The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila


30th January 2009.

Shabbat Shalom

Today I am not starting with niceties. I am sick and tired of the entire hypocritical world deciding whether Israel has the right to respond to eight years of rockets fired relentlessly from Gaza and then whether our response was “responsible”. There is not one single country in the world which would not have beaten the **** out of any neighbour which acted with such unqualified aggression and openly declared its only objective as your demise and your country’s annihilation!

Spain, of all countries, is about to try us for war crimes! Spain, which sided with Hitler during World War 2 while declaring herself neutral and which has constantly treated its Basques with a cruelly hard hand and sponsored death squads. The background is ably explained by Prof. Gerald Steinberg in today’s Jerusalem Post

Many newspapers published that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stormed off the stage in disgust at President Peres during the Davos World Economic Conference having been told he could not speak. The truth is that Prime Minister Erdogan spoke at length against Israel’s invasion of Gaza and the subsequent suffering and then President Peres spoke eloquently and emotionally about Israel’s right to self defence and care in pinpointing Hamas targets. President Peres received a rousing round of applause at which the Turkish PM demanded a right of response which was refused, thus causing his angry departure. Erdogan apologized for his behaviour yet when he got back to Istanbul he was greeted as a hero for his “victory”.

Our current party political broadcasts are somewhat aggressive toward the opposition, not my favourite manner of politicking. While very aware that politicians are not all sweetness and light, we do not kill the opposition parties by tying their hands and feet and throwing them off a 40 foot wall as in a video I received this morning from Gaza of Hamas dealing with its opposition – Fatah. I am not passing on the link unless you insist because it is so odious that it made me weep at man’s inhumanity to man. Any comparison between the cruelty inflicted by Hamas upon the people of Gaza and the sad outcome of defensive warfare is beyond the pale.

What was not reported is that 48 Palestinian orphans from Gaza were invited to Israel by the Kibbutz movement, to Arabic speaking homes, in the hope of giving them respite from Hamas but Hamas prevented their exit from Gaza for fear that these children may tell the truth.

What was not reported is that Dr Elazzadin Abu El Aish, who tragically lost 3 of his daughters “on Air” during Operation Cast Lead, went back to Gaza to mourn his daughters and then brought his remaining children to Israel where friends and good people help him find a home so that he can continue his work as a gynaecologist and research into infertility in Israel. He did not choose to stay in Gaza.

Many American friends express deep concern for our safety in Israel and for the lack of control of Islamic Fundamentalism in the UK and Europe. Steve Emerson tried to tell you what was happening in the USA during the ’90’s in “Jihad in America” but was labeled a racist scaremonger – until 9/11 of course; now Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Moslem, a physician who served in the US army, formerly physician to the Supreme Court has produced a video called “The Third Jihad”. This is the 30 minute abridged version of a 90 minute video. It is difficult to watch but all Americans; indeed all of us should watch it.

I apologise for venting my anger on you, but as always I promise to end with something sweet to leave a good taste in your mouth.

Zvi and I knew of Jay Rawlings, broadcaster and excellent human being, but we didn’t know it all, not by any means. Jay and his wife Meridel left good careers and came to Israel from Canada, beautiful Vancouver Island, and decided to “grow” their four sons here. The boys went to local schools and to the IDF; they speak Hebrew and are wonderful emissaries on behalf of Israel, and help their parents in their work to promote a true vision of Israel to the Christian community worldwide. and Yesterday we went to their home for an interview. Zvi spoke of his amazing history and I spoke of how I got started on my Shabbat Shalom project, and we both spoke of the “power of one”. What we have done is not so exceptional, and I include Jay and Meridel in the “we”. All we do is take up the challenge that presents itself, whether as a Christian, Jew or Moslem. We don’t make history we record it; we don’t re-create situations – we tell it as it is, even if sometimes it is hard to see the other point of view; we do not wish harm to anyone, we just yearn for the day when they will not wish us harm.

In other words, the only weapons one needs in this particular war are a pen, a voice, a strong constitution and a kind heart. Those who are angry and abusive, whatever the situation, have lost the war of words. When you write letters, be it to the media or the legislature, use firm, positive words, not obnoxious ones. We don’t have to prove ourselves right, we do not need to excuse our behaviour; we do not need to react with anger when our point of view is ignored, we simply need to express it quietly over and over again.

Today is glorious. The weather is crisp, cool and sadly still rainless. The shekdiot (almond blossom) are now in full blossom on the sides of road number one which winds its hilly way up to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is just beginning to slow down, to lead up to Erev Shabbat (Sabbath eve) and the national grid is at its peak as ovens fill up with food which represents the temporary nationality of the owner, hamin and cholent; kugel, jachnun and quiche; chicken paprika or babaganoush and a myriad of vegetables stuffed with lamb, beef and rice in spicy sauces. Imagine all those amazing aromas melding into a truly wonderful redolent cloud over the Golden City!

Did you notice that I said their temporary nationality? We all came from here, all Jews, we spread and formed the Diaspora but our origin before the dispersion was here. We may choose to remain in our adopted homeland, as long as they will let us, but I came home.

Shabbat Shalom from vibrant, warm, multiracial, multicultural Jerusalem, centre of our world.

With love,