite linen service to a hundred salads slapped on to wooden tables with great expertise and good humour – salads which are just the hors d’oeuvres!!!

Last night we had supper with Canon Andrew White at the elegant King David Hotel. Everybody knows him there! It was such a joy and clearly Andrew has been in Israel for so long that he has taken our habit of inviting new friends to join us. A really nice rheumatologist from NYU sat at our coffee table as we waited and then became a dinner partner! I love it! The King David has that je ne sais quoi that none of the newer hotels – even the Waldorf – can touch. History folks, history.

Just in case you worry about the dichotomy of Judaism and the secular New Year…. Let me put your minds to rest.

Song time!

This is the most Israeli, the proudest Shabbat welcome. Only in Israel do the soldiers of the Navy stop to have a Shabbat meal – I love this.

When legendary Israeli song writer and poet Naomi Shemer heard the Beatles “Let it Be” she was inspired to write the song Lu Yehi –

שזו תהיה ה-ה-השנה של הצלחה, בריאות והרבה הרבה אהבה.
Happy 2016!
May this year be filled with health, fulfillment, love and the light of truth and peace at the end of a dark tunnel.

Shabbat Shalom, Shana Shketa. Shalom, Pax, pais, salaam, fred, shanti, mir, asti, beke, paz………

With love from Jerusalem, the View from our Veranda which inspires me anew every day– even through the blessed and welcome rain