The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem – politics, fun and personal thoughts

8th February 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. If I were to choose a quote that expressed my feelings, albeit not PC today, I would choose Benjamin Disraeli’s response to the goading of a fellow Member “Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the Right Honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon”
I looked up the meaning of PARADOX because I hate misinforming you and the explanation was Ehibiting inexplicable or contradictory aspects . I then thought of the epitome of Paradox which is exhibited in opinion of the Middle East. The only country that reaches out the hand of friendship and aid to its neighbours; that gives succour to its enemies; that provides the world with incredible technological, medical and scientific advances; gave the world its social laws and honours, nay admires the West is the only country in the area that is constantly derided, upbraided and hated in favour of countries that hate the west, oppress their citizens, burn the American flag and declare war on the very countries that love them. Yup PARADOX if ever I saw one!!!!
Ban Ki Moon may be blind and deaf but sadly he is not mute. This week he held a press conference in which insisted, yet again, that a few houses on disputed land are the cause of all problems in the area. He forgot to mention the extreme and constant Palestinian building in those same disputed areas!!!
Hezb-Allah was behind Bulgarian bus bomb at the Burgas Airport – surprise surprise. Will Europe finally name Hezb-Allah as a terrorist entity? To follow, an article by rare, forthright and candid politicians whose staunch support of Israel separates them from most European leaders, David Trimble andJosé María Aznar.
Jihadi terrorism is still alive and, as events in Mali and Algeria show us, poses a direct threat to us. The turmoil in North Africa reminds us that jihadism has no boundaries and that when confronting terrorism it is always better to prevent it rather than deal with its consequences. The EU, however, sometimes refuses to face the reality of terrorism. One strong case in point is Hezbollah.
In July last year a bus full of Israeli tourists was blown to pieces by a young suicide bomber in Burgas, Bulgaria — five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed. All the evidence points to it being a plot conceived and executed by Hezbollah.
After the furore over the Gerald Scarfe’s foul Times Cartoon, Rupert Murdoch apologised immediately and genuinely; the Editor apologised profusely for his lack of taste and forethought; as to Gerald Scarfe – he simply said he was sorry it was published on International Holocaust Day! Your letters helped.
After the Superbowl ad, Sodastream has become the target of the rabid BDS rabble. Here isthe truth The owners not only brought in people according to their abilities and the opportunity to work together in harmony but gave ALL faiths
prayer facilities on the site.
Driving to one of my meetings I was listening to the Israeli news channel and heard someone speak in the most perfect, beautiful Hebrew, with a slight Arabic accent. My ears pricked up and I learned that the man speaking was the director of Israel Radio in Arabic for Kol Yisrael. Yasser Nadila and a commentator whose name I didn’t catch were proudly describing the fact that they had total autonomy over content of their programming and managed to put the REAL news from Israel out into the Arabic speaking world. It made me so happy. One Kol Yisrael programme that I love is Elihu Ben On’s “The Israel Connection” whereby he speaks to Hebrew speakers all over the world hearing their views and opinions in Hebrew.
As usual we had a crazy week! It all began on Shabbat when Zvi and I met with the “Doppelt Volunteers”. Each year Carol and Steven Doppelt bring a group of friends and fellow congregants to volunteer in their projects in Haifa and they spend at least one weekend (Shabbat) in Jerusalem. This year Carol was sadly missed since a medical problem forced her to stay at home but as always their son Michael was central to their Shabbat, having just returned from a visit to Ethiopia where he and others accompanied some of the last Jews on their journey home. Their questions were varied and I left Zvi to talk about the politics – I talk about our way of life and all matters positive!!!!
As with all good events in Jerusalem there was an unexpected invitee, who the group met in the hotel elevator!!!! Sarah is a post-grad student at NYU and is writing a Thesis on womens rights/issues in various places in the world. She arrived in Jerusalem from Kurdistan and asked for my help in understanding womens issues in the various sectors of our complex society. Of course we invited her home and as luck would have it she arrived just as our dear friend Tim King bought his wonderful daughter Anna to discuss her immediate future and possibilities. Anna, a beautiful former model with the most glorious flame red hair, gave up her blossoming career to enter the IDF as a Hummer instructor. Anna, whose father Tim was one of the founders of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, is a proud Christian Israeli and spoke to Sarah about women in the IDF. It was such a joy listening to the intelligence with which both women discussed the subject. Anna, who is getting married in just a few months, would make the perfect advocate for Israel overseas – I hope her talents will be utilised by those who decide. In the meantime we wish Tim, Martha and of course the bride and groom a hearty Mazal Tov.
Actually the week began with brunch at Caffit in the Botanical Gardens with the Oppenheimers, which has become a delightful tradition for the four of us! It was a glorious day, the winter sun was shining as we sat and enjoyed the phenomenal salads. I love the fact that all the waiters there are students, post IDF and so funny and cute! Conversations often include them, the aura is gentle, the view amazing and the food they serve is exquisite!
Brunch was followed by a very exciting event. My wonderful grand-daughter Talia has proven her reading ability by completing her reading of the prayer book and an amazing “Sium Siddur” party ensued! The girls put on a two and a half hour show, singing, dancing and generally making all of the women in the audience, Mothers and Grandmothers, cry with joy and laugh in surprise. I was so proud of her and of her Mummy, especially when the last song they sang was for th Mothers, thanking G-d for giving these wonderful little girls a Mother who loves them so much.
Yesterday Zvi dragged me unwillingly to a lecture, one of a series on geneaology, conceived by our dear friend Motti Friedman. All I wanted was to rest no go to a lecture but as the speaker began I became enthralled. I learned a new word, Onomastics, or the study of names and all about the origin of Jewish names, when surnames began and how they were created. I had no idea of the variations of each individual name and began to realise why I had so much difficulty finding Zvi’s ancestors – but also learned many new ways of looking. Who knew that by adding an asterisk to the search you opened a new world or opportunities? For instance, if you want to find all version of the name Abrahams you would write Abra* and all the alternatives would appear!!!! The lecture was interspersed with accounts of enormous historical significance as well as information on tracing family. Next week I will accompany Zvi willingly!!!!
It is Friday, the wind is blowing, the air crisp and everyone is returning home to prepare for Shabbat and snuggle under the warm covers for their “schlaffshtunder” or siesta. Shabbat comes in early and the preparations over before the lighting of the candles to welcome the bride of Shabbat into our homes. The expectation of Shabbat is all around, the air redolent with the aromas of many continents, of epicurean traditions that arrived with communities as they fled homeward from persecution in foreign lands. Israels melting pot is special because we have an important common denominator – Judaism.
I leave you with a special recording of Hatikvah by Al Jolson. Shabbat Shalom to you – whoever and wherever you may be.
With much love from Jerusalem, our common denominator of love, yearning, beauty and joy.