The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem

27th August 2010.

Shabbat Shalom to you all. I hope this letter finds you well. Our New Year is almost upon and the holiest period of the Jewish year. It is a time we contemplate our actions and try to change our mindset to a far less selfish one. One subject is always on the line and tat is “What can I do to change the world’s undeserved opinion of Israel” – but Former Prime Minister of Britain and current representative of the Quartet to the Middle East put my concerns into perspective.

“The best answer to the de-legitimisation of Israel lies in the character of Israel itself and in the openness, fair-mindedness and creativity of ordinary Israelis. That character and those people built the State of Israel. They remain it’s guardians. They are why to de-legitimise Israel is not only an affront to Israelis but to all who share the values of a free human spirit.” 
Talking of deligitimisation Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief expressed concern over a Palestinian man’s conviction yet didn’t utter a sound when the Lockerbie bomber was released early and sent home to a hero’s welcome. Where is her sense of balance, morality and justice I ask?
A new Commander in Chief of the IDF has been chosen, amidst a furore of giant proportions but then this is Israel!! Gabi Ashkenazi will complete his term having reinstated pride within the ranks and efficiency within the organization. The new Commander in Chief is Yoav Galant,7340,L-3943296,00.html 
The news item said that “The last US troops leave Iraq” then as if in small print added “although 50,000 troops are still stationed in and around Baghdad” As soon as the announcement was made the bombings and riots and killings began. One cannot impose democracy on a country that is torn apart by religious strife. One cannot impose democracy – period. Democracy is earned and democracy is gained over many years of education and limited privilege. Imposed democracy is inevitable anarchy.

I now write in praise of the BBC! Occasionally the formerly salient and even handed approach for which they were once famous raises its head. Panorama, a highly regarded BBC news magazine, produced an investigative programme into the Gaza Flotilla and came up with some very interesting conclusions. They found Israel correct in her handling of the incident. The two part programme which drew strong fire from the left and the Moslems is well worth watching.
You Tube – Part 1 
You Tube – Part 2 

Israel won medals in the Youth Olympics in Singapore including that of Gil Haimovitch who received is medal after the Iranian athlete withdrew rather than listen to the infidel anthem “Hatikva” Their loss our pride!!

Finally, at last and incredibly the Jerusalem Light Railway made its first journey. Don’t get too excited – you won’t be riding it for a while yet but it is a tiny beam of light at the end of a very long tunnel of traffic chaos, shops without entrances due to road works and the messiest town centre in the Middle East – however it is on its way!!! When it begins a regular service it will hopefully change the centre of town and return it to its former vivacity and hustle and bustle. The mushrooming shopping malls and the terrorist bombs of the Intifada caused the main streets – other than the ever bustling Ben Yehuda, to fall into disrepair but the light railway should change all that. 

The last two weeks have been fun – apart from the fact that my lovely husband as been travelling, wowing audiences in Argentina and Uruguay! Friends Yaffa and Martin Glass were here and before Zvi left we “did” Mahane Yehuda Market Festival of music and dance…music of every conceivable genre! Dear childhood friend Jenny and Brian Bell came to Jerusalem to celebrate Brian’s birthday and were thrilled with the Israel Museum and the David Citadels sound and light show and the hustle and bustle of the Mamilla mall. I was trilled ot see my Mum’s friend Tema Gaba (her daughter Sue is my friend too) who talked of my late mother and told me stories about their friendship when they were both young marrieds.

The Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat has an amazing mother who decided to initiate a “Third Age” (retirees) music class at the Jerusalem Music Centre. The Centre is becoming a real meeting place thanks also to the Hariton Recording Studios (thanks to Paul and Flory). The end of term concert was outstanding with glorious flourishes of music with wonderful explanations by the teacher. As a finale Mrs Barkat then showed us all what can be done, irrespective of age by playing Debussy’s Claire de Lune after just four years of study. The Music Centre is in the Gehenom Valley, under Mount Zion and opposite the Cinematheque and Mishkenot Sha’ananim’ananim .

Last night I had the ultimate honour of entertaining my grand-daughter Talia. I picked her up and we came home to rest a little, bathe and prepare ourselves for a night on the town. We chose to eat out at a lovely restaurant in the every bustling German Colony. I loved the way the waiters treated her with great respect, advising her on the tastiest and most appropriate menu for a 4 year old. Yes in Israel a 4 year old comes out with her family – the restaurant was filled with happy children and no-one gave a stern look; “Children should be seen and not heard” is anathema in Israel! We had so much fun and as I took her back home this morning she reminded me how lucky we are to live in “Yerushalyim” and how privileged I am that my grandchildren call me Safta.

Have a beautiful Shabbat and remember that Tikkun Olam is our reason for being here. To create a better world for our children and to pray that our children will take better care of the world than we did. Written, sung and arranged by David d’Or the song “Tshmor al ha olam yeled” Guard our world child” says it all And the lyrics translated
Last but far from least – my wonderful friend Arlene has undergone surgery and I want you all to pray for her speedy recovery because I want her back here in Jerusalem with me for a great big hug and natter!!!
With all my love from a glorious pre-Shabbat Jerusalem