The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

The 11th Day of the 11th Month of the 11th year of this century.

Shabbat Shalom

A tragic incident took place today as Rabbi Dan Martzbach was driving home to the settlement of Otniel at five in the morning and he saw what he thought was an ambush. He drove as fast as he could not realising it was an IDF checkpoint. The soldiers, when the car, travelling without lights, wouldn’t stop despite several orders and shooting in the air thought it was a terrorist attack, since it had been reported to them as suspicious by another group. The soldiers fired and the Rabbi died and his passengers were injured. Simultaneously a Palestinian truck driver at the site ran a soldier down severely hurting him. Tragic, avoidable and so so sad. May his soul rest in peace.,7340,L-4146864,00.html

At 11:00 this morning Britain will honour the dead of two World Wars and too many campaigns and “minor” wars. At 11:00 the top brass of the Biritish Army, the Royal Family and the Government will stand to attention for two minutes silence and will lay wreaths on the Cenotaph, the monument created by Lutyens at the request of David Lloyd-George for the first Peace Day as a Memorial to those who died in the 1st World War – the War to end all wars. We honour those who died to ensure we live – those who still die to ensure our freedom. We honour their lives and mourn their deaths.

Two nights ago Israel commemorated the death of a soldier, a hero, our Prime Minister who fought so hard for the sake of Israel, for the safety of his soldiers and for the freedom of his people. He was not the man the left have re-invented, something I told you year after year after year. Yitzchak Rabin was a proud Israeli; a reluctant politician, a shy man who despised the cant and hypocrisy of politics and diplomacy; he was a friend; he was a member of Zvi’s family. I will never forget his gentle care the last time we met, in the Rotunda, Washington, when he raced across to me, ignoring the high power group assembled there for the opening ceremony of the “Jerusalem 3,000” celebration of the US, gently hugging me concerned that all those people might push me about after my serious operation. That was the real Yitzchak Rabin. I almost always agree with what Isi Leibler writes and I believe that Isi’s words on theis 16th anniversary of Yitzchak Rabin’s assassination by a Jewish terrorist is complette. Stop distorting Rabin’s legacy by Isi Leibler

The Hebrew “Yahzeit” of Yitzchak Rabin coincided with the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass, which heralded the Holocaust. The dehumanisation which preceded that fateful night is too similar to the dehumanisation of Israel, making Israel, the Jewish State, expendable as Jews became after Kristallnacht. We have to be alert – it is happening in the West, incitement to hatred on campus, even in the Wall street demos! The Holocaust is over but the lessons of Goebbles are used today by those who would see us gone.

The Obama/Sarkozy “overheard” conversation teaches us two things. One is that politicians act like school children, bickering about one another instead of holding themselves above and secondly that the media does not honour a gag order and blabs when it is against an Israeli leader. Actually one more aspect – Sarkozy claims that the Israeli PM is a liar? C’mon – you have not honoured one word of your manifesto. Who’s lying now Sarky?

Moshe Katsav, former President of the State of Israel will go to prison for rape. Israel does not accept abuse of women even if the man is a President. Supreme Court Justices Miriam Naor, Judge Edna Arbel and Salim Joubran found the evidence unquestionable and decided to uphold the original sentence of 7 years in jail. Katsav was offered less severe deal but is so arrogant that he thought he would get away with it! I am sorry he came to power because of Ehud Barak’s determination that Shimon Peres would not be President and I am so sorry that none of the press, who were aware of his evil ways, spoke out – not the press, not other politicians, no-one. Shame on them and shame on us. A rapist is a rapist is a rapist – however powerful or rich.

I found this excellent video, well worth viewing, explaining the real partition plan

Zvi and I went on the Jerusalem Light Rail. We waited at the start on Mount Herzl and along with an awful lot of other people, watched Jerusalem go by as we headed to the centre of the city. Along Herzl Blvd, over the Calatrava Bridge, past the Central Bus Station, along Jaffa Street into the centre. It was fun people watching and Jerusalem watching and we didn’t need to park!

One of Zvi’s meetings this week was with Young Tsamid of Jerusalem Municipality under the direction of Sara Salman. “Tsamid” means People with Special Needs and during Zvi’s tenure Sara and her team set these amazing young people with a variety of disabilities as a self-run NGO whereby they hold meetings int eh Municipality, run their own sociel programmes and a radio programme. Their independence and confidence has grown to such a extent that Zvi was delighted to hear that almost all of them are working in paid jobs! While Zvi was running the New Jerusalem Foundation he received a one-time honour from these amzing young people “Yakir Tsamid” Beloved of Tsamid – it takes pride of place in our home to this day.

Yesterday was fun! I met up with two wonderful friends, Susan and Averil, at the Israel Museum. Gosh it is amazing! We chose two tours, starting with archaeology and artifacts dating from 6,000 years ago through Biblical times going on to the Judaica exhibits. From Chanukiot to Torah crowns, clothing, succot, symbols and emblems from every conceivable corner of the earth to the prize exhibits – the four synagogues, moved piece by piece from their original homes. Suriname, sandy floors and light Caribbean air ; Horb, Germany, simple painted wood, naïve artwork ; Cochin India, with thanks to our dear friends Fred and Della Worms and the Venetto synagogue from Italy . The guides are volunteers who really know their stuff and take the tours out of love. An extremely kind group of Christian ladies allowed us to join their tour and explanation and the lady at their helm was none other than Anne Ayalon, wife of our Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon.

After a wonderful lunch at the Botanical Gardens Averil and Susan came to sit on our veranda, to relax , look at the view and then to meet Drew and Roni Staffenberg from Calgary, Canada who had been with Zvi for a tour of the Davidson Centre at the Southern Wall excavations of the Temple Mount. The Davidson Center takes you back to the times of the Temple – virtually and actually!

One of my favourite people in Israel is Tim King formerly of the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. Tim and his wife Martha have a gloriously beautiful red-haired daughter called Anna who became a model but gave up her career for a much more important one – to become a Hummer instructor in the IDF! This week Tim sent me a message proudly proclaiming the fact that Anna is now a fully fledged Israel Citizen. Bar Rafaeli should learn about national pride from Anna whose career has not suffered at all! Mazal Tov to the entire King family and especially to Anna – Israeli – proud of you Anna!

I saved the best till last – we have a new baby in the family! Zvi’s son Leor and his wife Shiri gave birth to a little girl, Ori at the Meir Clinic in Kfar Saba. Ori is just beautiful, and adored by her sisters Amit and Gili. While we were at hospital, waiting to go in to the ward a young Moslem Israeli woman was sitting with her new baby son. We exchanged baby compliments and she sweetly gave us a beautiful favour filled with chocolates and goodies to celebrate her new son with the words “Blessings on your new grand-daughter. Mazal Tov, Mazal Tov”

Shabbat shalom from Jerusalem, the most beautiful, fascinating, spiritual, addictive city in the world!! In the words of Menachem Begin (yes it was him) “No more War, no more bloodshed”. If only the killing ended in 1919 with the raising of the Cenotaph after the war to end all wars.