The view from my veranda

Iran, Irony and International Intricacies

20th January 2020


Good Shabbes, Shabbat Shalom. I hope you had a good week since we last spoke.


Explosive devices attached to children’s party balloons and relatively sophisticated rockets have been arriving from the Islamic Jihad in Gaza again. Apparently their factions within Gaza are trying to scupper the current talks between Israel and Hamas, attempting to reach a modus vivendi. Obviously Israeli military responded. The process of negotiation in Islam is complex, starting with Hudna, a cessation of hostilities which has no specific timescale; Salaam, a form of peace while holding the grudge; the final and almost unattainable Sulch which means forgiveness, forgetting the grudge and making a new start. If we can get to Hudna again, it’s a start, the likelihood of reaching Salaam is limited and the possibility of reaching Sulch is out of reach, but one step at a time is always worth chasing.


The thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves burnt by incendiary devices from Gaza have miraculously turned a lush green after the recent rains. The fauna, indigenous creatures killed by the flames on the nature reserves can never be brought back but as always, water is more powerful than fire or hate and has regenerated beautiful green fields ready for new crops.


The horrific conflagrations in Australia appear to be over. I hope that the charred forests of New South Wales and Victoria in Southern Australia will grow green again after the blessed rains that put out most of the fires. Glorious nature reserves like the Blue Mountains, millions of eucalyptus trees, self-combusted by their very nature. The blue which gives them their name is from the natural droplets of oil from the millions of eucalyptus trees which catch the sun and give a blue illusion sadly those very droplets ignited in the searing heatwave. The original name of the Blue Mountains was the Carmarthen Mountains named for a beautiful county in Wales.


Most importantly for Australia/Israel relations, the child molester Malka Leifer was declared capable of facing extradition to face her victims in Melbourne by a medical panel, only to be stymied by her legal counsel who was granted the right to cross-examine the medical panel. I am horrified at the abuse of our legal system to defend this monster.


Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, really has a problem understanding the obvious! He believed that the 63 Iranian/Canadians died as a result of US action against Iran. Iran is the upliner of terror pyramid sales, and just as in any pyramid scam those underneath never truly benefit. Every country overtaken by Iran has suffered war and destruction (Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, Libya) but he insinuates that if President Trump hadn’t responded to attacks on her Embassy and Military camps those 176 people would be alive! Fear of retaliation and lack of response didn’t help either Bush or Obama, it simply strengthened the Ayatollahs and their determination to remove Israel from the face of the earth. The people of Iran supported the American action in killing their number one terrorist, Soleimani, the people of Iran are on the move, risking their lives to get back their country.


Every leader needs an enemy to unite the people; it’s been that way since time immemorial. Iran is now weak and a clever leader will support the rebels and tighten sanctions. The Ayatollahs roar but they are weak, cowardly and spoiled by their ever increasing personal wealth while the people no longer accept their oppression


I couldn’t decide whether to put the next item into the Shabbat Shalom letter because it doesn’t really relate to Israel, but my goodness it relates to the USA and I love the USA. A wonderfully eloquent lady is speaking of those soldiers lost in the war in Iraq and I want you to watch Ilhan Omar’s reactions.


I never thought I would quote The Sun newspaper but here goes. It may be written in poor English but they correctly deny any claim that the entire Meghxit affair was caused by racist attitudes in the UK, or among the Royals.


Thanks to the brilliant initiative of Yaron Wax, a young diplomat in Israel’s UN mission, Israel torpedoed a Russian move at the UN to approve an additional $17 million budget for the ignominious United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Obviously the move by Russia was supported by the PLO delegation.


Here in Israel, political parties have formed and been torn apart; new alliances and collaborations have taken place, as always without thought for loyalties but rather for self-preservation. In other words, politics! One good aspect of this round of elections is that many smaller parties have either fallen by the wayside, been absorbed into the bigger parties or simply joined with others of like-minded inclinations making a far shorter party list, at last! Since it is all too complex and I want to tell you about other news, I’ll give you a link which explains who is doing what to whom


Next week Jerusalem will basically be at a standstill, security tight as world leaders converge on Jerusalem to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, as part of the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, in an event titled “Remembering the Holocaust: Fighting Antisemitism,” hosted by President Reuven Rivlin and Yad Vashem. Among those attending are Russian President Vladimir Putin; French President Emmanuel Macron; Prince Charles of the United Kingdom; German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and US Vice President Mike Pence.


I wish I could tell you all about my adventures this week but obviously I am not back to my regular gallivanting, not by a long way. Last Friday night we had just one guest, the delightful Simon Duffy and it was a real joy. He was so happy to finally hear Zvi’s wonderful Kiddush, although stymied us when he asked why the blessing over the wine was so long and over the challah so short! Samuel Bettsak is also here for his annual month volunteering to teach Israeli children English. Sam will join us for supper tonight after a week of teaching and visiting Zvi’s choir rehearsals and then, last night going with Zvi to the rehearsals of the Jerusalem Music Academy choir where Zvi also sings. I envy Zvi his wonderful voice and his ability to speak so eloquently about Israel, from politics through history, Tenach and geography with confidence.


I have been trying to find a way to express my gratitude for your letters, emails, notes and expressions of love and condolence. Although each word elicits a tear, it helps enormously to know that you care. Many of you have asked how you can contribute to any projects that will be created in Daniel’s name and I promise that the moment I have all the details I will let you know. We hope to do a specific project here in Israel and Karen has created a charitable fund in his name in the country he adopted and loved, the USA. It is so right that my beautiful boy’s name continue to do good in the world that he left too soon.


We are doing the best we can, trying to accept the bitter truth and remembering that the most important thing anyone can do each day is tell their loved ones just that, that we love them. Be kind to yourself and to others and the world will be a better place


You won’t be hearing from me for a couple of weeks because I am undergoing surgery – nothing serious and I will feel infinitely better afterwards.


Time for music, for some songs to lift our spirits.


First of all, Tumbalalaika sung in Yiddish by the Barry sisters. Gideon, it’s for you, with love.


As you all know, I love Koolulam who manage to turn even sadness to joy with music and since my beautiful Daniel loved children above all, here is Koolulam in the Schneider Children’s Hospital, Israel. Or Gadol


Finally, the most beautiful national anthem in the world. As Barbara Streisand said “We must learn from our past, live our today and strive for a better tomorrow”. Hatikva, the Hope. Rachie this is for you.


With all my love to you, my friends who force me to write throughout my toughest times and allow me to express how I feel.


Shabbat Shalom to one and all. I promise I will look out at the view from our veranda, past the geraniums, hibiscus, fuchsia, trees and herbs to absorb the beauty of this incredible city and think of you.