The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


25th June 2010.

We are in the middle of a serious crisis, not with Obama, not with Turkey and not even with Iran; the crisis is within ourselves. We are losing confidence in our right to exist and in our faith. Just as the Germans dehumanized the Jews to ensure the world would not rise up as they systematically cleansed the world of our presence, so the Islamic world tries to convince us of our own malevolence and they appeal to the foulest emotions which lay dormant beneath the surface for 60 years.

We are at a turning point and we need great motivators and leaders, men and women who will convince our young people that they are valuable and their identity is sacred. Jews and Christians alike. We need to choose leaders who care little for their own popularity and fame – or how they appear on camera; we need leaders who are aware of the fragility of our situation but equally of the strength of our resolve and are able to motivate our young people to care if we are in this world or not. We need someone who will find the common denominator rather than tear us asunder. Leaders give their followers a common goal with which they can fully identify and contribute to.

Sadly, the choice of our leaders is made by a very few and for the wrong reasons. Instead of choosing leaders for their honesty, conviction, skills and ability to motivate unity we choose leaders of the Jewish world for their titles. Shame on us for allowing such shallow ethics at a time when we need great men. It is time that we took fate into our own hands and create an entity which can be a viable vehicle for our needs and demands; one without bureaucracy and excessive expenses.

My beautiful friend Arlene came to Israel with her family ensuring that her grandchildren understand the deep importance of Israel in their American lives. They travelled from the northernmost point to the southernmost at Sderot and everything between as at least one family provides our world with fine ambassadors. The boys stood in Israel and looked at Gaza City thereby understanding the implications of terror. Zvi’s determination that nobody leaves Israel without learning of her history and future fell upon the Guttin family of Mexico and Houston who are in the Herzl Museum and Yad Vashem as we speak!

Khaled Abu Toameh is an exceptional journalist, Arab Israeli, proud of his heritage and unafraid to speak the truth writes of the hypocrisy of a women’s flotilla which sets sail against a liberal country in support of a tyrannical one which encourages female circumcision where “honour killings” are an everyday affair and women suffer diabolical oppression.

Maybe the flotillas are going in the wrong direction?

Turkey, life expectancy is 72.23 and infant mortality is 24.84 per 1000 births:

Gaza Strip life expectancy is 73.68 and infant mortality is 17.71 per 1000 births.

Literacy Rates: Turkey – 88.7% while Gaza’s is 91.9%

GDP: Turkey $3,167, Gaza $2,900 which puts Gaza higher than many European countries and most of Africa who get 1,000th of the aid.


The Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting took place this week with heated discussions as to the direction the Agency must take. Many points of Zvi’s plan for the Agency were adopted into the major plan. His outspoken determination to bring about change for the better was clearly noted and at least here deeply appreciated!

Humour has succeeded where facts have failed. First with “We Con the World” which had over 3 million hits on Youtube before they closed it and now from the Latma group The Three Terrors“No Laughing Matter” produced the very droll Hamas video and now the UN video

The secular versus religious debate in Israel is best explained by Rabbi Jeremy Rosen 

Australia underwent a huge change this week when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was ousted and a new Prime Minister came in. Her name is Julia Gillard and she was born in Wales! Ms. Gillards resume is far more impressive than being Welsh and one thing she made very clear in her last visit to Israel that she is a great supporter of Israel and stood by Israel throughout, irrespective of popularity. I was deeply impressed by the woman and her clear minded approach; she is an initiator not a follower. In a speech in Jerusalem she said “When a vote was called in 1947 on United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, to establish separate Jewish and Arab States, the Australian delegate was the first to vote. The first to vote in favour of Israel’s right to full independent nationhood and its right to live securely within defined borders.”

Finally but most importantly today marks 4 years since Gilad Schalit was kidnapped and two of his fellow soldiers murdered. I would not demand from our government that they make any deal that endangers lives, but, I want to know why there has never been a military attempt to bring him home. Why haven’t the French demanded his release when he is also a French citizen, why haven’t the USA, UK, anybody demanded is release and the Italians who made Gilad an honorary Italian still do nothing but fine gestures. I believe it is the price for is freedom which no-one is willing to pay.

I will put a yellow ribbon on my car and I will say a prayer as I light my Shabbat candles tonight and weep for his parents whose hell is unimaginable but I will not show weakness to his captors whose cruelty is condoned by a world of double standards. There is little we can do but please take just a few moments to fill out the form at and forward this message to your friends! Dudu Fisher sang our prayers in “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables. Please G-d bring him home safe and sound to the arms of his family without harm to Israel.

Shabbat Shalom, Peace, Salaam, Pax, just a little, and some justice would be good too, please G-d.

With all our love from Jerusalem, centre of our world, City of Peace Ir Shalom, Ir Shalem.