The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


5th March 2009.

I knew something was wrong the moment I looked out of the window. The traffic was backed up on the road down to the main intersection which leads to town, Begin Boulevard and the Shopping Mall. The police and ambulance sirens began moments later and it was clear something had happened. Right on the junction an excavator (JCB or Caterpillar) driver ploughed into a police car and lifted it in the air twice and then went for a thankfully empty tour bus. A passing police car and a taxi driver witnessed to the scene and quickly shot the attacker. The two policemen and the attacker were taken to hospital but the attacker died upon arrival thus not giving any information on whosoever sent him on his “Holy” mission.

The excavator driver, who had the Quran open on his knee during the attack, is an Israeli citizen with a blue ID and came from Jabel Mukaber – yet again. I am confident that his family receives all the medical and social services that being an Israeli offers and he obviously worked and had a good salary as a heavy vehicle driver. How can we prevent such actions if one has no means of punishment? Hillary doesn’t want us to be “meanies” and punish his family by pulling down or closing their home but if that is unacceptable what does she suggest? How does one combat the mentality which declared joy in the death of ones son as a martyr? I am equally confident that the headlines in the worlds press will read “ARMED POLICE AND TAXI DRIVER SHOOT PALESTINIAN WORKER”.

On the subject of Hillary and the press – Why is it unacceptable for Israel to build houses on disputed territory in established centres of population surrounded by nothingness, but acceptable for Arabs to do same? Issawiya is part of Israel, the residents get all their services from the Jerusalem Municipality yet they build vast quantities of housing (funded by the Saudis) which lies empty awaiting the influx of Palestinians from the PA to ensure the demographic annihilation of Israel.

We often discuss the fact that the Palestinians take the attention and publicity of the world, through an incessant campaign of hatred against Israel, and take it away from those who really need the world to plead their case. The Palestinians take aid money which could feed entire countries in Africa and squander it on strengthening their hate machine. Maybe Hillary would speak differently if she read the table below (BMJ is British Medical Journal) but then she probably has these figures at her fingertips and for some reason continues to demand “painful concessions” from Israel and doling out rewards to the Palestinians.

We still don’t have a government!!! Bibi is still talking to Udi and cajoling Tsippi and the current state of affairs is that Udi (Ehud Barak) wants in but his party wants out and Tsippi wants out but her party wants in. Eli won’t let Yvette take any position which touches on religion (Interior, Justice, Education) and Yvette will only be in if Danny (Freedman) continues as Justice Minister. In the meantime Shimon is trying to make everyone see sense and keep Dalia as the Speaker of the Knesset. Got it?

Yesterday I met with Tom Gross whose very telling article was published in the WSJ this week. Tom’s article, in which he quotes our Kinneret Chaya, says that Israel cannot continue making concessions and continue to be the only one to make concessions when all we really want is for the Palestinian Authority to bring forth an Anwar Sadat to make peace. His simple truth brought forth a spate of hateful talkbacks which proliferate an inability to accept the possibility of another truth. The anti-Semitism and anti-Israel viewpoint is reaching its height and over the past few years in which the air was ripe, it has been carefully created by spin. Sitting in a wonderful little French Café on Keren Kayemet Street near the Wolfson Buildings (where they make the best brioche imaginable) Tom and I commented on the fact that today’s journalists do not write the news, they create it. Today a journalist writes his opinion over and over again until it becomes the truth. The trouble is that ordinary folk can see that this isn’t the truth yet are powerless to stop the flow of propaganda. There are a few good guys who stand up to the pressure from editors, Tom is one, Krauthammer, Pipes and Canadas Rosie di Manno and Christy Blatchford are all willing to go against the stream, or torrent, in the name of accuracy, honesty and truth.

Sunday was St. David’s Day –the Welsh saints day. I set off in a terrible rainstorm for Netanya – about one and a half hours drive from Jerusalem for a big Welsh Ex-Pats get together. I spent the afternoon with my delightful cousins Jean and Stuart before we headed off to the King Solomon Hotel and the Welsh evening. As we entered the hotel I admit being a little scared of seeing people whose memories of me were 40 years old, but I should have remembered the “Welcome in the Valleys”! Gerald Rapport met us sporting a marvelous Welsh dragon sweater and showed us to our dining-room which was bedecked with Welsh flags and green and red bunting. The faces looking back at me were as excited as I!!! Suddenly the photo of my Girl Guide troop began to come to life and the former seats of Cyncoed Shule filled the room. Les and Viv Greenbaum have not changed in 40 years – which is quite astonishing! It is amazing how we all seemed to fit together without effort – very different people from the ones we used to be, with a width of experience that we would never have known had we stayed in Wales. Faces lit up as Gerald began to quote a Welsh language poem from grade 3 and Rochelle and Brenda Samuels (I don’t even know their married names) acted out two stories from Dylan Thomas’ “Miscellany”. Finally amid laughter, we all tried to remember the words to the Welsh National Anthem and Sospan Fach. What fun and how amazing that so many of us from that tiny community chose to come to Israel – a country the size of Wales without the rain and the sheep!!! Not one of us expressed any regrets – life here is too fulfilling to go back!

The first freesias are blooming on my veranda, beside the ixia and muscari. I have a feeling that we will suffer a sandstorm soon since I already began my Passover cleaning and today the veranda got a thorough washing to clean away winter. It is guaranteed that every time I get everything sparkling – the Sahara pays a visit!!!!

With love from Jerusalem, the heart of our world, a heart which on days like today skips a pulse but then beats on, stronger than ever. Sheila