The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


15th October 2009

Shabbat Shalom to friends all over the world – Jew, Christian and Moslem. Peace, Paz, Shalom, Salaam.

Last week I alluded to meetings held between PM Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas during which Abbas encouraged Israel to go into Gaza and wipe out Hamas – at whatever human cost. I was unable to find proof, other than my husbands own eyes. Finally I found an English translation of the Ma’ariv article. Something has caused Abbas to do an about-turn on the Goldstone report, but here is the article.

President Obama is upset that Fox News is unkind to him and stated in an interview that it is hard to hear bad reports all day long. George W. Bush withstood unprecedented criticism and ridicule for eight years. In 1949 President Harry S. Truman warned his staff not to concern themselves over criticism about their appointments: “I’ll stand by you but if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Some of you were surprised that I did not write to bemoan the decision to bestow the Nobel Peace Prize on President Obama. The prize is bestowed upon long-serving public figures who have given their lives to diplomacy and toiled endlessly to bring about peace, for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people and pursuit of peace”, it is not a reward for being President of the United States! Ambassador Yoram Ettinger explained that unlike the other Prizes this is at the behest of politicians not the Nobel committee! Thorbjorn Jagland, former Prime Minister of Norway and Ex-President James Carter pushed their last minute candidate upon a surprised committee and surprised recipient. Jimmy Carter wins again.

The United Kingdom became the first Western country with voting rights on the UN Human Rights Council to clearly state that it would not endorse the Goldstone Report or the draft resolution based on that report, which had been placed before the council’s two-day special session that opened Thursday in Geneva.

Yet again Israel was the first country to send aid to disaster areas. The Philippines suffered another disaster from huge tidal waves which wiped out entire areas ncludng the capital Manila. Israel, under permanent threat from her neighbours and from the UN and Western “do-gooders” is always the first on the scene whatever the natural disaster. We are not insular; we are by nature an ebullient, generous country with experts trained by necessity who now reach out to help others.

Im Tirtzu is a student organization which describes itself as moderate neo-Zionist and is doing excellent work on Campus to confound Israel’s detractors. They also have a wonderful line in T-shirts!!!!

Some people talk about their dreams while others fulfill them. Andrew Rogers, of Melbourne Australia, fulfills his dreams in a spectacular manner. He travels the world building enormous creations, some 2 kilometres across. Andrew’s works can be seen in Turkey and he expressed concern over the strained relations between Turkey and Israel. Diplomatically Turkey is moving closer to the rogue Moslem states and turning away from the West and the principles of Attaturk. Prime Minister Erdogan’s attempts to demonise Israel were not filtering through to the Turkish people so he used the media to reach out. He commissioned a television series to appeal to the ordinary people, a series which has shocked Israel to the very core portraying the IDF in horrific scenes of carnage and oppression. The only thing missing from the video is a hook-nosed, bearded Jew drooling over the blood of children. This report includes two videos from the series.

Israelis are shocked because those self-same IDF soldiers who are depicted as cold-blooded killers are those IDF whose rescue teams rushed to the aid of Turkish civilians following the devastating earthquake of 1999.

Tel Aviv comes to London! Leicester (pronounced Lester) Square and was transformed into Bohemian Tel Aviv Spitalfields Market became Mahane Yehuda as easyjet, a bargain airline company, announced their new route from London to Tel Aviv. Israeli Ambassador to the Court of St. James Ron Prosor was happy to join the events, probably in search of falafel and a good coffee!!!

I went to Mahane Yehuda yesterday! When my friend Judith called me up and suggested going to the shouk I moved so quickly I didn’t even hang up the phone!!! Gosh I love that place and now is the season that I love it most of all. The fruit and vegetables are at their prime- fresh, seasonal and local every bite fulfilling the promise of the flavour that nature intended. Judith and I have specific vendors for specific items, the courgettes from one, the fresh green herbs from another and the firm peppers, red, yellow, purple, orange and two shades of green, from the third. Fish can only come from “David Dagim” who has fresh fish from Europe as well as from the Red Sea. David knows how to mince exactly the right combinations for the various cultures – on condition you bring him one to taste after cooking!! I admit avoiding those fishmongers where the still live carp are liable to jump out of their boxes onto your feet! Most amazing are the fruits, piled high teasing ones senses with unbeatable sun ripened succulence as if freshly plucked from the tree or vine. A profusion of dried fruits beckon – their sticky sweet/sour smell heralding their appearance long before they appear. My favourite is the sun-dried pineapple, nothing added the flavour explodes in your mouth. Cheeses galore, spices in abundance, olives in wine, oil, spicy and plain, Judaica, a cornucopia of Jewish life each costermonger bellowing out his wares as the finest! We rested in the very fashionable coffee shop and I had the best sandwich I can ever remember!!! Freshly baked croissant filled with finely sliced Brie and pear……delicious – of course washed down with an incomparable Café Hafuch!

So dear friends, Zvi has just taken his little grand-daughter to explore and enjoy the Bloomfield Science Museum and I am finishing off the Shabbat preparations. Most of the treasures bought in the shouk are now transformed into our Shabbes meals. The white tablecloth is on the table and I am getting ready to sit out on our veranda with a good cup of coffee and watch Jerusalem slow down, grow more peaceful as the beautiful bride of the Sabbath brings a quiet serenity to the Golden City.

I wish you Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.

With love