The view from my veranda

170707 Eddray, Maccabiah, Shalom


7th July, 2017

Shabbat Shalom dear friends

60 years ago I was a bridesmaid in a wonderfully frilly salmon pink dress. For whom? For my big sister Eddie who was marrying her handsome soulmate Raymond. Eddie and Ray were so lucky because they both had their parents at their wedding and our maternal grandparents. The ceremony was held in the Cathedral Road Synagogue in Cardiff. Today they live in faraway Toronto and I barely get to see them but I just wanted you all to know that I love them and wish them joy and togetherness with their children Paul and Ruth, their son and daughter-in-law and the grandchildren. Happy Anniversary!!!

There is so much news this week that it is hard to choose what is important to you and what is irrelevant. One item is very close to my heart. A Facebook “friend” wrote to me suggesting that the Middle Eastern problems, especially the Israel/Palestinian issue, could all be settled if only we would all stop acting like children and everybody would give a little. Hmmm. I told him we gave a lot but to no avail. I added a somewhat confusing (for him) statement. As an Israeli I would accept a Hutna, dream of Shalom and pray for Sulcha. In Islam a Hutna is a cease-fire, a convenient truce which one can break at will; Shalom is a temporary peace treaty such as we have with Egypt and Jordan; Sulcha means all is forgiven and forgotten and we can all get on with life. Not sure he will understand – what do you think?

I tend to think of Australia as standing for justice – a belief that was somewhat shattered when I saw this clip from the Australian 60 minutes. This guy makes Hardtalks Stephen Sacker look positively tame but Deputy Minister Tsippi Hotoveli holds her dignity beautifully!!!

Carol Gould, friend, journalist, commentator par excellence and member of BAFTA, wrote about a preview of a documentary on the Syrian Civil War for National Geographic. She was deeply into the movie when something disturbed her deeply – the director made a comment about the consequences of war quoting Dresden and Hiroshima, as if Britain and the Allies were guilty of war crimes. Carol tackled him citing Coventry, Hull, London and the Blitz  – see

Since we are on the subject of things that bother me – UNESCO has outdone itself, much to the chagrin of Ambassador Nikky Haley. Did you know that all the formerly known as Jewish sites are actually Palestinian? What a ludicrous institution the UN is. Not only did it give refugee status ad infinitum but it apparently believes one can change both history and the Biblical truth in a breath.

Yitzchak “Boughi” Herzog has fallen to the whims of the Labour Party which changes its leaders more than most. In the internal Party votes two other candidates have reached the last round. I am sad because Herzog, a quiet voiced, seasoned politician is one of the last genuine Labour Party followers as the new Labour, or Zionist Coalition, takes over.

Indian President Narendra Modi has just completed a disarming and delightful 3 day visit to Israel. He paddled in the Mediterranean with Prime Minister Netanyahu, I am tempted to say they frolicked!, as the two hugged and smiled their way through the visit. Mr Netanyahu learned to say Namaste and Modi learned a bit of Hebrew. It was the least tense diplomatic visit I have ever known. India and Israel have so many logical ties even though India’s economic ties with the Arab world are strong – we are working on that too.

So you want to know about determination and pride in being a soldier in the IDF? Meet Ron and you will understand what a humanitarian army we Israelis have and the incredible people who choose to serve.

As a final statement on the idiotic fiasco over conversion I love what Bobby Brown wrote on Facebook – I am in awe of every Jew bychoice, each of whose dedication and belief has changed the world for the entire Jewish People. Bobby I second that.

And so to the Maccabiah. Zvi’s link to the Maccabiah and of course Maccabi World Union is long and fruitful, culminating in his position today as the MWU representative to the World Zionist Organisation and the Jewish Agency Board of Governors. The various world Presidents of MWU have been close friends and todays President, Leo-Dan Bensky is a fine representative of his country, Finland, and as Ambassador to and of the Jewish World. Proud of you Leo-Dan.

Last night was the official opening ceremony, at the Malha Football Stadium in Jerusalem, of the 20th Maccabiah Games with 7,000 athletes from 80 countries and a simply stupendous show it was too. President Rivlin, PM Netanyahu stood in the Presidential Box and excitedly waved a huge Israeli flag as athletes paraded country by country. It was truly incredible. The parade started with Australia and went through the alphabet, or more exactly through the Aleph Bet, ending with home country Israel. It was magnificent. Thousands of young Jewish athletes, strong, proud and independent was something my generation is still amazed by and my parents’ generation never thought possible. I cannot begin to name all the wonderful people involved in the preparations but Eyal Tiberger is where the buck stops and he can take the worried frown off his face and accept that it was a total success. It was Zvi who insisted that the opening ceremony come to Jerusalem during the Intifada 3 Maccabiahs ago and it is a resounding success with a very different style of pyrotechnics in Malha!!!!!

Prior to the ceremony there was a cocktail where I was delighted to re-meet Col Richard Kemp who came with his two daughters for the Maccabiah. We saw so many friends that I kept losing Zvi and discovering him speaking a different language every time I found him!!!!

There were many highlights but perhaps the greatest was as we left the stadium with Niva and Elihu Ben-Onn and Zvi stopped me beside a lovely young woman in a wheelchair and introduced me. Moran Samuel, Israeli Paralympic athlete and World Cup Gold Medallist for Rowing; if you read her Wikipedia site you are instantly aware of the lack of self-pity and of her incredible love of life. Moran was a basketball player who suffered a catastrophic spinal injury and is paralysed from the waist down but refuses to hear the word “can’t”.

Indeed as we walked to the car we were passed by “disabled” athletes from every country and the description itself seemed ludicrous – they were a determined and highly “able” group of people who made me proud.

Since the Maccabiah is in Jerusalem I thought it appropriate that you understand the history of this city

I have a very slow day today! Rachel is in London with my sons Gideon and Daniel and their wives, Karen and Stephanie and all the children – Yosef, Sammy, Talia, Olivia, Joshua, Ayala, Zachary and little Callie, not forgetting Maple the dog. It is strange not getting in the car and going to Givat Zeev!!! I hope they are having a whale of a time even though two days ago Joshua fell head first and broke his arm in two places. Josh Posh – feel better beautiful boy.

Zvi has gone to his parliament and then we will go to Amiad, Noga, Ella and Yonatan for our Friday night meal. Zvi already bought the Challot in Mea Shearim (well Rachel is in London isn’t she) and decided I should have a total week off and bought a chocolate cake for dessert – Amiad is making his wonderful Salmon and a veggie lasagna so we need something light to finish off – perhaps this is the season of fruit salads, the soft fruits are in season now and are really phenomenal. Our fruits and vegetables are seasonal, meaning they are from tree to kitchen within a day or so which vastly improves the flavour! We have a new fruit this year – red apricots – obviously a hybrid but my goodness, are they delicious.

Jerusalem – a wonderful Reggae song by Matisyahu. Bob Marley would have been proud!!!

Adon Olam – Lord of the Universe  – a familiar song with an Eastern Twist. The Revivo Project

As we were leaving last night we bumped into Oudi Recanati who said that after such an amazing celebration the only song that should end my newsletter is Hatikva. Oudi, your wish is my command.

Shabbat Shalom first to my beautiful children and grandchildren – I am thrilled you are together but spend my time trying to imagine where you are and what you are doing. Happy birthday my Gids.

With love from Jerusalem – beautiful city festooned with Maccabiah flags!