The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem and Revue of 2011


30th December 2011

Shabbat Shalom and I hope all my Christian friends had a wonderful and contemplative Christmas.

Gosh it is almost 2012! This has been a somewhat exciting year and not the most comfortable. From Arab Spring which the insanely naive politicians described as a blow for democracy we recognise today that it turned into a deep and bloody abyss of tyranny. In Libya anger overflowed into such violence that they stripped former leader Muammar Ghaddafi bare, beat and abused him until he finally died. His daughter is now seeking asylum in Israel.

The much lauded Egyptian freedom rallies turned into a feast of violence that the media refused to expose even when one of their top women journalists was raped. In Syria thousands are mown down and the Israeli press, freer than elsewhere, told of the wounded who when they arrive at hospital are kicked and beaten to death on government direction. A new form of triage which identifies rebels and ensures their demise.

In the UK demonstrations turned to riots and in the USA they turned to left wing “Occupation”. Israel’s Social Justice demonstrations began with Cottage Cheese prices and crossed the social barriers. They were quiet and dignified, and as a result the government ordered the Trajtenberg Enquiry into social needs which are currently being implemented where appropriate.

The Fogel Family was slaughtered in their home by Palestinian “heroes” and the media described them as “a settler family” as if excusing the heinous crime. Supermarket Entrepreneur Rami Levi showed us that actions speak louder than words when the family sat mourning their loss they found a stranger filling their fridge. It was Rami Levi who promised to do the self-same thing every Friday until the remaining children reach the age of 18. What a mensch.

Gilad Schalit came home. A frail young man did what no-one else could – he weakened the resolve of Hamas. When he realised that his freedom was hanging by a thread he decided to go on a hunger strike until Hamas feared his death, thus losing leverage. Our price was high, we have yet to understand the cost, but I am in awe of his resolve and determination, clearly inherited from his father, his unbelievable psychological strength. Glad he is home.

Israel won another Nobel Prize. Prof. Dan Schechtman, held in disdain by his fellow scientists who blackballed him for his ground breaking discovery, persevered proving he was right all along.

There are 5 new women pilots in the IDF!!! As PM Netanyahu sat “If women can sit in the cockpit of an aeroplane they can sit anywhere” referring to back of bus!

UNESCO finally recognised that the PA textbooks are not just anti-Israeli but anti-Semitic when their Holocaust denial came to the light. The incredible work carried out by the likes of Palestinian Media Watch and IMPACT-SE ensure that such travesties in education are brought to the light.

A President was sentenced and went to prison for sexual harassment and rape. Moshe Katsav refused a deal early in the proceedings and received the full services of the Israeli legal system which worked to the letter of the law.

Religious tension overflowed in Israel when women were ordered to the back of the bus. I warned of not throwing the beautiful baby of Judaism out with the bathwater of extremism and here is just one of the reasons. Every home in South Korea has a Talmud and mothers teach their children the wisdom of the Talmud. Why? Because they realised that Jewish genius comes from religious learning. Think about it.,7340,L-4065672,00.html On Monday I will meet the South Korean Ambassador to Israel Young Sam Mah in the Knesset at a reception and Q&A organised by the Knesset Forum on International Relations. I know what my first question will be!

South Sudan declared independence from the oppressive Moslem North after many years of slaughter and Israel was proudly the first nation to recognise them and send aid.
The Palestinian Authority tried to achieve world recognition but when it didn’t go their way they decided to join forces with Hamas.
US troops left Iraq in turmoil and the internecine killing became untenable – if you want to know the truth then go to Canon Andrew White’s page on Facebook.

A North Korean President died to the most carefully dramatised wailing session ever seen. No changes there though.

Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu was declared one of the 10 most intelligent people in the world with an IQ of 180.

His determination to limit foreign funding for NGO’s which threaten Israel’s security is 100% right. Not just Machsom Watch and their ilk, but the Haredim went outside Israel to persuade 5 millionaires to pay for a private segregated bus line. Herem m’bifnim (Boycott from inside) raises funds overseas so that when HaBimah Theatre was invited to the International Shakespeare Festival in the UK they can demand from the British organisers to disinvite Israel’s National Theatre because they performed in Ariel!!!! Mr Netanyahu – implement this law.

Finally and most dramatically – Iran has finally been recognised as the apex of the triangle of evil. Had the Allies had the courage to attack Iran originally, not Afghanistan and Iraq – maybe…….?

Our renovations are over!!! Gosh it was no picnic but it looks great! The bathrooms are gleaming, all doors, toilets and showers in perfect working order and no damp at the downstairs neighbours! Instead of a bath in our bathroom we now have a wonderful shower which makes it hard to limit the time spent in steaming hot water – but we have to protect the Kinneret after all. The apartment is slowly becoming less dusty and of course the veranda – ah the veranda. We had a delightful breakfast with Rivka and Michael Bertisch Meir this week and afterwards we came home to show them the view from our newly refurbished and gleaming veranda. They were thrilled!! It really is incredible looking out on Jerusalem in the wintry sunshine. Of course, they wanted me to tell Stanley that the tiny orange tree is healthy but denuded and the kumquats already made into marmalade!!!

On Wednesday we went out for dinner with our wonderful Melbourne friends John and Pauline Gandel, the most amazing, funny, lovely friends anyone could ever wish for. Their grandson AJ is here for Academy and joined us for a Moroccan meal at Ima Restaurant – the excellence of the company far outweighed the food but the evening was a great success!!! By the way Josephine – I came home and immediately had tea in one of the Galaxy mugs!!

I pray that next year, 2012, will be a kinder, less exciting year. My greatest prayer is that Israel will be recognised as the democratic island in a sea of oppression; the incredibly giving, innovative and generous society that she surely is.

I want to end with a song or two. “Israel The Tiny” is a wonderful video produced by Allan Pakes, with the young singers of Afula, a new song that expresses all our feelings

Finally – or as we say here “Aharon ve Chaviv” (Last and Happy) Happy New Year from the IDF!!!

In 2012 I pray that all of us will show pride in who we are, where we come from and where we are going and stand tall in the face of those who would rewrite our history.

Shabbat Shalom and love from Jerusalem, heart of our hearts, centre of our prayers, core of our being.

Sheila and of course Zvi

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.