The view from my veranda

161202 29th Nov. 1947, Wars, BBC


2nd December 2016

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

Thanksgiving has been and gone, with many Americans enjoying the festival but not allowing themselves to give thanks for the democratic process. However, Turkeys were devoured and families got together, which is a good part of the celebrations.

Kaf Tet b’November has also been and gone with 98% of us not even noticing or remembering. Quite incredible that we don’t remember and do not give thanks, because the 29th of November 1947 was the most important day in Jewish life for many, many centuries. It was the day that the State of Israel was officially brought into being at the United Nations. So often misinterpreted, so often ignored, we were ratified! To understand the many misconceptions and the truth please read this fascinating article by Eli Hertz. While disagreeing on some issues this is a clear explanation of a complex issue.

Misinterpretations and lack of compassion have become a sad part of some Rabbis – a very few I am happy to say – who make proclamations without thought of situations. After losing their homes to fire one Rabbi in the North announced that since their Ketubot (Jewish marriage licences) had burned along with their homes, married couples could not live as husband and wife. It earned well-deserved outrage, both Chief Rabbinates denounced the edict since every Ketuba has at least two more copies, and was the epitome of the “sticking to the rules and throwing compassionate interpretation to the winds” of recent years. Reading my thoughts as always my dear friend Rabbi Jeremy Rosen wrote about this very subject this week. It was more personal, talking about a wonderful Glasgow family, but expresses my feelings on the subject.

An aeroplane crashed with an entire football team on board and it made headlines; what barely touched the news – thousands more innocents died in Syria; hundreds more innocents died in Iraq; wars continue unabated – Central African Republic (armed clashes between Muslims and Christians), Democratic Republic of Congo (war against rebel groups), Egypt (war against Islamic militants of Islamic State branch), Libya (civil war), Mali (clashes between army and rebel groups), Mozambique (clashes with RENAMO rebels) Nigeria (war against Islamic militants), Somalia (war against al-Shabaab Islamic militants), Sudan (war against Islamic rebels in Darfur), South Sudan (clashes with Islamic rebels), Nigeria (war against Boko Haram) and so the list goes on and on, yet what distresses the media and the current Administration? a few houses on disputed land. Our world has gone mad! We cannot fight every war or settle every dispute but we can at least be given the truth. When will journalism return to being just that – a journal, a diary, reporting the truth without opinions, without determinedly twisting our knowledge to their point of view?

Combining the UN vote of 1947, the media and warfare, let’s watch this excellent video explaining why despite the fact that Israel is given special status by the WHO and the UN for her medical education to third world countries and the fact that Palestinians have the best healthcare in the entire Middle East, in Israeli hospitals (190,000 of them) we are condemned more than any other country by the supposedly august institution

A large delegation of African Diplomats created a diplomatic tidal wave yesterday. Why? Because they flouted diplomatic protocol and visited the Old City of Jerusalem. Why on earth would anyone be offended? The Palestinians were of course! The visit of the African Diplomats reflected the increasingly warm relationship between Israel and her African friends. When the West betrays us we obviously turn to friendlier nations.

Following the diabolical UNESCO vote denying Jewish and Christian connection to Holy sites in Jerusalem, Mayors from countries on five continents, including the United States, Ukraine, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Portugal, and Panama came to see the situation for themselves. The delegation, headed by American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen, told the Jerusalem Post that its goal is to show potential decision makers a side of Israel not shown by media outlets – “To see facts on the ground, so that they be a voice of reason concerning issues surrounding Israel”

The BBC made a series of programmes called Jihad in the UK (a title too similar to Steve Emersons prophetic book Jihad in America just before 9/11) Here you have the full series. Essential viewing. Britain and, for once, the BBC have faced the dragon, unlike many other countries. GENERATION JIHAD – BBC SERIES – MUST WATCH 2 3 4 5 6

And so it rained!!! Yes the rain finally came, too late for the horrific fires set all over the country but welcome nonetheless. When I say rain I mean RAIN! High winds, sheet lightening with no sound, no thunder, and blessed, beautiful water. The blue skies have given way to heavy clouds but that is fine, tomorrow will be glorious again except that Israel will be sparkling clean, all the dust of summer washed away.

When I see Jerusalem, I see the wonder of a city that is diverse, troubled, exquisitely beautiful and so important she became the heart of conflict – many so jealous of her beauty and spirituality they chose her as their enemy and their goal. Why? The answer is simple, they know how deeply important and central she is to Jews and Christians so made her the way to control and conquer.

That is my view, Jill sees it differently. For Jill, Jerusalem gives her life, warms her soul and renews her faith. Each time she returns she feels the tingle of excitement as we wend our way ever upwards toward the Golden City. The tall buildings, the modern City – all gleam white in the wintery sun, giving a special magic even before going to the Old City, where our faiths were born. Whenever a guest comes to Jerusalem I think of Zvi’s amazing late Mother. She always said “I am jealous of those who come to Jerusalem for the first time. No matter how many times you come back the magic of first seeing the city for which we yearned for 2,000 is the most magical”

This week’s parasha, Torah reading, speaks of the exquisitely beautiful Rebecca’s difficult pregnancy. She waited 20 years to become pregnant and was carrying twins. It was so hard that G-d told her “You have two nations fighting within you”. So Jacob and Esau were born, Jacob the second twin clutching Esau’s heel. Esau was rough and ready, Jacob gentle and thoughtful.  Their Mother caused untold pain and division when she and Jacob stole Esau’s birthright from their father Isaac – causing Esau to leave the fold, marry out of his faith and ultimately marry the daughter of Ishmael. As always the moral is absolute – as we speak our birthright is being taken from us by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The script is different but the plot remains the same.

Jill and I are about to go and collect the children from school. It is always early on a Friday, before Shabbat, which barely gives Rachel time to prepare our Challot! The panorama from Samuel’s Tomb will be doubly spectacular today, the rain still glistening on the undulating hills that make up the city.

Supper is ready. We have both pea and pumpkin soups; salmon in plum, sweet chilli, garlic and ginger marinade; Nile Perch in Chraimeh, a multitude of salads and Hassenback potatoes; plain rice for the children; and Oh my goodness, I forgot the homemade ice-cream I promised little Ella!!!!

Zvi has gone already, his Parliament is in the Coffee Shop of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on Givat Ram, where he also goes to the luxurious gym and health spa.

Music, music music!

Hallevai! Is more than “if only” even more than a prayer, one word incorporates our hopes, dreams and desires. Boaz Sharabi sings

Uzi Hitman wrote the ultimate Israeli song “I was born for peace”

I couldn’t resist one more. “Rain” sung by the exceptional Eli Luzon. It was the theme song for the movie Afula Express (well worth seeing)

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I wish you a wonderful Shabbat, be it Friday, Saturday or Sunday. To all men and women of peace, of love, of tikkun olam, I wish you a joyous day.

With love from Jerusalem