The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

8th December 2011

Shabbat Shalom to you and yours!

Help!! The world has gone crazy……… or should I say crazier? Women are buried to their waists in sand and stoned to death on the say-so of their husbands, honour killings are rife, women are fourth class citizens in most of our neighbouring countries and Hillary is bothered because a few nutters insist (against Israeli law) that their women must sit in the back of the bus? She is equally bothered by the suggestion – not the actual implementation, of women not singing in the IDF choir. Talk about disproportionate responses!! It is time to start demanding rights, any rights, for women in places where women are oppressed not here where women have led the country, are judges, IDF officers, senior MK’s… we are the easy target not the real one.

I feel the same way about the NGO issue into an international issue. The government wants to prevent overseas GOVERNMENT funding of questionable NGO’s These NGO’s are extreme on the right and left and are deemed dangerous to the country’s security. In case no-one noticed we have a security situation!! Would the UK or USA allow outside funding for Al Qaeeda? The Attorney General says that the legal standing of such an act is questionable so it has been temporarily shelved

British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould had his loyalty to the United Kingdom questioned because he is both a Jew and a Zionist. The Member of Parliament who raised the question would never have doubted a Catholic in Rome, a Moslem in Saudi Arabia but he questions the loyalty of an Ambassador who has brought only love and respect to his position.

Former President Katsav is in prison. He was offered an easy way out early on in the proceedings but chose to take his case through the courts, appealed up to the Supreme court and now must pay the price of a considered legal process which culminated in the decision of a panel of three highly respected judges. Even at the gates of the prison he was declaring his innocence. “Time will prove that you have buried a man alive”. I think not. He will share a cell with former Minister Shlomi Binizri.

The Jerusalem Marathon will take place in March 2012. The course will take the participants through many picturesque neighbourhoods, through the Old City and then back into the centre of town. Even this wonderful event is deemed controversial! How dare the Jews have an event which brings joy to the Old City of Jerusalem which is not theirs anyway? This video takes you helter-skelter along the route, showing you Jerusalem at a pace the runners will never achieve! You may well enjoy the spelling mistakes in the descriptions of where you are; working on that with the Mayor!

Sheikh Nasrallah the leader of Hezb-Allah in the guise of a religious man, came out of his bolt hole – rat hole – surrounded by bodyguards, in order to express his hate for Israel. His negative policies which brought Lebanon to disaster are all he has to offer. Positivity incorporated.

Yesterday I agreed with two things Pres Assad of Syria said. In an interview by the inimitable Barbara Walters, in which his fixed smile and denials of ill will chilled the soul, she asked him why he doesn’t accept the rulings of the United Nations he declared the United Nations irrelevant – “Sir you have an Ambassador there” to which he responded “It’s a game we play. We don’t believe in it” United Nations – OK no-one believes in it. However my blood ran cold as he said “Only insane leaders order the death of their citizens” believing himself sane and innocent.

A group of StandWithUs Israel Fellows at Tel Aviv University has organised a unique conference on developing medical and humanitarian missions for victims of international conflicts and natural disasters. The three-day program for medical students and others will be held from July 25th to July 28th, hosted by the prestigious Sackler Faculty of Medicine of Tel Aviv University.

Until about a year ago I had never heard of Col. Allen West yet more and more people I trust believe he should run for President. A decorated war veteran and a man of honour, Col. West would not only be good for the United States, he would raise awareness and restore respect for the leadership within and without the United States. Will he accept the challenge? Actually, I hope so.

I know you want me to speak about the Ministry of Absorption advertisements in the USA, and I will but in short. I thought the campaign was overtly and overly honest and the outrage was extreme and came from the wrong place. …… never mind I don’t want to anger you.

Just as I was getting used to the idea that we are in the year 2011 Chanuka looms!! This year seems to have raced by without my noticing. Sure the grandchildren have grown bigger and we have a new little one called Ori, teeth have fallen and new ones grown, knees scuffed and noses bloodied, beautiful creations in artwork and the sudden magic of reading what is on the page………. but December – you have to be kidding!! …….For your delectation Aish ha Torah has produced a wonderful Chanuka video. I know it is early but I love it!!

Our “shiputzim” or renovations are still going strong. As of today we have no bathrooms in the apartment, no shower, no sink, no loo……… and an awful lot of noise as the jack-hammers tear up the last bathroom to reach the pipes guilty of causing damp on our neighbours ceiling! At least the veranda – heretofore referred to as The Mirpesset, is finished. It is stupendous! The tiles, a beautiful gunmetal grey, are of European standard non-slip which means the grandchildren will no longer go skating every time they get out of the paddling pool! The workmen did a phenomenal job, not only in their accuracy but in the way they cleaned and rubbed every single tile to ensure it was perfect, the grout level exactly in line and the finish to standard. Our somewhat thirsty and sun-deprived plants are about to go back outside and enjoy the imminent rain. I am so thrilled that my search of the internet to find 7 rain-free days worked exactly!! Having discovered that one of the apprentices is only 14 years old I asked the builder why he isn’t in school. “He won’t go to school, doesn’t want to learn so I decided it is better to bring him with me, teach him everything I know including how to do the job properly so at least he is not on the streets and easy pickings for the extremists.” The risk for Arab Israeli children is just as severe as those in the West Bank and I realised that Faiz was not preventing Asai from learning – he was in fact teaching him to be a useful , hardworking and productive citizen. Not everything is what is seems.

All of the workers are Israeli Arabs except for one fine artisan, the tiler. Abu Moussa (a common name so I am not divulging anything) comes from Bethlehem. Only 39 years old he looks at least 50 and has multiple medical problems – all easily healed with a little care. When I asked him why he didn’t go to the doctor in Bethlehem he told me “They won’t give us medication and the doctors are all Jordanian and really no good” We are trying to help him but it is difficult since unless his situation becomes serious he will not be brought over to hospital in Israel. It makes one wonder where all that aid money has gone……….. obviously not to the people.

The jack hammer is disturbing the peace as we speak and I am finding it difficult to collect my thoughts. I rose at 06:00 to write to you before they arrived, while my brain was still intact!! Tonight we move to Sammy and Fridas home in Mevasseret Zion – peace and quiet and most importantly – a toilet!!! Back tomorrow morning to the smell of Turkish coffee, no, I don’t make it I put everything ready for them and they help themselves.

Next week I will write again of the mirpesset and the view and about the beauty that is Jerusalem.

I wish you a wonderful Shabbat, one filled with family, friends, contemplation and love.

With love from Jerusalem, heart of our heart, centre of our world.

With love from Zvi and Sheila
PS Bank Leumi has launched their “Two million good reasons” drive for charitable NGO’s in Israel. All it takes is a vote.–renaming-it-to-two-million-good-reasons-132604473.html Lev Binyamin is a wonderful organisation which cares for and gives to the Special Needs community. find them on the Bank Leumi Site and vote vote vote where it says הצבע