The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


21st August 2009.

Shabbat Shalom!

Sweden believes that Israeli soldiers capture innocent Palestinians, kill them and cut out their vital organs for transplantation.

Claims to that effect can be found in an article in the popular Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in yet another abuse of “free speech”. The article is a disgrace to a country which believes itself a beacon of Western society. The printing of articles and accusations worthy of Goebbels in Swedish newspapers without censorship or repercussions is reprehensible and the authors of such incitement to hatred should be punished – I said SHOULD be punished but will they? The Swedish Ambassador to Israel immediately published an apology, but the Swedish Government censured him for his statement. The response of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was to say “Sweden, we have not forgotten your actions in WWII”,7340,L-3765046,00.html and

The Goldstone Commission –Prof. Irwin Cotler on the Goldstone Commissions report for the United Nations on the actions of Israel in Operation Cast Lead. Needless to say – they barely touch the actions of the Palestinians.

Part I (16Aug09) :

Part II (18Aug09) :

The unthinkable happened on a Scottish hillside on December 21, 1988, when an aeroplane exploded over Scotland and 259 passengers of Pan Am flight 103 and 11 people on the ground died when it crashed into the town of Lockerbie. The perpetrators died together with their victims but one of the planners, just one, was captured and imprisoned by the Scottish Courts for his heinous crime. Abdel Baset Megrahi was serving his prison sentence until the Scottish Courts chose to show compassion and released the terminally ill Megrahi, at the behest of that most compassionate of leaders, Libyan Muamar Ghadaffi. Apparently, despite a request by Mr. Obama, Libya gave him a heroes welcome, flying both Libyan and Scottish flags in celebration. As long as these rogue nations celebrate criminals as heroes and denigrate the innocent they will remain on the outside – thank G-d.

The Taiwan Typhoon. On his 07:00 report from the scene of Taiwan’s tragic typhoon CNN’s John Vause was the only international journalist to announce that the first lifesaving team to arrive in that beleaguered country was a group of Israeli doctors and specialists. Well done John, I have a feeling that you are not only the first but the only one to make that announcement!

It is official. The Wall Street Journal reports that Israel’s economy is the first in the Western World to recover. As I have said many times, Israel’s is not a manufacturing based economy but rather an intellectual and agricultural based economy, and we have an outstanding Governor of the Bank of Israel in Stanley Fisher whose policies have produced a stable financial situation.

Britain in the early ’60’s had not yet recovered from economic doldrums which followed the Second World War. Carnaby Street and the Beatles, Mary Quant and Vidal Sassoon all began a world wide social revolution but in addition they facilitated the “I’m Backing Britain” campaign! Union Jack Minis and knickers appeared and Brit’s began to buy British goods displaying the flag. Now Israel’s Industry, Trade and Labour Minister Binyamin (Fuoad) Ben-Eliezer intends introducing a “Buy Blue and White” Campaign to boost Israeli Industry. We have terrific products, great initiative and although our economy is the most “well managed” in the world we still have an unemployment problem. You are going to buy, aren’t you?

Clever thoughtful debate is not necessarily the impression given by most Israelis, but it is essential to our future in a world which must function on logic and pragmatism rather than emotions. Two students, Yoni Cohen-Idov and Uri Mehav, headed the Israeli team to the European Debating Championships in Newcastle, UK… and came home triumphant, having debated themselves to the finals!!!

Misconceptions are Israel’s greatest enemy, mostly created by our enemies and some even by our own lack of self-esteem and appreciation of what we have achieved under the most difficult of circumstances. First timers in Israel or those who have not been here for a number of years may have absorbed the press impressions of a somewhat backward, dusty, aggressive, unwelcoming country. Their amazement at our fine modern architecture, wide highways, great restaurants and marvelous night-life is pure joy! Zvi describes Jerusalem as a “City from Wall to Mall”, in other words a city which satisfies the spiritual and the secular joys of life. Unlike Tel Aviv we have a wonderful climate which even on the hottest day (it is now 35 c – 95 f) but we know that by evening it will cool down, the breeze will take away the lassitude induced by the extreme heat and we will sit outside on our veranda and take in the view, sipping a cool drink. We overlook a wonderful green hillside planted 60 years ago by KKL, a green oasis in a big city. To the right we see the houses of Gilo on the crest of said green hillside – Gilo a Jerusalem neighbourhood of 45,000 residents; after Gilo comes Beit Safafa, predominantly Arabs who were born in Jerusalem and a few who were Jordanian citizens but chose to become Israelis. Across from Beit Safafa is the Industrial zone of Talpiot, which changes from industry during the day to nightclubs at night. On the horizon Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, then Arnona, Baka, German Colony and Katamon all lay before us in a glistening white mosaic. Usually the streets are filled with cars rushing to and fro but now, today, as Shabbat nears, the traffic slows and thins and the shops close, one after another and families begin to gather, daughters and sons bringing huge pots of unknown content to their parents as they share the cooking. I am jealous of the large Eastern families whose children would never think of eating a Friday night meal with anyone but their mother! My family is dispersed and I miss them every moment of every day, but particularly on a Friday night.

So, it is time to wind down my letter. The cooking is done and in the refrigerator, the table prepared, the candles are set on the sideboard and the tempting aromas of Shoshanna’s Kurdish Kubeh Soup is wafting up the stairs. I am no mean cook but when she knocks on our door, saucepan in hand I admit to a sudden rush of joy!!!

I wish you Shabbat Shalom and joy from and with your family.

With much love from Jerusalem; heart and soul of our world.