The view from my veranda

180306 Israeli hospitals, South Africa, Friday night


16th March, 2018

Shabbat Shalom to everyone. I also want to wish my Thai readers a happy Thai New Year!

The old Yiddische saying goes “Man makes plans and G-d laughs” Of course it sounds so much better in that wonderfully expressive language and as usual – is right on the nose!

First of all, everything is fine but I had cause to spend rather a lot of time in both the Ambulatory and the hospital ER, with a friend let’s say. Israeli hospitals, possibly more so than any other country, are a people-watchers dream. The full rainbow, the gamut of Israeli society is in the patients and the staff. Parents are interesting, either they are attentive and calm, attentive and hysterical or at the other end of the scale, ensure their children’s iPhones are charged so that they can get on with texting their own messages. That isn’t the greatest fascination however, nor is it what makes Israeli hospitals different to all other hospitals.

Firstly, the doctors and medical staff, each and every one of them is superb, some chirpier than others but all are kind. So what’s different about that? Well the Senior Physician in ER was an Arab, the Junior was an Ashkenazi Jew, the nurse was Druze and the patients were just about every conceivable mix including one prisoner in chains, accompanied by two policemen, who grinned at us all!! Everybody waited the interminable wait for attention in hospital whereas with equal patience we were seen almost immediately in the ambulatory ER. Of course it was a horrendously busy night and there weren’t enough beds but I didn’t see one member of staff snap at a patient.

The most amazing are the volunteers. “You look tired, here I brought some sandwiches, would you like one?” said one lady who had gone out to the local bakery, bought a load of bread rolls and filled them at home just o give them away to those who needed food in the ER. They hold the hands of those who have no family and go from bed to bed to cheer people up. Then of course there are the Magen David Adom volunteers, the paramedics, the youngsters who give of their time to ride on the ambulances and help – amazing people, amazing country.

I have to tell you about Dr Karame. Dr Karame is soft spoken, an incredible physician, elegant and almost stately in his treatment of patients with unending patience. Dr Karame is Arab and is the senior physician in Terem (Ambulatory ER) in  Talpiot in Jerusalem and I promised him I would write about him!!!!

Perhaps all of the above, the volunteering and the medical care, are part of the reason Israel is still the 11th happiest places on earth. Since the poll was conducted by the UN I think their typing finger slipped and we are really the happiest on earth. The Scandinavians did well, which is weird considering their lack of sunshine, but logical considering their social welfare system. Anyway, here are the statistics.

It seems incongruous that South Africa and particularly black South Africans, believe that Israel is an apartheid state. South Africa where Jews led the campaign against Apartheid, believing the can and rhetoric about Israel? Well, our lovely friend Danny Adeno Abebe is currently in South Africa as an emissary for Habonim Dror and Danny has taken on the cause of teaching South Africans the truth.

In the United States however, support for Israel among Americans has reach an all time high.

In politics, Tillerson is out Pompeo is in; Theresa May throws Russian “diplomats” who were known to be spies, out of the UK after the poisoning of an ex-spy; Netanyahu somehow manages to hold his coalition together preventing June elections; Saudi Arabia says if Iran has nuclear power then they will get it too; Superman came to visit Jerusalem, Dean Cain was seen in photo ops with almost every politician……………………….. and Justin Trudeau is ridiculed in India for his family’s “fancy dress”

Some 70+ countries got together to raise money for UNWRA…………. Yes you read that perfectly correctly. UNWRA is the main cause for strife and corruption in Gaza, has squandered all the vast funds give n to them up to now on encouraging terrorism, their schools rife with incitement to hatred which made the USA and UK and some other countries revoke their funding thereof and other stupid countries to perpetuate!!!!

Last Friday night was incredible.. Around our Shabbes table were
3 Swedes (the people not the veg), 2 Argentinians, 1 Suisse, 1 Belgian, 2 Poles
2 Sabras and 1 Welshwoman
I made very traditional food from all the countries of dispersion – Israeli salads, Stuffed vine leaves,  Hamusta Kubeh soup, Hungarian Chicken paprika, local grilled spring chicken in date honey, red rice, saffron rice, grilled cauliflower and we had very British poached apples and pears and citrus salad for dessert.
The best part was getting to know each other. Each person said where they are from and a synopsis of their history.
One of our guests, someone Zvi had known for 40 years, suddenly opened up and told us the story of his life. In Belgium of WW2, his Mother was taken by the Nazis to Auschwitz when he was 2 1/2, and gave him to a neighbour to hide him. The naighbour never told a soul he was Jewish. Indeed when the Germans came on suspicion of his ethnicity they asked him to pull down his trousers – he remembered that his parents told him he must never do that for anyone so he refused. He went through many tribulations until he was 7 and his Mother miraculously came looking for him. He was in an “orphanage” where his Jewish identity was hidden. She stood looking at each child, frail and unsure what he looked like after all those years. As he walked down the stairs he suddenly saw his Mother and they were never separated again. He kept his story secret for 50 years until he discovered others who were at the orphanage and they all met – when the emotional flood waters opened.
He went on to be a famous Israeli urologist and we all sat in rapt attention.
That’s what I love about welcoming strangers into our home. The three Swedes were talking about it for days.

OK no time whatsoever before Shabbat so I don’t have time to tell you of the mimosa tree, the bright pink cherry trees or the plethora of blooms and blossoms on our veranda!!!

Here is music instead!!

Israel’s entry into the Eurovision song contest this year is somewhat different, but in a strange way I think I like it although most of you will hate it……….. which means it could be a winner!!!

And now from the ridiculous to the simply sublime. Andre Rieu et all and the wonderful theme song of Exodus, “This Land is Mine” I dare you not to shed a tear

Shabbat Shalom everyone with much love from Jerusalem, the city we longed, nay yearned for 2,000 years of dispersion.