The view from my veranda

California Fires, Southern Israel suffers, Jerusalem elections

16th November 2018

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are well and that life has been kind to you this week.

Horrific and tragic fires spread through California. This is the season of forest fires in that beleaguered State but I cannot remember anything as dreadful as this year. I know that the popular Californian response to President Trumps statement that someone must be responsible for the fact that the fires ran amok, and perhaps his timing was off, but he is right. Where are the clearings to prevent the fires spreading? Are there sufficient fire stations? Meanwhile, California is mourning its dead and the loss of so many homes.

Southern Israel suffered 500 rocket and missile attacks over a 24+ hour period. I am not sure if you understand what that means because the outrage was minimal. I felt that the media was waiting to pounce on Israel’s response, which of course would be deemed disproportionate, but it didn’t come. Few mentioned the pinpoint destruction of Hamas sites. One Israeli pilot described his senior officers conversation with a family who lived next to Hamas Radio. The officer spoke in Arabic to ensure that the man’s family moved from their home next to the Radio building. Only when they left did the IAF bomb the Radio Station, source of the greatest rhetoric.

It is difficult to imagine the terror of convincing your children that all will be well when for 24+ hours the “Red Alert” sirens wailed out every few minutes and they know that they have anything from 10-20 seconds to reach the shelter. Schools closed, workplaces closed, people trembled in their homes, most of them already with PTSD after years and years of “Red Alerts”. Most stayed home except for a group of high-schoolers who decided to do something. They set off from the South to walk to Jerusalem. Joined by many others en route they achieved great publicity, though the current government didn’t really pay heed. In fact Defence Minister Lieberman resigned in disgust and Minister of Education Naftali Bennet is threatening to leave the government if he doesn’t get the Defence position!

What I am about to write is fiction, not even one tiny element is true but knowing that rhetoric reigns in the Middle East……. here goes.

Imagine the scenario.

Haniya “Things aren’t going so well for me right now, a bit of a rebellion in the ranks and I can’t get that money from Qatar”

Bibi “Yeah, not so easy for me either”

Haniya “So what do you think we should do”?

Bibi “I suggest that we kill your problematic guy; you respond with rockets – I’ll give you 24 hours; then I make sure your $15,000,000 comes through, Lieberman resigns, you buy tons of Israeli sweets and candies to hand out after declaring a victory and we all get back to routine”

Stranger than fiction or is it?

Check out a new source of information concerning Israel.

The second round of the Jerusalem Mayoral elections took place this week. Zvi and I supported the Independent Candidate Ofer Berkovitch and his party Hitorerut (Awakening) a party that represented every sector of Jerusalem society, Jew, Moslem, Christian, secular, observant or Haredi. The opposing candidate, a very able man, Moshe Lion, had one specific problem, his backers. Minister of the Interior Arieh Deri and the Shas Party declared that if Lion won Deri would have control of Jerusalem (it is actually illegal for a Minister to take part in local elections) Now the elections are over and the democratic process is complete. I for one wish the new Mayor every success and the strength to overcome the infinite challenges a city like Jerusalem presents. Why do I wish success to the man who beat our amazing candidate and actually conducted a rather dirty campaign against Ofer Berkovitch? Because his success is Jerusalem’s and that’s democracy at work.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the UK had a really bad week. Brexit is becoming more and more complex, leaving the Economic Community has become a nightmare, the Minister in charge of Brexit, Dominic Raab, came back from negotiations without a deal and quit, and her Ministers are leaving the ship like……… well a lot of them! Any divorce is tough but imagine trying to divorce 27 spouses with economic ties!!

Now to some good stuff.

Chloe Valdary is a fantastic proponent for Israel. I love, but love her latest video.

Next in line is the best Sodastream advert, in fact the best advertisement I have seen in a very long time. It is green, ecological and clever.

Then to make it a hat-trick of excellent videos – an Israeli company that produces water from air in a small, economically sound, household unit! Talk about save the world.

George Deek is a diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nothing special about that. Let me rephrase that – George Deek is a highly acclaimed Diplomat in the Israeli MFA. Not special enough? Pay attention, George Deek is an Israeli Christian, a highly acclaimed Diplomat who has just been chosen as the Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan, a Moslem country. If you are on Facebook, find him and congratulate him.

This week’s Torah reading is about Jacob, his journey from Beersheva, ladders, his work for Laban who broke his promise to give Jacob his beautiful daughter Rachel in exchange for 7 years work, of his marriage to Leah and then after discovering he had been cheated Jacob married Rachel one week later, promising Laban another 7 years of labour. Leah gave birth to 6 boys and a girl but since Rachel was barren, she gave her handmaiden Bilha to Jacob and 2 more sons were born then Zilpah, Leahs handmaiden gave another 2 sons and then finally Rachel gave birth to Joseph. Honestly, and you couldn’t understand why there are arguments in Jewish families!!!! Now, this is where we link to today – Laban gave Jacob (Israel) some sheep which really thrived and God said to Jacob that they would increase as the children of Israel. Today Jacob’s sheep have returned

Another week of being home, although I left home to go for tests in Shaare Zedek and of course to vote. Since the sun was shining I even walked home from the Voting station – don’t get excited it’s probably about 500 metres! Yet again I was amazed by the genuine multicultural staff and patients and wish that groups coming to Israel would visit hospitals, any hospital, and see the incredible cooperation of staff, from the ancillary staff to the Professors, irrespective of creed. I am really doing much better and each day is a joy as I find more energy. Hopefully we will have Shabbat Dinner with Zvi’s cousins Joseph and Rachel Rybak tonight. I hope I will garner the energy because I really want to see them!

The very welcome rains have totally revitalized the View from our Veranda! The clouds take on special shapes and colours and the entire city seems to glisten and shine as the rains clean the dust of summer revealing the sparkling Jerusalem stone. It never fails to take my breath away! The geraniums are yet again proving why they are such a popular plant, scarlet blooms dripping fresh raindrops; the Hibiscus has revived, her leaves green and her spectacular blossoms feeding the tiny Tsufit, her feathers gleaming iridescent black as she hovers from flower to flower; my lemon tree suffered somewhat in the high winds, but just like the friends who bought it for me, the little fruits hung on tight, never letting go. Sage, Thyme, Lemon grass, Mint, Spearmint, Stevia, Lemon Balm, nothing better than picking your own herbs!

What songs fit this week?

The words are very simple. “Peace will come to us and to everyone. To us and to all the world. Peace will come to us, and to everyone. Salaam to us to the whole world. Salaam, Shalom, Salaam”.

Hatikva, Israel’s National Anthem as you have never heard it before. A Capella on the Light Rail!!!

We have had the distinct honour of meeting both Cantor Izchak Meir Helfgot and Maestro Yitzchak Perlman, two phenomenal and proud Israelis, they join their formidable forces to call us to REJOICE. Yismachu

I wish you a Shabbat Shalom, reason to rejoice and the will to bring about change in our world. Never ever forget the power of one.

With love from Jerusalem and the View from our Veranda.


If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
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