The view from my veranda

161111 American Election, Trump, Media, Remembrance and poppies


10th November, 2016

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

I suppose one could call this the day after the day after the night before.

Clipper Kyle of the Los Angeles Clippers posted thus on Facebook



Americans are either despondent or overjoyed, but rarely are their emotions mixed.  I was not surprised at the result, nor was Zvi. We travelled in the less affluent areas of the USA, the rural areas, not the big and sophisticated cities and the citizens felt forgotten, ignored and abandoned by the big administration in Washington. Not a new feeling, I believe it has been brewing for a long time but the hope of Obamas election has been dissipated by the facts on the ground. We told friends how the vote would go but I guess we have too many journalists among our friends and the message didn’t get through.

The intellectual snobs of the media got it totally wrong. They assumed that if you were white, educated and comfortable you would never vote for Trump. They got it wrong – again.

I do not take sides, am neither excited nor disappointed, just a fly on the wall of American politics, a fly who recognises the importance of change.

Donald Trump is unconventional and not in any way part of the Washington establishment, that was his attraction. Americans, particularly those of the periphery, were tired of the establishment because it hasn’t worked for them. The poor are sick and tired of being ignored and see Donald Trump as their hope for job creation. Sadly so many people of colour, white, pink, caramel or black, feel that their hopes were dashed by past administrations. It did not take genius to foresee this result, perfectly explained in this article

The professional diplomats and specialists on protocol of the White House must now kick in with advice, smooth the very rough edges and teach him protocol and diplomatic double speak. He is highly intelligent and will step up to the plate.

Now is the test of democracy – accepting the new leadership when you didn’t choose the winner.

I am staggered at the violent rallies against Trump in Los Angeles, Seattle and elsewhere, fighting with police and the burning of effigies of the President elect. Such actions are anti-democratic – democracy is accepting the bitter result, rallying ones thoughts, initiating new tactics and running for office or backing a candidate. The next elections start now and violent protest is not the answer. It reflects very badly on the USA.

British media reaction has also been one of dismay, many believing that Trump will take Britain into war and after Brexit, without the backing of Europe, Britain will be alone. It does not hold water. The last President who kept America out of war left Britain fighting Hitler for 3 years and Europe was never Britain’s Ally, the Commonwealth that always stood beside Britain. Today, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month bears testimony to that. War has been raging in the entire Middle East for many years and Allied troops are dying daily at the hands of terrorist killers who hate the West. The very left wing Israeli media is licking its wounds too – indeed several members of Zvi’s Parliament mocked him when he said Trump will win. One even insisted rather forcefully that Hillary would win by a huge margin.

Incredibly the world kept right on turning and the sun rose despite the results of American elections!!!

Russian Prime Minister Medvedev came to Israel for talks withPrime Minister Netanyahu (who I neither chose nor wanted but support as the democratically elected leader). We knew because we went out for dinner yesterday with our dear friends Teresa Strangeland and Don Hughes and Don, a history buff, chose the King David Hotel.  I was a little surprised that all the convenient parking spaces alongside the YMCA were cordoned off, and then we saw hundreds of police. Curiouser and curiouser!!!

We walked through the exquisite lobby out onto the historic King David balcony where Winston Churchill wrote his famous letter about the Jewish homeland, ( ) and Zvi gave a synopsis of the history and view of the Old City as only he knows how.  We carefully chose a table with a glorious view, Teresa and Don who live in Alberta, Canada, soaked up the warm balmy evening, I said “Shame Andrew isn’t here” – “Call him” said Zvi, “I forgot my phone in the car” – Zvi volunteered to go and bring my phone and met Canon Andrew White in the lobby!!! Andrew recently underwent extensive tests and his MS has severely affected his brain and he has early onset Alzheimer’s so he is driven even more to complete his blessed work. He has formed a new NGO since FRRME sacked him as Director for breaking the rules and releasing Yazidi sex slaves. I do not take sides, I just want him to be happy and fulfilled in his mission on earth. We had a brilliant evening and both Teresa and Don were thrilled at spending an evening with Andrew. We took photos on Medvedev’s red carpet although not with him, the delightful young Israeli secret service guy said that the Russian guards would not be kind if Zvi poked the camera through the barrier to take a photo. Since I read the story of Flat Stanley for my children I know what a barrier on your head can do!

About three weeks ago I received a delightful letter through the post. It was a “save the date” for my nieces wedding. I was about to open the envelope when Zvi stopped me and demanded I look at the address. Someone had scribbled out Israel and replaced it with PALESTINE.  I was horrified on every level; quite apart from the racist aspect, defacing Royal Mail is a criminal offence. I spoke to two people, my son Gideon who is a Barrister (Advocate) and Welsh Member of Parliament Guto Bebb neither of whom are shrinking violets in the face of adversity. After many strong letters to and fro, from both Gideon and Guto Bebb, Guto met with the General Manager of the Royal Mail who sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers of apology and explained that actually finding the individual would be very difficult, so he decided to go to the offending central post office and have an expert give a talk on racism. Thank you to Guto and Gideon, and to Matthew Wake, GM of the Royal Mail.

Just one small fact about the Trumps, Ivanka Trump uses an Israeli baby buggy!! She has a Doona, the brilliant car seat cum buggy invention!  Amiad, Zvi’s eldest son is a partner in the company so we are very happy that the future grandbaby in chief will be in a Doona

Other than that it was a good week, relatively quiet but good.

On Sunday I had meetings in Petah Tikva, Monday I met with Cardiff girlfriends in Herzliya, gosh I love being with them. We grew up together in Wales and it feels so good to know that one has nothing to explain – they know from whence you came. On Tuesday Rachel and I had breakfast in the Botanical Gardens to celebrate her birthday, before heading off to find her an appropriate present! Yesterday I had a call from my friend Irit and we decided to meet for lunch – in the Botanical Gardens! I love it, especially in autumn; the trees reflected in the lake, framing the shimmering water, the sun dancing between the lily pads, the occasional ripple of fish popping up to greet a passing fly. Good food, good company and glorious view.

As I left the Botanical Gardens a very Israeli thing happened. A bus driver beside me at the traffic lights tooted his horn, indicating to lower my window. This is Israel so I was not worried I simply complied. “Hamuda if you keep driving on that front tyre you will destroy it – go to the top of the hill and there is a garage with an air machine“.  Of course the air machine was broken so I stopped at my usual car electrical specialist and he told me not to go to his neighbor who would cheat me, filled the tyre with air, called another tyre guy nearby and sent me there. The second tyre guy was just amazing, took a huge screw out of my tyre, repaired it and chatted merrily giving good advice. He charged me $10 and wished me safe driving. Incidentally all of the above kind people were Israeli Arabs.

Tomorrow night is already Shabbat again!

While looking for appropriate music I remembered the beautiful young woman who sat at our Seder Table 18 months ago, while on a visit with the Israeli Opera production of La Boheme. She was so much fun and then Zvi asked her to sing something, anything, and we both fell in love with her,  Nadine Sierra singing the American national Anthem for both candidates

I had already chosen the next song –  Leonard Cohen’s Halleluya in Yiddish before the news of his passing May Leonard Cohen rest in peace his immense legacy assured. Baruch Dayan Emet

From beautiful Jerusalem, the centre of our world I wish you Shabbat Shalom. From Zvi and I Happy Birthday to Rachel, Ayala, Shiri and Ori……… yes it was an expensive week!!!

Shabbat Shalom and remember, this week’s Torah reading is where the whole Isaac and Ishmael story begins.

With love