The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


12th March 2009

It is now almost 1,000 days since Gilad Schalit was kidnapped by “forces unknown” and taken to Gaza. Four soldiers were injured and Lt. Hanan Barak, 20, and Staff-Sgt. Pavel Slutzker, 20, were killed. Since that time no facet or clause of the Geneva Convention has been honoured. The Red Cross have been unable to discover his whereabouts; Amnesty International have had no success; indeed none of the civil rights of Corporal Gilad Schalit and his family have been taken into consideration during the period in which thousands of complaints about Israeli civil rights breeches have been taken to the United Nations.

Gilad’s parents are camped outside the Prime Ministers home in the hope of gaining world attention. The Prime Minister is working and has been working on an exchange but “they” keep changing the rules and drawing out the agony. The Prime Minister does not only have to consider the agony of a boy’s parents – he also has to take into consideration the “deal” which will release over a thousand killers back into a society which is bent on our destruction. I pray every day that Gilad’s frail frame will come back into the warmth and love of his family very soon, but the price includes Marwan Barghouti and the PM has to face the families of those he ordered killed, or will kill in the future.

George Galloway, the Moseleyite Member of Parliament, decided to bring aid to the value of 1 million pounds in his “Viva Palestina” crusade and break the cruel Israeli “blockade”. His attempts were first hampered by the inconsiderate work of the counter-terrorism police in the UK who arrested three of his cohorts before leaving Britain’s shores. Then he and his remaining followers, wrapped in Palestinian flags, drove 5,000 miles with their measly amount of aid (Israel sends that in one day!!) only to be stopped at Al Arish, before reaching the Rafah crossing, screaming abuse of further proof of the Israeli blockade. Mr. Galloway was yet again hoisted by his own petard – it was the Egyptian Government who prevented his entering Gaza, not Israel!!! He got through but his publicity stunt was, by then, a damp squib! Maybe he should now call for a boycott of all Egyptian goods!!!

One of the most important aspects of defending Israel to a brainwashed world, is being aware of your facts and not being afraid to state them. The only way to combat the horrific Israel bashing is to face it down, whether in writing or in debate, logically, simply and with facts.

I have an Arab friend who lives in Abu Ghosh. Abu Ghosh is so much more than a signpost on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Road; Abu Ghosh is so much more than the best hummous in Israel; Abu Ghosh is how it should be and how I could have been. Abu Ghosh is the living proof that “du Kiyum” – coexistence, really works. Abu Ghosh is an Israeli village of predominantly Moslem Arabs; during the War of Independence in 1948 the residents of Abu Ghosh fought in the fledgling army of Israel and the village as a whole made the decision to be loyal to Israel. Some Jewish Israelis chose to live in Abu Ghosh as some Abu Ghosh residents chose to live in Israeli towns; Christian Arabs in Abu Ghosh are treated with respect too. Their first language is Hebrew and they enjoy all of the rights and respect of any and every Israeli citizen. In other words, it is not only feasible it is possible; it is as it should be. Apartheid indeed! If only our neighbouring countries thought the same way we could all live a so much better life.

Another window of hope in Kinsale, my favourite town in Ireland. My thanks to Tom Carew, an Irishman who works with all his heart for Israel, for sending me this article about the Lord Kingsale Hotel, County Cork, Ireland, which cancelled a performance of ‘Seven Jewish Children’ due to play at the hotel. When the managers of this 250-year-old hotel in Kinsale, County Cork , realised the truth about this play which demonises Israel and has Anti-Semitic content, they immediately cancelled the performances scheduled to be held in the hotel. This brave decision has meant a loss of revenue and has brought them criticism and cancellations. County Cork is beautiful and the Irish are lovely. Please consider taking a vacation at the hotel and recommending it to your friends by forwarding this email. The email address for information (and to thank them) is info@lordkingsale. com

Rupert Murdoch won an award in the United States. He commented that many people thought he was Jewish, which although he is not, he took as the supreme compliment.

Purim is over and for once it didn’t rain! The costumes back in their boxes for another year, the hangovers cured and the children’s teeth recovering from the overdose of sweets. A fresh phenomenon is making its yearly appearance as the whiff of cleaning fluids takes over from the cooking aromas in the hallways of Israel! I don’t know why but we all start cleaning from Purim until Passover, as if it takes a month to scrub the apartments!! It is a strange Jewish trait that although no-one in their right mind climbs under the beds to eat a meal, we nonetheless deem it essential to Passover preparations to pull out every bed, to empty the clothes out of cupboards and to line shelves which have never seen a crumb, with fresh lining paper. Each year I tell myself it is insane and each year I arrive at Seder Night exhausted but with a sparkling home!!!! It is an exciting time in many ways – as if an entire country is preparing itself for the recounting of our history by cleaning out all the excess.

Nature knows that Passover is on its way. Everything is beginning to blossom, even the desert is blooming after the much awaited rains. Look at this video of the flash floods in Nahal David, near Ein Gedi, after the heavy rains in Jerusalem. Jerusalemites claim that all rain which falls to the west of Kind George Street goes to the Mediterranean Sea and rain which falls to the east of King George Street goes to the Dead Sea.

Tomorrow morning we are going to a concert at the Jerusalem Theatre (thanks Pola) so I already finished my Shabbat cooking. I am not going to bore you with the menu this week, but let it be known that it includes a gorgeous Pumpkin soup – made with great big, huge local pumpkins – which are neatly hacked into any size you wish by the grocer. Gosh I love living in a country where everything is fresh and available.

With much love for a beautiful Shabbat to you all.