The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom fro Jerusalem


31st August 2012.

Shabbat Shalom, dear Friends. I hope this letter finds you well wherever you may be.

Rachel Corrie has been a boon to Israel haters all over the world but, as a court in Haifa decided this week, Rachel Corrie should not have been where she was and thus her family is not due compensation!  She came to Israel with provocation in mind, together with a group of pro-Palestinian activists. The Army spokesperson and the police warned the group that they should not g into the area considered highly dangerous and a war zone. We are not talking Tiananmen Square and a lone figure in front of a tank in an otherwise deserted square, Rachel Corrie stepped in front of a tank in an area of contention and danger filled with rocks and brush – she should not have been there. I am sorry that her family suffered a tragedy but it is not Israel’s fault. If only the so deeply moved and sensitive world would pay the same homage to our Rachels – the ones who didn’t incite or invite their own deaths. These Rachels were just going about their daily routine when terrorists, those who Rachel Corrie supported, took their lives in the most heinous fashion.

Ban Ki Moon, the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007 finally did what he and his predecessors should have done many years ago. He stood up in front of the Conference of non-Aligned Countries in Teheran and demanded that they stop their constant threats for the annihilation of Israel, a Member country of the UN and the denial of history, of the Holocaust. His words were predominantly aimed at Ahmedinejad and Khameini but many countries attending this particular conference should heed his words. Hopefully they are not empty words but carry a strong message of change.

Pat Condell is an occasionally offensive, always cuttingly outspoken atheist who is conceivably one of the last of true grit Brits who maintain the original British ability to speak clearly, in an elegantly intelligent manner and use irony and honesty to debunk myths. Here he ridicules the pseudo-intellectuality of The Guardian and its readers – which equally applies to the NY Times or the LA Times.  Check out his entire youtube site it is worth it

I doubt that you heard of last nights bombardment of Hamas missiles on Southern Israel or that it resulted in a direct hit on a house in Sderot. No one was hurt because we are a country prepared for this war of attrition. The residents were awoken from their clumber by a “Red Alert” siren and raced down to the shelter, thus saving their lives. No-one should have to live like that.

Sadly, not everyone is sweet and well brought up in Israel and I am ashamed, deeply ashamed of two incidents last week.

In one incident Israeli Jewish teenagers beat up a young Arab in the centre of Jerusalem. The perpetrators are in detention awaiting trial. Israel is ashamed by their behaviour and Speaker of the Knesset Rubi Rivlin visited the injured boy in hospital to apologise on behalf of the country and offer his help.,7340,L-4272224,00.html

In the second incident 12 and 13 year old boys from the Israeli settlement of Bat Ayin threw a Molotov cocktail at a passing Palestinian taxi – badly injuring those inside.  We are disgusted and angry that Israel’s name is dirtied alongside these terrorists. Tag Machir (Price Tag) is a Jewish terror organization and the fact that so far no-one has died as a result of their lunacy is pure luck. They do not represent my views, or of anyone I know. Their actions are the antithesis of Judaism.,7340,L-4274254,00.html

The activist cry of siege and oppression in and on Gaza is a myth. Of course there is no siege (only maritime to prevent arms shipments) and of course Israel not only allows foreign aid into Gaza but provides huge amounts of aid herself. Taking all of that into consideration Khaled Abu Toameh asks a simple question.How Many Millionaires Live in the “Impoverished” Gaza Strip? His answer came in the unlikely form of an investigative report published in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsatthere are at least 600 millionaires living in the Gaza Strip. The newspaper report also refutes the claim that Gaza has been facing a humanitarian crisis because of an Israeli blockade.

The Southern United States, and New Orleans in particular, has again suffered a terrible storm. I pray that everyone will be safe and have homes to return to.

Syria. I have no words, I do not understand why the ethnic cleansing of non-Alowites has been allowed to continue unabated. It is as logical as allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. I recall President Peres speech where he was amused to read of India’s unsuccessful search for a State Executioner. “I have no problem with a country that cannot find anyone to work as an executioner having nuclear weapons but countries like Iran, who have ready executioners should not

Talking of Shimon Peres. Zvi and I were invited by KKL Chairman Effie Stenzler to the ceremony of the Society for a Beautiful Israel in which KKL received the award of the most important organization toward that aim. 110 years of KKL and everything that entails, from trees to towns, from desalinization to agricultural breakthroughs, KKL is the most successful and effective of organizations. The ceremony was held on the lawns of the Presidents House (and this time I managed to walk across the lawn without breaking my ankle) and President Peres rose to speak he yet again thrilled an amazed his audience with his memory and knowledge, his erudition and eloquence and most of all his sense of humour.  “KKL-JNF represents an entire people, not just a country,”  Well done Effie, well done KKL and thank you Mr President.

The Paralympic Games is taking place in London and Israel already got  a bronze medal The incredible story of how the Paralymics began, by an orthopaedic surgeon at the famous Stoke Mandeville hospital, a refugee from the Shoah. Fascinating

This week we went to collect our gas masks – for us and for all the children and grandchildren since they think we are over-reacting!  Since I have told you often, no event in Israel takes place without food. Zvi stood in line, armed with everybody’s ID cards, I sat in Aroma til he arrived enjoying my wonderful coffee and a “half” sandwich – which is enormous in itself.  A lady came to speak to me as I sat enjoying my treats, a huge pile of gas mask boxes beside me and wanted to take a picture of us sitting eating lunch and chatting over coffee. I asked why “To show my friends back in the States” she responded “they don’t understand the paradox of life here. You sitting having a lovely time and laughing with your husband in a shopping mall while the gas masks are beside you” “Aha” said I ” You should tell them that this is the perfect example of Israeli schizophrenia” I responded. “We are lucky because unlike the USA and Europe we know exactly who are enemies are, recognize that it has always been the same and will never change and we are prepared. If we stop enjoying ourselves then this war of attrition will be lost” It’s true dear friends. We are the hors d’ouevres you are the main course!

Children went back to school this week – and we have two little grand-daughters starting Kita Aleph (1st year) Uniforms and excitement and exhaustion all combined in a highly successful operation. May they learn and continue to be “curiouser and curiouser ” and become adults who give back to the world.

I was fascinated to discover that an ancient Navaho Moose symbol was on sale on ebay…….. just take a peek!

Jerusalem is quietly closing down. The shops are emptying as everyone goes home to prepare for Shabbat. Either sleeping or cooking! Tonight we celebrate Zvi’s eldest sons birthday and as most families in Israel we will gather for the traditional lighting of the Shabbat Candles, our little grand-daughters joining me in the beautiful ceremony to welcome the bride of Shabbat into our home their faces glowing with pride in the candlelight;  Kiddush, as Zvi sings the blessing over wine in his wonderful bass-baritone voice just as his father did and mine; the ha Motseh – the blessing over the two Challot, the traditions which hold us firmly together as a family and as a people.

The song I chose for you this week is “Halleva’I” sung beautifully by Boaz Sharabi. More of a prayer than a song

I wish you Shabbat Shalom and much love from Jerusalem, the most incredible and fascinating city in the world that I am proud to call home.

With much love