The view from my veranda

Riots and Rockets

13th May 2021


I don’t know how to start this missive. Shabbat Shalom? Not sure it’s appropriate this week. A Blessed Idel Fitr? Same problem. I can pray for both but my hopes are not high.


In fact I’m currently beyond angry, not at the rockets and missiles but rather about the disgusting, violent yobbos, young zealots, both Jewish and Moslem, who defy every principle of their religions and fire up hatred that denies dignity to those they oppress. Oppression isn’t only imposed by governments although ineffective government or bad example can and does invoke a sense of entitlement which allows young people to believe they have the right to destroy the lives of others. By legitimizing the far, far right of Ben Gvir and Smotrich, Netanyahu fell short in his leadership; by not strengthening, nay, criticising the police and border guard, he fell short in his leadership; by ignoring the warning signs of internal unrest, he fell short in his leadership; by spending his precious time determinedly holding on to his seat rather than defending the country, he fell short in his leadership. A brilliant man with a glowing past, Bibi Netanyahu fell short in his leadership and the proof is in the riots of yesterday and the sirens the “Tzeva Adom” every few minutes night and day.


As if the tensions caused by clear and present danger with a torrent of rockets and missiles raining upon the farming communities and small towns of South of Israel, were not enough; the horror of the violence was more than we could bear. It began with young Arabs wreaking havoc but then the young, far right Jewish zealots (sorry it’s the only word I can think of) mostly from Jerusalem, went on the rampage, torching cars, destroying property, in Lod and Jaffa (both mixed cities) and in Bat Yam, terrifying ordinary folk, beating, clubbing anyone they deemed “different”, if there are two sides exacerbating the rift. The enemy within is not necessarily the Arab Moslem Israeli, it is the lack of mutual respect, built so carefully over 73 years, that is the victim of the last few days. I know every country has its riots, every country has its racists but here, here in a country filled with those who suffered racism in all the countries of their dispersion or their grandparent’s birth, here we do not have the right to be racist. I would arrest the lot of them, put all of them in prison, both sets of criminals, to spend a month together and any infringement of the rules would involve a further month; I don’t want any of their ilk in the IDF.


Now we have to re-group, re-educate, and teach our children to be tolerant. We cannot let a few dozen yobbos influence the lives of normal Israelis, whatever their persuasion.


As is my wont, I turned my angst into a positive act and managed to wade through another dozen or so boxes of our totally superfluous belongings!


Now for the explanation you’ve all been waiting for.


Hamas had an agreement with the Netanyahu Government, that they would not “overdo” the rockets in exchange for Israel allowing the distribution of Qatari generosity (!) on the condition that the money be distributed under the watchful eye of the Qataris at the rate of $100 per family. There was relative quiet for a while, then came the PA elections and as soon as it looked as if Hamas was about to win over Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas decided to cancel the elections. Before you censure his actions you should know that Mahmoud Abbas has been determinedly fighting terror and all actions are co-ordinated between the Palestinian police and the Israeli police. Back to politics. The cancellation of the elections demanded a show of might from Hamas and Islamic Jihad which, of course, meant violence and terror. Encouraging violence through the Imams and then the shooting of rockets and missiles over the obvious scapegoat – Israel – was a no brainer. All they had to do was incite a return of fire from the IDF and the world was back on the bandwagon of condemning the Jews for defending themselves! The IDF, through our Air Force’s pinpointing the arms factories, intelligence and internet intelligence centres successfully killed several of the main players but our major problem is that we will not target homes and they ensure that their HQs are in residential areas, schools and hospitals.


So, if we don’t target homes why did we see a building collapse, a tall residential building in Gaza? Neri Yarkoni is a retired fighter pilot and he explained. “We target arsenals, in this case we hit the arsenal but it was apparently underneath a residential building so the arms inside exploded bringing the building down” This is the Middle East where nothing is as it appears.


What about Bibi’s agreement with Hamas I hear you ask. Well, as I said it’s all about power, a show of might, chest beating, so Hamas decided to join the Gazan branch of Islamic Jihad and between them they shot over 1,300 rockets and missiles, more than 200 of which fell inside Gaza. The constant declaration of poverty and claims of being under siege (despite the Qatari money and the 120 truckloads of staple needs from Israel daily) begs the question “How on earth can Gaza afford billions of dollars of arms, rockets and missiles, lobbed willy nilly over the Jews”?  The answer is easy, most Western countries and for that matter most of the Islamic countries, send money to finance education and feed the people, money which never reaches the poverty stricken people of Gaza.


Gosh that was quite a rant, but you needed to know, you needed to hear because the news you get is so slanted that Israel, the few square metres of land, is the mighty oppressor of the poor Moslems. If you are sick and tired of CNN, BBC, Sky etc etc….just watch or Google search 124 news and you can choose your language of preference.


The best explanation so far


The situation has nothing to do with who is President or his intentions, but for all you doubters, President Biden reiterated that Israel has every right to defend herself, he understands.


The Free Gaza “demonstrations” are held by those who have no inkling of the facts. We left Gaza 20+ years ago, we are the only country bordering on Gaza which has not locked its gates and thrown away the key. Egypt and Jordan do not allow Gazans to enter nor do they attempt to feed them– Israel is their only source of staple foods, so why, why us? It’s simple, The Jews “occupy” Moslem lands, a tiny country the size of Wales surrounded by enormously large Moslem countries is something these zealots cannot bear, but, still, in NYC a Jewish man was attacked by screaming women who tried to beat him with the Palestinian flag.


I have now depressed myself so I will tell you a little about where we live. It’s a whole community, not just old people (I know how you think!) but people of all ages. I go for walks to make sure my fitness watch is happy. Parents and children now know my face and everyone calls out “Erev Tov” – Good evening – as I pass. The boys stop their soccer game to let me pass and I get to see the TV’s in the ground floor apartments so I can walk and watch the news! Anyone who came to Israel around the early to late ’60’s travelled from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on the Old Road, not as far back as the Burma Road of Mickey Stone fame (I’m sure you remember the movie Kirk Douglas in To Cast a Giant Shadow) but nonetheless before Road 1, so before 1967, we came in on a narrow road with tortuous hairpin bends, getting our first glimpse of Jerusalem in the distance; well that’s where we live! Opposite our entrance is a wonderful walking area, totally unspoiled, and just over the ridge is the beautiful reservoir in Beit Zayit. I know, I can’t reel off all the neighborhoods as I did from out old veranda, but I can still tell you about the various trees and birds, and of course the Presidents Avenue that I told you about last week.


I’ll tell you something funny. Most of the President’s trees are dried out or just plain dead, but Herzl’s tree, a mere stump, instead of replacing it they put a plexiglass cover over it with the sign noting that he planted it. I have a feeling that very soon we’ll see mushrooms growing where the tree didn’t succeed!


While wading through box after carton after packing case we have found some real treasures. Children’s books from Zvi’s childhood, hundreds of LPs (for those who remember the 33rpms), photos that brought back happy memories and photos that made one stare and say “Who on earth is that”?


I am actually sitting in our Mamad (safe room) which is also our study, for a change with the window covered by the heavy metal protective cover. Who knows if the siren will go off for us as it has umpteen times for Zvi’s boys and families, for all our friends in the Coastal plain and the adults and children of Otef Aza – the farmlands, kibbutzim and towns that border with Gaza – who have suffered the destructive power of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for 20 years. This week as if the rockets were not enough they have returned to sending incendiary devices carried on the breeze underneath children’s party balloons which have destroyed thousands of acres of crops and wild animals.


I’m so happy that I went to Rachel earlier in the week when we took Yosef to Yonatan’s 7th birthday party in Tel Aviv, those two have a lovely relationship ,a little boy who looks up to his 16 year old cousin, both of them love a challenge, both want to be Ninjas! It was so much fun to watch the little boys trying to whack the living daylights out of the football piñata that Rachel made for Yonatan. It also gave me a chance to see the panorama over Jerusalem from Samuel’s Tomb, such an amazing sight on our way back home. I may have moved to the other side of Jerusalem but my heart will always be there….just a few miles up the road.


So that’s it for now, hopefully there will not be need for an update, we have lost too many this week, children and adults, may their souls rest in peace.


Two weeks ago I chose Shlomi Shabbat’s song about Jerusalem and today it is the turn of Omer Adam. Jerusalem


Psalm 137, written by King David thousands of years ago, is so relevant today as we are yet again threatened. Here Dudu Fisher sings “If I Forget Thee Oh Jerusalem” in the very language in which King David wrote it.


What we need more than anything else is for someone to act as a Bridge Over Troubled Waters with the beautiful singers and musicians of the Shalva Band, Tareq al Menhali, Arqham and the Jerusalem Symphony.


I wish you a peaceful weekend, a beautiful Shabbat and please put us in your prayers.

With love from right next to Jerusalem



Every event that Zvi organised, every event that I went to ended with just one song and today I cannot break that rule HATIKVA          – The Hope, the National Anthem of Israel sung by the youngsters of the IDF