The view from my veranda

180418 Israel 70


18th April 2018

Yom Ha Zikaron

Remembrance Day for the fallen in battle and terrorism.

Today politics are irrelevant. Today we mourn those who died defending us.

From nightfall yesterday until nightfall tonight the names of those killed through hatred will be shown upon our television screens, one at a time, their names and their photographs. Families will tell their stories because they mustn’t be forgotten.

Israel’s war is different on so many levels. Our enemy is not thousands of miles away, he is on our doorstep and he is within. Of course Tolerance – sovlanut can win through, but it is a long and difficult process.

I cannot but mention that there are two sectors of Israeli society which do not honour this day; who do not stand to attention during the wail of the siren – but even that is beginning to change.

Last night Zvi, Jill and I went to an extraordinarily Israeli event. The plant nursery in the Botanical Gardens clears space for some 300 people who sing songs written about our loss, beautiful songs, sad songs, special songs – some of which came with a personal story, all of which have a story.

In Israel we sing sad songs, we release our anger and grief through poetry and song, we tell our stories.

It all begins with a ceremony at the Western Wall, to which the families of those who died are invited – from the War of Independence, through the War of Attrition, 6 Day War, Yom Kippur, Lebanon 1 and 2 and the many battles in between. It is truly incredible that there are not more.

The day of mourning ends at nightfall when the entire atmosphere changes on a pin. As the last soldiers march out of the amphitheatre of Mount Herzl, the flag bearing soldiers march in and the celebrations begin. Dancing, singing, marching, music fireworks and sheer joy……….. we paid the price, we paid dearly, but here we are not just standing but thriving and giving to the world. We have a truly magnificent society, we tend to moan a lot but that’s a privilege that only democracy can achieve.

Tonight will be extra special for me because I am going to the ceremony with my incredible grand-daughter Talia. I am so proud of her. She is a feisty strong young woman, at 11 she is thoughtful beyond her years and very proud to be an Israeli. She has also been driving Saba Zvi crazy for a whole year to get her into the celebratory ceremony!!! After all this year Israel is 70!

The torchlights at the ceremony are from many walks of life, each has given much to Israeli society in his or her own way.

From Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

 The unexpected miracle of modern day Israel

What is it that drives us? Why are we so determined to survive and enjoy every second of life? What makes us the people who love to go out to cinemas, theatres, each others homes, parks and have a deep curiosity for other cultures and our own diverse land? I don’t know but the joie de vivre, the love of fun……………..

Tell em another country where the President has an idea, a city invites 12,000 strangers to an auditorium to sing and they all not only turn up but sing in glorious harmony the most important song in the country!!!

Shiri Maimon sings the famous song, the last song of Yitzchak Rabin before he was cruelly assassinated – the name is Song to Peace. The exceptional aspect of this song is that thousands of soldiers are singing to peace.

We all know Oseh Shalom but I came across this wonderful rendition of our prayer for peace from all over the world, choirs in One Voice

I must get ready because Talia will be here soon. My eldest grand-daughter almost 12 and I am so proud to be going with her.

Tomorrow is a day of fun, barbeques……so many barbeques! The whole country celebrates.

Then we come to Shabbat and the Hariton Family who are coming for Shabbat Dinner. I am so excited!! Flory and Paul are old friends of Zvi’s, from the days of Venezuela Keren Hayesod through to Florida, and I am proud to have been taken into the family!! They are here with their children and spouses which is double exciting! The lovely Michael Meir is coming too and of course Jill, who is one of the family – and Amiad and Noga and the children………. That’s it for now!! We will be just 16 for dinner which as you know is a mere drop in the ocean for me……….. or drop in the chicken soup!!

Mazal Tov to our incredible country. Thank you for giving me a home that fulfills and challenges me, doesn’t allow me to become complacent, insists I care for my fellow man and allows me to sing her praises because she is worthy.

Thank you especially for the two, no three, most exceptional new soldiers I know. Yahya Mahamid left his family in Umm El Fahem, was threatened with death but chose to love his country, serve Standwithus and then enlist in the IDF, his photographs show an entirely happy young man. The same with Mohammed Soabi (yes the cousin of MK Haneen) who together with his Mother and of course Standwithus, also enlisted recently – and of course our special and wonderful young man Tomer Silver, who although not connected by blood is our family and we love him. May they come home safely after serving their country with honour.

Tell me – Isn’t she the most beautiful 70 year old you ever saw?

Finally, what else, HATIKVA

Chag Atzmaut Sameach – Shabbat Shalom